ISSUE | 'HUCK FINN'
Book removed after
Friends' Central School's decision to stop teaching Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as part of its 11th-grade curriculum was the product of a sensitive, deliberative process that was responsive to the school community and the school's educational mission (" 'Huckleberry Finn' still a school target," Dec. 11).
The decision was also made in the context of campus-wide conversations about race. This was not, as your article suggests, political correctness gone wild or censorship of uncomfortable subjects. The school navigated this difficult, complex issue and made a decision that the goals of teaching about race during a particular era could be reached with other examples of American literature and continued, deep conversation.
The decision to remove the book from the curriculum may engender more searching debates of the issues of race and history than teaching the book did. It has produced important conversations about privilege, censorship, and what it means to be an interracial community built on mutual respect and regard.
Despite articles that oversimplified and misrepresented what occurred, I am hopeful that these conversations will be conducted in a tenor that does not replicate the experience of discomfort and racial insensitivity the book itself produced.
|Nicole Barnum, Friends' Central School parent, Philadelphia
Food for thought
Perhaps the best outcome from Friends' Central School's refusal to use Huckleberry Finn to teach about this country's shameful history of racism is the controversy that has been stirred up.
The "in your face" use of words have advanced movements for women, gays and lesbians, and civil rights.
The greatest benefit of a liberal-arts education is that it teaches us how to think.
|S. Reid Warren III, Elverson, email@example.com
ISSUE | HEALTH CARE
The Affordable Care Act is unaffordable ("Penalty for being uninsured to rise," Dec. 10). The subsidies are not really subsidies, but tax credits. Many people who have the "most affordable" Obamacare policies have a deductible of $5,000 to $6,000.
If I were younger, I would pay the penalty for being uninsured, which will increase to $695 per adult next year, and hope for the best. But as a middle-aged nurse, I need to take the cheapest plan and hope I do not get too sick, or I might be dead before I reach the deductible.
This is not health insurance - it is health-care hell.
|Sondra Shore, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | SUPREME COURT
Scalia is looking out for students
Your criticism of Justice Antonin Scalia is misplaced ("Inspiring mediocrity," Thursday). He would never espouse the unconstitutional position that race should preclude a student from the opportunity to attend the best universities and colleges. He was given those opportunities at Georgetown University and Harvard Law School and seized them.
It's quite another thing to charge Scalia with "inspiring mediocrity" when the reason a student is selected for that coveted spot is based merely on falling within the top 10 percent of his or her high school class.
I can think of many instances when high school advisers and college and university admission officials would strongly suggest that such a student would be better served by applying to certain schools for academic, social, and financial benefits.
|Nicholas Deenis, Berwyn
Remarks show justice's prejudice
Your editorial demonstrated the not-so-subtle racial bias reflected in Justice Antonin Scalia's reckless remarks regarding the college applications of African American students.
Having witnessed the dramatic academic achievements of thousands of students of color, we are now subjected to a Supreme Court justice who has ignored the reality that these students have successfully accepted the challenge of matriculating at very competitive colleges. By suggesting these students would be more successful in less-challenging colleges, Scalia engages in the "soft bigotry of low expectations."
Does Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing "separate but equal" public schools, mean nothing to Scalia?
|Peter C. McVeigh, Oreland, email@example.com
ISSUE | CULTURAL TOLERANCE
It's Trump backers who are worrisome
Donald Trump is just one foolish person who must have been daydreaming about building towers when his history teacher taught the founding principle of the United States: To create a haven for people to practice any religion and be free from persecution.
He's entitled to daydream and not care about such a weighty subject. But should we promote him as a leader and a spokesperson for all that is important about America? Should we elect him as president of our society?
I am not concerned about Trump, who is an impressive businessman. I am concerned about each person who believes Trump should lead our society.
We each need to search our soul and ask ourselves what we believe, what sort of society we want to live in, and what sort of values we want to promote. And then we must act from those values.
Do we bully and attack our Muslim brothers and sisters who live on our soil? Do we prevent other Muslims who are seeking a haven from persecution from entering our society? What does it mean to be American and be human?
|Adam Brunner, director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Temple University, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | ARMY-NAVY CLASSIC
Go, West Point
I have been a Navy person for most of my life. But as I sat in Lincoln Financial Field, watching the 116th Army-Navy game, I decided to pull for the Army. Thirteen losses in a row or 100 losses in row - I didn't care. Those are the young men and women who, when the bullets are flying, will stand up and say: "Follow me!"
|Ken Davis, Elkins Park, email@example.com
Traffic blocks Bocelli concertgoers
I, too, delighted in the singing of Andrea Bocelli at the Wells Fargo Center, at least, the part that I actually heard ("Bocelli delights in several genres," Tuesday).
In a classic example of poor planning, the concert was scheduled to start at the same time the Army-Navy football game ended at neighboring Lincoln Financial Field. The traffic gridlock was a nightmare. I have navigated Philadelphia's roads for more than 40 years, and that was the worst traffic jam I remember.
Apparently there were so few people in the arena at the 8 p.m. start time that the concert was pushed back a half-hour. My wife and I did not get there until after 9 p.m. - just in time for the intermission. The drive that usually takes 30 to 40 minutes took us 21/2 hours.
I agree that Bocelli sings beautifully. I just wish I had heard more of him.
|Steven Barrer, Huntingdon Valley, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | TEMPLE
Name the stadium
Suggestions for the Owls' proposed football stadium on campus (Signe Wilkinson cartoon, Wednesday):
Field of Schemes
Don't Give a Hoot Field
|Steve Gary, Havertown
|Julie K. Mesaros, West Chester
Donald Trump Temporary Assembly Center
for the roundup of Muslims prior to deportation or internment
|Paul Eitner, Audubon, Montgomery County