William Shakespeare, thou hast been getting canceled.
An increasing number of woke teachers are refusing to study the Bard — accusing his classic works of promoting “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir.”
A slew of English literature teachers told the School Library Journal (SLJ) how they were ditching the likes of “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” to instead “make room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices.”
“Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire,” insisted Shakespeare scholar Ayanna Thompson, a professor of English at Arizona State University.
Teachers also need to “challenge the whiteness” of the assumption that Shakespeare’s works are “universal,” insisted Jeffrey Austin, who is head of a Michigan high school’s English literature department.
Former Washington state public school teacher Claire Bruncke told SLJ she banished the Bard from her classroom to “stray from centering the narrative of white, cisgender, heterosexual men.”
Former Washington state teacher Claire Bruncke said eliminating Shakespeare from her classes “proved worthwhile for my students.”
“Eliminating Shakespeare was a step I could easily take to work toward that. And it proved worthwhile for my students,” she insisted.
Other teachers said they were sticking with Shakespeare, but reframing his works through a more modern lens.
Sarah Mulhern Gross, an English teacher at High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ, said she was teaching “Romeo and Juliet” “with a side of toxic masculinity analysis.”
In her SLJ article, “To Teach or Not To Teach,” librarian Amanda MacGregor acknowledged the Bard as a “genius wordsmith” responsible for “masterful wordplay, creative use of language, biting wit, puns, and innovative characters.”
The School Library Journal has questioned if there is still a need to teach Shakespeare.
Still, she understood why so many of the teachers were “grappling” and ultimately “abandoning Shakespeare’s work.”
“Shakespeare’s works are full of problematic, outdated ideas, with plenty of misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir,” MacGregor wrote, with the final word meaning misogyny aimed at black women.