"Captains Courageous" by Kipling emerges in a new light. It is no longer a healthy adventure story. The South End Parent-Teachers Association of Boston has denounced it as breeding racial hatred because a negro cook is referred to as a "nigger", and the Association has requested Patrick C. Campbell, Superintendent of schools, to ban it from the shelves of all schools. Boston youth may be deprived of the privilege of reading a book which their fathers enjoyed and thought of as a standard of manhood.
Attempts to correct social evils, existent or non-existent, such as this request or the Teachers Oath Bill, would be laughable if they did not reveal a real if immature attempt on Boston's part to be a patriotic American city. But it must be admitted that a more effective way to ensure allegiance to the flag would be to practice honest city government, and a better attitude towards the negroes would be to treat them as equals intellectually.
Boston must realize that bringing up the racial question in this way can only make the situation worse. To ban a book or play only makes it all the more sought after. To insist on an oath of allegiance only makes the teachers more unsympathetic with the government. Mr. Campbell is reported to have said that he would read "Captains Courageous" again and give his decision at the end of the week. It is to be hoped that he will refuse the request.