There’s a battle over what your kids should read in school and which words they should be exposed to.
It’s a battle that revolves around one of the greatest American novels ever written, Mark Twain’s "Huckleberry Finn."
You may have read it as a child, but increasingly schools across the country are choosing not to include it in their curriculums because of its use of the n-word, which is used more than 200 times in the book.
Now, the editors of New South books are doing something about that.
They're publishing a new edition of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", and "Huckleberry Finn,” and replacing the word with “slave.”
The move is already causing controversy and we want to hear from you.
What do you think about the change? Give us your feedback and we’ll read some of your responses today on CNN Newsroom at 10am with Kyra Phillips.
I believe that both Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer should be left alone. These books are part of our history and you don't rewrite history when you find it offensive; you learn from it. I believe these books should be made part of school curriculum, not as literature but as social studies. When these books were written, this language was acceptable. We have evolved in our treatment of others to make the language in these books unacceptable in modern society. We need to teach our young how society was and how we have corrected mistakes, not hide them by a rewrite. If we feel we have to rewrite history to make it less offensive, why stop there; we can rewrite history to omit the holocost or the terrorist attacks of september 11th.
I think changing literature is a deplorable act ! I wonder why New South books doesn't rewrite history so that it shows that no one brought the black people over from Africa and made them into slaves!
1984? Are we rewriting history?
The word, while offensive does give context as to the era in which the books were written... to gloss over it in such a way is to whitewash our history, covering up those parts which weren't so pleasant. Rather like Tom's friends whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence, we wind up being the foolish-looking ones as an end result.
Slave is not the write word
How about instead of sterilizing the book in an attempt to insulate our children, we use the book as it is and discuss with students *why* the word is offensive? How about we don't mollycoddle and instead *EDUCATE*?
I wonder if they will go back to all the Rap Albums, Movies, and art to redact the 'N' word as well- but I'm sure living "artists" may have something to say about that.
I think the change is idiotic. Even saying "n-word" is idiotic. Removing it misses a great deal of the point of the novel.
We should not change the wording of any classic
What's next.. Political correctness gone amok.... Mark Twain's Huck and Tom are classics.. do we cut out what is offensive today from what was normal in it's time...
Ridiculous. Next, we'll be letting them teach that the Jewish Holocaust just didn't happen.
I think a censored version would be good for elementary school kids reading the book. When in elementary we had to read these books out loud, with students in class that were black. This was very uncomfortable. However, the should be informed that it is a censored version they are reading, and should know the truth about history. That is the ONLY time these types of books should be censored.
What incredible hubris.
Though ... it does give me a good idea.
I'm going to republish the complete works of Shakespeare, but I want all the characters to be from Southern California and have an affinity for surfing and plastic surgery.
And, because I don't want to offend mothers with young children, I'm going to replace all the murders, betrayals and hurtful words with gentle shrugs.
yes we as a people should learn from our mistakes and missteps, and erase the so we can become stronger as a society, every other ethnic group wants the same and would demand such
well I think the names should be left in the books, removing these names will be a mistake, next you'll be wanting them to remove the Indian name redskins etc. All of these people were slaves to the white man, not just blacks
Editing literary classics in the interest of making someone somewhere less offended is sheer idiocy; While we're at it, let's just censor out anything that might offend anyone ever from history books.
The books should stand as a reminder to how things were, and should be freely discussed, not swept under the carpet and ignored.
The "N" word in our children's books that were written by Samuel Clemens should not be removed. Throughout history America has tried to hide the shameful mistakes made in the past, especially those pertaining to race relations. Until we acknowledge what was done and accept that America is not this perfect place we will continue to be stuck in this continuing circle that is racism and with our children never learning how to adequately approach the issue in the future.
The expression of freedom.
You cannot change history by deleting words from books. Use of the word still exists and is still a reality. You cannot sugarcoat reality.
This is a clear violation of freedom of speech. To deny students old enough to comprehend Twain's work the choice to read his books is censorship. It is also a denial of American History as Twain recorded it for his generation. In other words, it reflects the mindset of a different time and different cultural practices. How can we teach our children to think for themselves if we deny them the right to freedom of thought and expression?
