Dana Dusbiber, who teaches English in Sacramento, says she avoids Hamlet and all the rest because her minority students shouldn’t be expected to study a “a long-dead, British guy” (Dusbiber herself is white). And while Shakespeare is widely regarded as the premier writer of the English language, able to timelessly portray themes central to the human experience, Dusbiber says he only is regarded that way because “some white people” ordained it and he can 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.”