The Richland School District has banned a Sherman Alexie book.
Originally, the Associated Press erroneously reported the district’s Instructional Materials Committee had not read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and that the committee decided to ban the book because of profanity and sex scenes. The committee had read the book and did not give a single recommendation, but was divided on the book, with some opposing the book and some endorsing it.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is semi-autobiographical, because like the main character in the novel, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Reservation. Arnold’s opinions in the book that he will never drink reflect Alexie’s regret at having an alcohol problem.
The story chronicles the character’s decision to go to an all-white high school in the off-reservation town of Reardan, and deals with issues such as racism, poverty, and the following of tradition.
Richland isn’t the first school district to ban the book. In April 2010, the Stockton School Board in Missouri voted to remove it from the school library after a parent complained about its content. The American Library Association has asked the school board to reconsider its decision. In September 2010, the School Board decided to uphold its April decision to ban the book from the curriculum and from the library with a vote of 5-2
Related: “A Brave New World” controversy