Furthermore, if the dreaded "N" word is to be removed from Twain's works than it should be removed from all black rap songs, black movies, black literature, etc. It was black idiomatic speech that first coined this word in the first place. So, if it is deemed offensive for a white man to use it than it should be deemed offensive for a black man to use it too.
Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens is rolling over in his grave. I am quite sure that he chose the words he wanted to use. It does not help us to pretend words have not been spoken; it is better to open a dialogue to discuss the matter. The N word is all over rap music, but maybe if we understood what it really means, and why it was used, we wouldn't allow ourselves to be degraded in this manner.
I strongly object to removing the 'n' word. We cannot forget nor change our history. Our children today are not learning about the founding of this country nor the trials that occured thoughout history regarding poverty, war, prejudice, etc. Where is it going to stop..teachers need to explain the word and why we do not use it. If this keeps on we will be deleting all of the bad history and books of the world. How sad.
I tend to agree with the social critic, removing the n-word from these books takes away from the authenticity of the work and diminishes the message that the author was trying to convey. History is history and if we sanatize it, its no longer history.
I think the action of writing "Slave" over the "N" word in Mark Twain's classic works grows out of the same fear in which racial and religious prejudice is rooted. What's worse such an action could very well lead to historical amnesia, and that can be lethal. If we have any desire to even come close to greatness, we've got to accept our humanity.
If we start to sensor words, we have come to a sad state. Maybe we should sensor the great works of Fredrick Douglass. I hope not, his books tell us what we SHOULD know. Lessons we should never repeat from an era gone. We should instead, be working on the future, knowing the past; to correct unkindnesses we have as people, inflicted on other people.
I think it's a terrible idea to remove the "n" word from these old texts. Good, bad, or ugly, this type of language is a part of our American heritage. We must recognize the ills of our past and present in an effort to eradicate them for our future. What greater testament to how far we've come as a nation could there be than to teach our young people how life was over one hundred years ago? Futhermore, what better way to analyze how far we still need to go than to look at these texts and comparatively view the time in which they are set and the time in which we read them today. As a high school English teacher and an African American, I want my students to be fully aware of who we are as Americans, and we cannot do that without being fully truthful about our past.
While the N-word may be offensive, we cannot go around re-writing any books. I can see changing out words in an unpublished work when the author has some say in the matter. Once the book has been written, published, and the author is long dead just leave it alone. If you don't like the offensive word, don't read the book.
If kids aren't taught what is offensive, they will not know why NOT to use a word. If the word is discussed in honest, clinical terms, the students will learn something. Hiding a thing that is offensive does not eliminate the need to protect against it. Unless the kids understand the root, they will just invent another offensive word. They must understand the offense.
Keep the book as it was written. Do not sanitize our history. Repetition is not an option.
If you take out the "n" word in these books your have plagiarized the book as it is no longer the authors original words. If you want to teach kids teach them what the word, what it means, why it was used, and why it is not used today.
I taught HS English for 33 yrs. Huck Finn was an optional text for our sophomores. I used it every year with no repercussions, no nasty letters from parents, or uprising from children. We spend time before reading to discuss the N word and its changing and various roles. We agreed that its use in modern context was racist and demeaning. As reading progressed we discussed such points as who used the word in the book and in what context.
Treat the students as capable of discussing such matters in an adult manner and they will rise to the opportunity.
Are we so afraid of the ability of our teachers and the maturity of our students today?
I only retired in 2001, not that long ago.
Yes we as people should learn from our mistakes and missteps and erase them, so we may become a stronger society, every other ethnic group wants the same and would demand such.
Changing anything for what it was created as in s sin. Once we start to change things we mess them up. Turning black and white movie into color was wrong. They were shot in black and white and anything else would not be right. Using the -N- word is no where near what changing movies is. But at what point does it stop. If we change one word in a book what will be next. Will we change other books, art or movies. To change a book, even a word, is no different than burning it. You destroy what it was. At what point do we say either we change it or trash it!
Although I completely agree that the use of the "N" word is offensive, The novel is a piece of literary history and should not be rewritten. Do you plan to destroy all copies of the original novel.
P.S. Kyra you look so cute with your belly.
