2.3.22 Cartoon

Eras are easily remembered because of the horrific events that happened during them. The monuments, days of remembrance and museums help us learn more about and conceptualize the tragedies that took place during certain eras, when historical literature can’t give them the justice they deserve.

The Auschwitz exhibit at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, pays homage to those who suffered in one of the most infamous concentration camps during the Holocaust. It's an important exhibit students and those in the community should go see.

Despite today’s technological advancement and dependency, it seems like not many people, ourselves included, are educated well enough on historical events. Insensitive comments and a general lack of knowledge of events of this magnitude can be chalked up to ignorance.

In the essence of transparency, The Northwest Missourian Editorial Board must acknowledge it was unaware International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated Jan. 27. It’s also the reason we decided to write this Our View — to point out the lack of education on certain global tragedies. The Editorial Board encourages students to take time to learn and understand how events such as the Holocaust impacted the world.

However, students can’t be completely to blame for their lack of information. School systems are regularly criticized for implementing or failing to implement various genres of curriculum. Recently, a Tennessee school district chose to ban a piece of literature from its lesson plans.

In early January, the McMinn County School Board voted to ban the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” from its eighth grade curriculum. The board was concerned with the novel’s profanity and an image of female nudity.

Written by Art Spiegelman, “Maus” is about his Jewish relatives horrific experiences during The Holocaust, his mother’s suicide and the author’s relationship with his father. The instance of nudity was in reference to his mother. It’s hard to imagine the author would be using his late mother as a ploy to push sexual themes to eighth graders.

This book shouldn’t be banned.

“Maus” is being banned for innocuous reasons, adding it to the esteemed list of books banned by overreaching school boards grasping at straws with the likes “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Animal Farm.”

It’s a story based on true events detailing a horrifyingly real event that impacted billions of lives. Schools preach the importance of primary sources in research. Novels written with historical context are some of the best means of learning an educational system could ask students to utilize.

Banning this book is limiting students from learning about real accounts of history.

Literature encourages creativity and critical thinking while exposing students to new ideas they might miss without it. The Editorial Board does not advise schools to follow the McMinn County School Board’s decision. As time passes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for those who were directly affected by the Holocaust to share their stories. We should work with what we’ve been given and learn as much as we can before the history we’re ignoring is forgotten.

Works like “Maus” and exhibits like the Auschwitz one are even more important now with a small but growing sect of anti-semitism seeping its way into major national political movements by way of conspiracy theorists and ignorant legislatures.

There’s another reason why the Holocaust exhibit is important. It may be preserved through virtual tours and online archives, but the experience will be gone after March 30.

Professors should make it an extra credit opportunity to go see the Auschwitz exhibit in Kansas City, Missouri. If art classes can offer extra credit for going to art museums, history classes should do the same. It’s an invaluable learning experience, and students appreciate extra credit.

Historical tragedies are painful memories that leave scars on people and the earth. The best way to prevent future harm from these tragedies is to educate people about them. The exhibit in Union Station is a great way to do just that.

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