Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Huck Finn: Censorship?

The NewSouth Books is planning to release Huck Finn by replacing "nigger" with slave and "injun" with something else. Huck Finn, at least from my memory, is a story about a young white male that see's his "house negro" as a mentor and an equal. The N Word, as it is often referred to, is not negative but it depends on the context one uses the word.

Rap and R&B music, more so Rap, fling the N Word like the commoner uses the word "the". By whitewashing classic literature we ruin the message and uniqueness of the our literary history. Why do we allow so much power given to the word? Why is it okay for Rap artist to use the word yet it is obscene in Huck Finn and other literature of that era?

As a society we cannot move forward and discuss race relations if we whitewash the language used. We do need to be respectful but let's not make wholesale changes like being proposed with Huck Finn. I know that many will point to my white privilege to hold my view but let's take a time out and think about it. If we change literally classics, like Huck Finn, where does the censorship or change stop? Do we change the King James Bible to reflect PC terms? Do we change the Torah as well? Do we make sure that Sirah Law is reflected properly as well?