Absurd and obviously poorly thought out. Another attempt to alter and purify a horrible racist past. Who is behind this, Haley Barbour who thinks that things were "not all that bad"!
If you change words in a book, a poem, a report, etc...it is no longer what the writer wrote so you might as well change the name of the writing/book and not use the authors name anymore. This book was written in a different era when many words were different than what we use now. Leave it alone. People need to learn you leave things in the past alone and focus on the now! Stop living in the past! Grow up and get over it! Use your energy and knowledge to work on things in the "now"! !
Whether or not one wishes to remove or leave the N-word in Twain's work, what's important is that we're having a conversation about race relations and the politics and power of words themselves. It's a good conversation that might lead to a better understanding of history, literature, and our world.
To omit the N-word is to act as though we have never used the word negatively. When children see that word in the books, they need to understand the history behind it, not ignore or erase it.
In my opinion, the idea that we would even think to erase the word from the book is just one more way in which we are trying to ignore what we, as a country, have done historically. We need to admit to what we did in the past, in order to teach children about what we need to do in the future.
To change a book because there's something we don't like in it is nonsense. The fact that we can let the N word offend us so much is absurd. Sure, for African Americans it symbolizes one of the most darkest moments in their collective history, but that's what words do. The word has the same meaning, but what it symbolizes will differ from person to person.
This is just another type of censureship. Children are very smart and can be educated about history in it's true context. How can we expect our children to understand how bullying can be detrimental if there are no examples of the negative consequences of suppression and fear. We need to grow morally and we do that by acknowledging our mistakes and learning from them.
Tailoring our nation's history according to taste oor political correctness is far more dangerous than any kind of racial slur or other four-letter word. If we start to seriously alter texts that illuminate the blemishes on our nation's history, then we will only have ourselves to blame when subsequent generations repeat past mistakes.
When I've read books to my kids with extensive use of the "N" word, it's been difficult....and we don't want to sanitize our history...it makes things alright that weren't. However, there are abridged versions of many books with large disclaimers indicating how the book was changed, and it might be useful in some circumstances to use a book like that. I know that often if a word is repeated over and over again with a young child, that child can become confused and think it's okay, and another child may use that languae in the schoolyard if they hear it repeatedly in class. I think there's room for both versions, as long as there's a large disclaimer at the beginning of the book.
If they remove the N word from Tom Sawyer, what's next? The Bible with out Jesus in it because non Christian is offended by it?? Get a life and worry about something important like the national debt or mexican drug violence.
Kyra- Younger aged kids will not read Huck Finn. By the time Huck Finn is taught in school, the kids are old enough to understand the implications of racism. Kids are more perceptive than most give them credit for. Let the teachers use this as a teachable moment. We as a Nation need to stop changing things because they are now not "politically correct."
I believe taking the "N" word out of the book, would prove to desyntheize our youths/ students, regarding the truth of that age. History should not be made to seem nicer, but rather as a stepping stone to overcoming racisim and segregation. Quality education should not be focusing on offensive terminology.
Removing the "n-word" from Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer will do more hurt than anything else. The inclusion of the "n-word" in these books is representative of the time in which it was written. These books are meant to open the eyes of today's youth and hopefully prevent this attitude.
I am an African American female 24yrs and I feel that the "N" word should remain in the text just because it conveys the reality of civilization in a time period where we were not all considered to be equal and to "dumb it down" by using the word "slave" is no better then the act of slavery itself. To keep our youth in the dark about the truth. the term whether in the context of a rap song or a book does not change the fact that the word never existed and the meaning behind the word will not cease to exist. if we turn the cheek or try to erase the "N" word its saying that we are choosing to erase or disregard our part in history a word is a word but the lives lost behind that word is the meaning
My daughter attends a school that has only four black students. She came home crying one day, when the teacher decided to play the audio book of Tom Sawyer. My daughter felt humiliated and traumatized, as he classmates stared at her. The teacher thought it was fine. I don't think that White people realize how dehumanizing it is, or they just don't care.
