Shakespeare. He is regarded as one of, if not the most influential writer in all of history. He wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 5 poems. Not only this, but he is responsible for inventing over 1700 words in the English vocabulary. It would be ignorant to deny that Shakespeare was a literary genius. Shakespeare’s work is studied in schools all over the world, and has become the figurehead of English curriculum’s everywhere.
Despite Shakespeare’s genius, there are those who wish to remove him from literature entirely. On May 11, 2017, the National Post published an article titled, “Ontario School Board Tosses Shakespeare for Indigenous Writers”. In this article, Superintendent, Mark Sherman states, “Not only do indigenous students not see their culture reflected in their curriculum, and become disengaged as a result, but non-indigenous students are not made to engage scholastically with First Nations until late in the educational game.” Now I am not against diversity whatsoever, but removing Shakespeare is not the way to achieve diversity. What makes this claim so flawed is the idea that the indigenous students cannot relate their culture to a Shakespearean work of writing. He lived during the late 16th- early 17th century, almost 500 years ago. If you ask me, I don’t think anyone can relate on a personal level to Shakespeare. We do not study Shakespeare to feel a personal connection to him; we read Shakespeare because of his literary genius, his ability to produce entertaining works of literature.
Perhaps the most outrageous reason to kick Shakespeare out, is due to “Academic Diversity”. The Washington Post published an article back in June 13, 2015 titled, Teacher: Why I don’t want to assign Shakespeare anymore (even though he’s in the Common Core)”, in which one teacher, Dana Dusbiber, cried and complained about how Shakespeare was set in place by white people a long time ago. She stated, “I am sad that so many of my colleagues teach a canon that some white people decided upon so long ago and do it without question”, which is an absolutely racist thing to say. The fact that she isn’t interested in something for the sole fact that it was written by white people is so indefensible. Her only reason aside from her apparent racism, is that she finds it difficult to read, stating, “…I dislike Shakespeare because of my own personal disinterest in reading stories written in an early form of the English language that I cannot always easily navigate…”. So, what can we take away from this? We can see that not only is she racist, but stupid as well. As an English teacher, you should have a very profound understanding of all works of literature. If you ask me, I hardly believe she is deserving of her job. Having an opinion of something, and backing it by racism and laziness, shows just how weak you are intellectually.
Our studying of Shakespeare does not come without reason. We read his works because it makes us think, and exercises our intellect. You may find it easy, you may find it difficult, but in the end, it’ll only serve to better educate you on reading and writing as a whole. We should not be casting away Shakespeare, but embracing him. He is someone to be revered, therefore we should be keeping his legacy alive.
Strauss, V. (2015, June 13). Teacher: Why I don’t want to assign Shakespeare anymore (even though he’s in the Common Core). Retrieved September 17, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/06/13/teacher-why-i-dont-want-to-assign-shakespeare-anymore-even-though-hes-in-the-common-core/?utm_term=.3fdb82121ca2
Brean, J. (2017, May 11). Ontario school board tosses Shakespeare for indigenous writers. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/ontario-school-board-tosses-shakespeare-for-indigenous-writers