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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ohio PC Police Target British Author Agatha Christie: Her Top Mystery Is Too Racist

CINCINNANTI (TDB) -- School officials in a suburban Cincinnati district have decided the largest selling mystery story in the world, Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians cannot be performed as a class play. They censored it after a local NAACP chapter officer said the book was originally published in England 68 years ago under a now abandoned racist title, Ten Little N******s. The book sometimes is called, And Then There Were None, which is a line from the children' nursery rhyme that is at the heart of the mystery story.

The Enquirer's Michael D. Clark has the latest twist in the tale:

"Jon Weidlich, spokesman for the Butler County school district, said subsequent discussions -- after district officials met with (NAACP chief Gary) Hines earlier this month -- among students and staff at Lakota East High School led to the decision to cancel the play.

"'After learning of the play's origins and the hurt that it caused, we had hoped to use the performance as a way to create a discussion about diversity of all kinds in our community. However, students and staff continued to raise issues, and it was quickly obvious that bad feelings about the play were much more widespread than originally thought. The best action seemed to be to switch to a different play.'"

Apparently, Lakota officials have never heard of banned books week. Maybe they should look into the event.

Wikipedia has great background about Dame Agatha and her island-set mystery, a story which is considered a classic around the globe. It has been made into movies, performed on stages far and near, and is still read in schools as an example of brilliant writing and plot development. But apparently it is too hot for Butler County.


  1. Bill - Thanks for posting. I forwarded your item and the Enquirer article to Nanette Perez at the ALA who co-ordinates Banned Book Week. Here is her contact info if you want to keep this ball rolling:

    Also, how about getting a comment from national NAACP on this?:

  2. they have not banned the book - they simply are choosing not to use it as a play - based on concerns of the students. If they take it out of the library, and tell students they cannot read it, that's banning.

  3. ...based on concerns of the students.

    NAACP heads are students of the school?

    I suppose it's possible.

  4. Per the article: "However, students and staff continued to raise issues." Those students.

    Free Speech and the play fell victim to a shake-down. Because the school failed to hire Gary Hines' diversity training company, GPH Consultants, he used his position as head of the local NAACP to go after them. It's high-time prosecutors began using the R.I.C.O. Act against this increasingly common scam.

  6. As an educator I am appalled at the decision to proceed with the play under any name. The title, the previous title, the new title, and the lyrics to the song or 'nursery rhyme' from which they were derived are racist, and it is very clear that faculty, administrators, parents and students at Lakota East are aware of that. Continuing in arrogance despite the pleas of aggrieved groups is reprehensible. Supporters of the play may think that now 'there are none' to stand up and respond, but this too is a sign of deep and abiding ignorance- the same ignorance that allows them to unabashedly use the name 'Lakota' and stick 'tomahawks' in the helmets of their team. These symbols are not funny and they do no honor to Native Americans. They are offensive, and the continued use of those symbols dishonors the school district. Listen to the national outcry, and consider how respectable institutes of higher learning will respond to Lakota east graduates with this abominable behavior the symbol of their school. How can this play represent a 'teachable moment' when the entire school district consistently endorses racism? Who there is qualified to teach about 'diversity'? The play is the tip of the iceberg. The call to stop the play is NOT about censorship. It is about more free speech - it is about hearing at long last the voices of people Lakota East PRETENDS to emulate but continues to ignore. Shame on all of you who support the censorship of indigenous people!