In the eighties when young black men started using that word I admired their method. By co-opting the language they seemed poised to end it. Now I know better. My children had no idea the word exhisted untill they came to school age and began to move around the neighborhood. They learned it from the older siblings of peers as they used it to admonish their younger siblings."Stop that! Don't be a n*****!" Vocabulary is not only learned at home. Perhaps if our young people read this language in the context of it's time they would all understand the truth. That it's wrong! In any context. None of our children black, white, or purple, will truly understand the pain these words cause through the double standards we currently apply. If black children felt the pain of slaves like Jim they might be less eager to use the word themselves and stop thinking it's alright to use it if you're black.
I find it offensive that in this day and age anyone would want to remove anything that they personally find offensive in classic materials such as the Mark twain novels. These books demonstrate the social climate at that particular point in our history. As an African American / Spaniard I know precisely what my place would have been in those times and I am filled with gladness to know that I live in a time where these views are no longer acceptable. Leave the literature alone. I am tired of people of the caucasian persuasion saying that it's no longer relevant or that it's offensive because I feel that it is their way of sweeping past generational crimes under the rug. As for african americans who share their views I find them to be busy trying to assimilate and frankly that is also offensive. We have nearly a complete account of "white" history in this country that is taught in our schools but our "black" history is pitifully glossed over. These books are highly educational if used in the proper context, taught by a teacher who will explain why this was wrong and what the results were "all of the results. It's 2011 people our first black president was inaugurated in 2008...Look at our countries misgivings and look at the racist things being pushed towards him every day. Shame on us for trying to hide what we really are from our children and shame on us for not teaching them to be better !
Start with Mark Twain then remove the use of the N word in all rap songs, or any commercial based enterprises. Then we become "slaves" of political correctness.
Rewriting this classic novel is an attempt to hide the truth. History can not be changed, no matter how distasteful we may find it to be.
If this material is given the proper context, and discussed in class, our children will be more socially conscience. Otherwise they are only learning lies.
I think it is just another reason for inadequate teachers to continue the status quo of a poor education system.
Rewriting history is dangerous. It means we can never learn from true history. This has been done for hundreds of years by religious leaders.
Now Christians want history to show they never did anything wrong. Sort of like Southerners celebrating the civil war leaving out the one important factor - SLAVERY.
Perhaps in a few years children will learn how good we were to those heathen Native Americans.
How about being honest for a change.
Some people would like to rewrite history to make everything rosey. The point is that we learn from our past so we don't keep making the same mistakes. When kids hear those words, they don't like hearing them. They're reminded why it's important to treat people with respect. It seems many parents have forgotten that, beyond the literature, these books are full of great teaching moments.
Here's a book we ought to teach our children in school, it's part of our history and heritage, it's called the B-I-B-L-E.
As I have been listening to this story about the very special book Huck Finn,I am sickened to think that anyone would remove things from this book. I as an avid reader have a giant problem with this under any cercumstances. I was given this book to read in junior high 7th or 8th grade . I am almost forty just so you have refrence to about the time. I read this book because I started checking books from the library at a young age. This book was incredablly hard to read at the time due to the dialect. Mark Twain was special & and if you are going to require kids to read it instead of changing it just do not have it as a required book to read period. Books of any kind should never be censured not for any reason.
I don't want my history watered down at all. I believe that works such as this should remain in tact and that there should be no deletions or changes made what-so-ever ! We already don't get taught our full black history in school and on top of that we are given a one sided view of the history that is available to us. These books give us the opportunity to come together in one room to discuss the meaning of the word, the context it's being used in, and the reasons why it's offensive. I like being able to look into the eyes of my classmates and explain to them what I feel about such words and I like receiving real honest responses from them as no matter what their race. It's important and should never be forgotten !
Personally, I believe that they should not make any changes to the original literary work(s) of Mark Twain. Twain's works are and will continue to be an important depiction of those times but also serving as a timeline of how our society has progressed. I would love the for "N" to lose more of its destructive power, but censoring these works will not remove the “N” from being used actively or passively in our society. This change will promote widespread censorship in other artistic genres and impinge on the amendment “The Freedom of Speech.” There are many words containing the same cutting power as the “N” word in our country, so will we address them with the same magnitude? If so, legislation should draw up a few laws or bills to outlaw the use of these words completely.
