This is a question I struggle with every day. And not just about once-acceptable, now-problematic texts/books. People, too. At what point do you just give up and let them go. Given my somewhat strident views on things, the answer for me is largely: right away. Because as this article points out, it’s mostly not worth it. But there are a few things and people I cling to, out of love more than loyalty, that I am having a hard time with. I try to use them as negative examples, or a sort of critical thinking whetstone, to shape and sharpen my own mind and heart by looking at them with eyes wide open.
We have the privilege of living in a time where thousands of new books release every single day. It’s easier than it ever has been to gain access to good stories, the kind that don’t promote harmful stereotypes or condone or promote racism. There’s really no reason to cling to books that promote awful things – and there never was.
The classification of a harmful book though, that’s what kept tripping me up. What makes a book harmful? Does a throwaway sentence or the treatment of a minor character count? Is it anything that makes you uncomfortable when you read it? Or is there a need to read books that make you uncomfortable in order to understand those who are different from you?