Essay was “anti-meat”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

SACRAMENTO, California––Under heavy public
pressure for alleged racist censorship, the California state
Board of Education on March 12 reversed an earlier decision
to exclude from state achievement tests an essay and a short
story by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, plus a story by
Annie Dillard. The Walker essay “Am I Blue?”, was pulled
from the exams because, according to board chair Marion
McDowell, “It was anti meat-eating.”
The essay concerns a woman’s reflections upon the
loneliness of a horse kept for years in a paddock. It concludes,
“As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat
down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the
first bite. And spat it out.”

McDowell objected that the “very strong statement
right at the end on animal rights, or dietary decisions, could
be rather disturbing to some students, who would then be
expected to write a good essay while they were upset.” Her
veto was seconded by fellow board member Kathryn
The Walker short story, “Roselily,” was excluded
after the conservative Traditional Values Coalition claimed it
was “anti-religious” in describing a Christian woman’s
thoughts about marrying a Muslim. It had been part of the
1993 test. The Dillard story was barred for including a “vio-
lent” description of a snowball fight.
All three stories were restored to the test list after
Walker told California governor Pete Wilson that she would
refuse the Governor’s Award for the Arts, which she was to
receive in late March. But neither the stories nor the essay will
appear in the 1994 exams, which were printed before the San
Francisco Chronicle made the exclusions public.
Wilson denied ever supporting the exclusions.
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