This is terrifyingly dangerous. Refer to George Orwell's 1984. How many movies have there been that show the population being controlled, lied to, and silenced, and how many times has this been ignored. I'm glad that i do not have any children. They would become either sheep, or have to live in fear for having their own minds. This is worse than censorship, this is rewriting history.
I have such a problem with people, especially in education who want to alter past literature because that literature was insulting to a race of people, in this case the blacks and it was and is insulting. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as written about are good teaching tools of what is wrong about and with prejudice. Erasing the 'N' word out of a book is meaningless because you cannot go back in time and erase that whole period of history. Our country was so wrong to have kidnapped people of another race and nation and bring them here as their personal slaves and kept them small. It was an incredible travesty and it was so very, very, wrong. They did not deserve that.
This is how it starts, next all the "offensive" books will be edited the the originals burned. All the e-books will be edited without our knowledge. Every new regieme or religious group will have license to edit at will.
The Right could edit "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" to have Liberals taking it down.
It is deplorable to even consider rewriting the words of the great Samuel Clemens. What of his right to free speech? Since when did a social dislike for a word become an appropriate reason to edit a fictional yet historical book? As so many others have said, leave it be, and use it to teach why the word is socially unacceptable....
Next I guess we'll be looking for books with words that are slang for people of Irish, Italian, Greek, Russian, Mexican....etc... descent.
Stop this sterilization of our literary history!
Does this mean that all profanity and offensive language will be removed from all books? If so, that would make me really happy!
are you serious. one book, what does it solves. most of them has probably hear the N-word already.
What is a country that can not be true to it's self .
If editors choose to take out the derogatory terms, then it is no longer a classic. Excluding words was never Mark Twain's intention. It is to be taught in the context of that time. The word was widely used. If it is taught within the parameters of that time period, then it can be understood and used as an effective teaching as well as learning tool.
As usual a news outlet wants to treat a complicated question as if it were a simple yes/no matter. Nothing that can be done today will eliminate the millions of copies of these books already in circulation, including in school libraries, and there's no reporting to suggest that those books should be removed or that unedited copies of the books should not continue to be published.
Whether or not the "n" word is used, a publisher's note in either edition could provide context to the use of the word, or the changed usage. An footnote could also be used, again in either edition, to explain the historical context of the word and why it is not considered to be appropriate at the current time.
The point that there are radio and CD versions of songs is totally bogus. none of the music that is on the radio can be considered art or literature, just vulgar. and how can any black person complain about the use of the word when they call each other that word and it is used in much of the music they are exposed to every day.
Just spoke with the managing editor at New South Books.
Apparently, this edition is meant to be used as a tool in discussing the very issue of "n" in our society past and present. The forward will be a long discussion of the place of African Americans in our history, and the path to equality.
Not saying I'm on board with this now, but I am being fair and passing on that the publishers are stating that cnn and others are not telling the whole story/reasoning for the change in this particular edition.
Now we are editing and censoring parts of books. Next we will be burning all books. Some people need to get the chip off their shoulder and move on. Get a life!
Why the lady that was interviewing the two men, kept using the word boys when addressing them. That word also was degrading in the past.
Do not change any words in Mark Twains book. Where is his
free speech rights.
I listened with interest to the discussion about whether the 'N' word should be eliminated from books that children read. Seems to me that instead of whitewashing our reading material, this is a good opportunity to discuss
and teach our children about our history.
I was surprised, however, the hear the commentator refer to the guest speakers as 'boys'. Wow!
Changing the words in classic novels is like changing history and ranks right along with Stalinism and Nazism. It is outrageous that anyone feels this can be done without approval. Why don't those so-called "experts" who were interviewed on your program turn their attention to the vile language in much rap music? Could it be that such music reflects favorably on the moatly "N" people who invented it?
If recognized classics of American literature are to be sanitized, why not just use a Reader's Digest version of the book, thus avoiding the n-word and any other unpleasant depictions of pre-Civil War Southern culture?
If we condone rewriting one book to conform to modern sensitivities, why not another? And whose sensibilities will guide such decisions?
If this is part of a larger movement to consign the n-word to the dustbin of history, I'm all for it. Let the process start with the Black community discarding the use of the word in conversation, music, and all the rest.
