English Teacher: Shakespeare Just a ‘Dead, British White Guy’


A teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California would like to see a stop to the teaching of the works of Shakespeare in high schools across the country because he’s a “long-dead, British guy.”

English teacher Dana Dusbiber wrote in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post that Shakespeare should be completely left out of high school curriculum, as she “[does] not believe that a long-dead, British guy is the only writer who can teach [her] students about the human condition.”

“What I worry about is that as long as we continue to cling to ONE (white) MAN’S view of life as he lived it so long ago, we (perhaps unwittingly) promote the notion that other cultural perspectives are less important,” she writes.

According to Dusbiber, she does not teach the works of Shakespeare to her students because she believes that minority students should not be forced to study irrelevant works.  Despite the widespread belief that Shakespeare is the premier writer of the English language, Dusbiber believes this is only due to the previous notions of “some white people,” and that the writer could easily be replaced.

“Why not teach the oral tradition out of Africa, which includes an equally relevant commentary on human behavior?” She suggests. “Why not teach translations of early writings or oral storytelling from Latin America or Southeast Asia other parts of the world? Many, many of our students come from these languages and traditions … perhaps we no longer have the time to study the Western canon that so many of us know and hold dear.”

Dusbiber went on to say that minority students would better spend their time studying their own cultures rather than being forced to focus on “Eurocentrism.”  However, she contradicts those beliefs by saying that schools should force white students to study cultures different from their own, reports Blake Neff for The Daily Caller.

She does admit that despite having a degree in English and referring to herself as an avid reader, she has a difficult time when it comes to reading and understanding Shakespeare.  She writes that she has a “personal disinterest in reading stories written in an early form of the English language that I cannot always easily navigate.”

Not everyone agrees with Dusbiber’s views.  Wren High School English teacher Matthew Truesdale argues that Shakespeare should remain in the classroom, and that the classic author should not be reduced to a skin color.

“I’ve taught Shakespeare to students of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and I’ve had success with it,” he said.

Shakespeare currently remains a requirement in high schools across the country, with his works included in the Common Core English Language Arts standards and specifically mentioned in standards throughout each of the high school grades.