Parents Upset Over "The Color Purple" - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/21/05

Parents Upset Over "The Color Purple"

The Color Purple is a very popular book and stirring up a lot of controversy in McIntosh County. The Pulitzer Prize winner is on the summer reading list for high school juniors in McIntosh County schools; however, some parents argue that the language and the subject matter are too graphic.

On Thursday night, they took their concerns to the Board of Education. Some would like the board to take the book off the reading list or at least, broaden the list. Linda Wilson dared board members to read it for themselves.

"Would anyone like to read the first page," she asked. "Anyone?"

Starting with the first page, The Color Purple contains shocking language, rape and incest.

"I opened the book to the first page and felt sick to my stomach," said Wilson.

The story is about a young black girl growing up, mistreated and abused, in the rural south.

"I couldn't even get into the book because of the bad words," explained fifteen year old Sharon Young.

She was stunned by what she found inside.

"I opened it and I started reading it and (gasps) and my best friend said, "what is it?" and I said, "come look at this," she said.

Now, Sharon's mother and other parents want the board to take a closer look at what they're asking their children to read. At least one board member has already echoed their concerns.

"My father would knock me flat on my back if he had caught me reading something like that," said McIntosh County Board of Education Board Member Ronald Young.

Board members promised parents they would review the matter.

"We have not had a chance to discuss this. This is our first meeting," explained board chairman, Harold Webster. "We're going to take this under advisement and we're going to discuss this."

Mary Young felt it was encouraging news.

"I trust that they're going to look into this," she said. "I know some of these ladies and gentlemen on the board and I'm sure they will look into it."

McIntosh County high school juniors have to read two of four suggested books this summer. Their other choices are: The Awakening, In Cold Blood, and Slaughterhouse Five.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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