While we've all become both aware and sensitive to the use of the N word, it is short sighted to remove a literary classic based on contemporary morays. The use of the N Word in the book is in the context of the times not present representative social values or social acceptance. It's important to portray how things were versus how things are in the process of teaching. Are we to ignore Native American slaughters and the references of them in so many terms. What about the Jewish immigrants and their references. You can go on and on about the Irish or Germans, etc. The lesson to be learned is ignorance and how it taints ones perspective and how that perspective can be broken. Read the book. Learn something. Peace and Love, KEN
Twain used language to make the point that Huck, despite his use of the N-word, was sympathetic to the plight of slaves, while the same word, in the mouths of other characters, demonstrated their racism.
When used to make those points, counting the number of times the word appears doesn't automatically guarantee its offensiveness. Conversely, the use of the N-word even one time, in the wrong context, is indeed offensive.
And by changing the N-word to "slave," what about free blacks?
I raised my kids forbidden to use the "N" word. If was worse than the "F" word in our household. My oldest is 39. I am so mad at ghetto language/rap music liberally using the "N" word- I could care less if it is deleted from Mark Twain's classic literature. It is okay for blacks to use it one on one, but no one else? I grew up with "what is good for the goose is good for the gander" and no race should be priveldged to use bad language- if blacks can use it, then everyone can use it. At least Mark Twain depicted the bigotry of the time- what is the words meaning used on the streets today? Take the word out of everyone's venacular and I would be okay with taking it out of classic literature.
I believe that excluding the N-word would help future generations from using it. It is hard to change past ignorance when, kids especially, keep having them re-enforced. Remember how we used to say "eenie, meenie, mynie moe? My own children were horrified to hear the original version. I didn't tell them until they were adults.
Replacing the "N" word with slave in Huckleberry Finn not only takes away from freedom of speech and stomps on artistic creativity, it sweeps the huge problem of racism in this country under a politically correct rug– sensoring a dark part of American history that we need to accept and learn from!
Sure, in middle school it was awkward at first reading this book in class; however, it was a great opportunity for our teacher to educate us on the problems or racism and the damaging impact of racial slurs.
There a lot more controversial words than 'n' that the kids are going to hear while growing up and it won't be by reading them. Lease the classic alone.
Jim, age 62
The subject of the "N" word has been debated for years. My children were raised it was rude and impropper to call anyone that name. Today's black youth use the term towards each other in general talking but it is still not accepted by non_African_American persons.. In Mark Twain's writings he used the "N" word to signify the disgrace pf White persons associating with persons of color. More than the use of the "N" word if find it offensive that the news reporter consistency y called both professionals she was addressing as "Boys", a derogatory name for most persons of color today as that was how the slave owners called the male slaves regardless of age!! Many persons of color consider this a derogatory name for this reason and there was no reason she could not have addressed them as "gentlemen"! I am a Caucasian o In MI that was taught to respect all persons regardless of color and learned this lesson early in life. A[apparently this news caster did not.
Every popular rap star uses the word so frequently yet it is still so offensive. Why is it so offensive when its used in history? Jeremy from Savannah
Rewriting Mark Twain's Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer to make them P.C.? Shameful! Huck Finn was assigned reading in high school. I found the language unacceptable and asked for a different book. Censorship by rewriting the work of authors should never take the place of self censorship. What's to be rewritten next? Shakespeare?
This doesn't make any sense to me. What is the purpose for changing a some words in this book? Does this mean that since you have taken the words out an replaced them with more "appropriate" words they don't exist anymore? Don't censor a book because you feel that the words in it are to hurtful that's like trying to ignore what happened in our history. If people are worried about what their children will read in certain books then it is up to the parent to judge whether or not they want their children to read it. Don't delete words and replace them it's like you are trying to make it appear like these words were never apart of our history, because they still are.
If teachers provide an appropriate historical and cultural context for offensive words to the class before a book is assigned, and combine the discourse with a discussion about the use of words in harmful ways and the impact of such language, the effect of reading an epithet in a work of literature can be reduced and lessons can be learned about the students' peers and fellow human beings.
