The Catholic bishop of Lafayette, Louisiana, has banned Catholic writer Flannery OConnors book A Good Man Is Hard to Find from Opelousas Catholic High School. Why? Because, according to Rod Dreher, writing in The Weekly Standard (Sept. 11), certain black parents protested that the book contains characters who use the words nigger and pickaninny.
Pickaninny? Why, we havent heard that word used in thirty years. Indeed, we forgot what it meant, and had to look it up. But, thanks to the Bishop of Lafayette, that word is now back on our map.
We do remember what the word nigger means, but again, we havent heard it used in thirty years, with one exception: When among blacks we do on occasion hear them call one another nigger.
In his righteous zeal to be politically correct, the Bishop of Lafayette, one Edward J. ODonnell, decreed that no similar books may replace OConnors, meaning other books containing racially offensive words in any context. As Dreher notes, the students at Opelousas Catholic High therefore wont be reading Mark Twain or William Faulkner or even the black writers Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, or James Baldwin. Golly, the old Index of Forbidden Books didnt come close to being this censorious!
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