W. Jerry Jones 1-05-11
This is horrendous! It is reality of that time period in America. It is very true to the American experience of blacks and white during that time period. We, as a people should know what is wrong, but just because it's wrong does not mean it didn't happen. My son is going to high school next year, and I do not want him to read the "new" version. I want him to read the original version as it is. What's next, taking it out of To Kill a Mockingbird???? Ugh!!! Leave it alone people!!!
I believe we should leave the N word in the text. This is a piece of historical literature that should be left as it was meant to be written. During the time period of the story, this is how blacks were viewed. If we change the context of the story, we take the time setting of the story out. There are many other great works, like To Kill a Mockingbird, that should not change because it give us the realism of what the time period was like. I believe racism should be dealt with seriously, but taking it out of our history is just ridiculous.
This is a part of our AMERICAN history....it is what made us who we are today. Our children need to know the struggles and see how people lives were back then. I don't think anyone has a right to change history, it is what it is...If they are offended by the word, then get over it...It is a learning tool...NO ONE has a right to tell me what I can and can't read...and more so they should have no right to tell me what my children can read. I grew up with it, I played in a play from one of the chapters when I was a kid, I raised my children with it and you know what? we are all loving people, who get a long with everyone...it did not mar us or our thinking. People do that...People keep blowing this so out of proportion it's not funny. Leave our history alone...Let the parent decide if their child should read the book. With proper teaching, it will be a learning tool. If we take that out then we need to remove all the hate music that these kids are exposed to and look at more then just books.
No one should want to promote offensive references to any race, creed, ethnic group or other element of society. But if schools want to teach a classic, then it should be taught as such, without revision or censorship. If the goal is to insulate students from "offensive references" then the schools will become editors of not only racial, but religious, gender, nationality and other group specific slurs in every written piece. No writing will be immune from interpretation and censorship. Why not teach, in the context of any classics or other writings that bigotry, hate and name calling have no place in society and use the classics or outdated speech to show how we have evolved and still have more work to do.
I think that the books are a part of history and that if anything offensive is allowed to be re-written to soothe current or future generations, then we are in for a terrible future. But if Samuel L. Jackson will agree to re-write the entire script for "Jackie Brown", then go ahead and change everything. As long as African Americans continue to use the word in this present day where everyone claims to find it offensive, then why can't history record it as it was used in the time of Mark Twain? Learn from the past or we are destined to repeat it. Or, just erase it.
As a class of mature individuals attending Paradise High School, we have read, studied, and analyzed the novel. We believe that the novel is being misunderstood and people dwell to much on the racial epithet rather than grasping Twain's realism.
After all, Ernest Hemingway himself claimed that all American literature stemmed from one novel: Huck Finn.
If we were to censor one book for the use of an offensive,we would have to censor many other titles, and our library would be empty.
If the "N" word is so offensive that we have to remove it from CLASSIC literature, then let's take it out of EVERY RAP SONG WRITTEN TODAY. This is selective editing. Instead of editing the book, let's edit the way we talk to our children about it. Talk about the history, and why views have changed.
I think that it should not be taken out of Huckleberry Finn, because in that era blacks and whites were segrated it was the norm for kids to talk and act that way. This day in age any word can offend one or another we can not please everyone. it is not anybody elses job to edit an auther's publications.
Yes, I agree full heartily with this new Revised Edition, so far as related to 'recommended school reading' material. Anyone who wishes to check out the Original Edition can do so outside of school. It is not the job of our Public Servants to promote ANY written material that is riddled with racial slang or prejudice.
This move is a misguided and egregious form of presentism. Such a move misrepresents not only Twain, who was not racist, as evidenced by HF, at least to anyone with a brain who's actually read it, but history as well, and, perhaps worse, it obviates any opportunity for a "teachable moment" in the classroom.
What next? Jews demanding Shylock be referred to as a gentile? And we better take all those "dames" and "skirts" out of all of Chandler's novels. And what about movies? TV shows?
Why just the "N" word? What about "Injun Joe"! Lets change that to "Native-American Joe". Sounds as good as "Slave" for the "N" word
I find the use of the N word offensive in every form. Especially when it is used in Rap and comedy by people of color to the extent that I've turned the programs or music off.. I don't think people of any color should use it..
If you're offended why do you keep saying it so much???
The fact that it is offensive is part of the point of the book. Historical books like this should not be altered because it makes people uncomfortable. That uncomfortable feeling you get emphasizes how incorrect that time was, and how we should act differently now. That's what history is, learning from our mistakes. If you take away the n-word from this book, the emphasis of how bad the word actually is is taken away from history, and our present.
Besides, there are hundreds of books that use this word. Are you going to re-write them all? Not to mention, there are tons of song writers and rap artists who use that word openly. If the word makes people squeamish take it from everything! If your going to sensor one thing, don't make exceptions for other things. Or better yet, don't sensor anything! It's wrong.
Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" does not need to be updated to make it politically correct. It was written in a different time and is part of our history. I find the very idea that anyone would change one word in any book for any reason offensive.
The world "slave" is NOT interchangeable with the "n-word." That is not just my opinion, it's a fact. The origin of the word, according to Merriam-Webster is: Middle English sclave, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French esclave, from Medieval Latin sclavus, from Sclavus Slavic; from the frequent enslavement of Slavs in central Europe during the early Middle Ages
First Known Use: 14th century
This is one of the lowest points I've ever seen my country sink to. We teach children in our schools about the unfortunate parts of our country's history, and Huckleberry Finn is a novel set in unfortunate times. It should be read by children in its original language with an accompanying discussion about the times and why slavery and racism is/was wrong.
1. This is Mark Twain's book and he did not consent to any editing.
2. This books are art and thus are protected by the First Amendment.
3. These books provide a snapshot in time. And if we forget our past we are deemed to repeat it.
4. Would you edit or censorship the images of the Holocaust they are scary.
5. Would you edit offensive paragraphs in the Bible
6. Would you cover the private parts of the statue of Apollo
7. Why would you allow people to use n word in rap
Censoring this book is not better than communism..
I’m an African American – a Black man – and I believe it’s a shame to the book – considered a classic by scholars for generations – the author, and a grievous shame to our country that we would even consider perpetrating censorship under a misguided or misplaced sense of social justice.
It’s my belief that Mark Twain wasn’t advocating racism when he wrote Huckleberry Finn, but quite the opposite - trying to cast a critical eye upon it, and the components required for it to thrive in a society, chiefly ignorance, fear and indoctrination.
Here’s an old saying nobody seems to remember: “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. Replacing or altering even one word in a work of literature is the first step towards an inevitable path leading to a future but comparable kind of tyranny described in Twain's work. We, as free peoples - as citizens, as Americans - be we African or Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or whatever race/ethnicity have a responsibility to preserve and understand America's history in ALL its aspects regardless of - rather with exceptional mindfulness for - how ugly and disgraceful.
Please LEAVE THE BOOK ALONE; keep it AS IT WAS WRITTEN - unadulterated and uncensored. By all means, introduce it today's children and minors with supervision (that includes a careful respectful dialogue), so our children and successors can have deeper and better understanding of the eras before them and the generations of suffering and sacrifice it took to allow them to even start seeing a world beyond the disease of racism.
In changing the word, we are corrupting a glimpse into our country's past. Essentially diluting the history of slavery. History is society's lesson plan, it's how we learn to not make the same mistakes. There are many violent images from the 1960's civil rights movement, should we sensor them as well? Dilute history? Pretend it wasn't as bad as truly was? I fear the reason schools choose not to include this book in their lesson plan is because educators are simply afraid to discuss race or racism in their classrooms. These discussions should be encouraged in order for children to learn about society and history.
I think the fact that they're watering down Mark Twain's masterpiece to make it more politically correct is absolutely ridiculous. For one thing, it de-emphasizes the sanctity of written works by authors: what was the point of Twain slaving for years, trying to get every sentence perfect if 100 years later, people are just going to change his words. For another reason, why stop at Huckleberry Finn? If they're going to edit offensive words out of written works, they should probably get to work on every other piece of literature that may not be up to our "standard of correctness." The bottom line is, once we start editing the written word, what's to stop us from banning books, or burning them? I think history has shown us the consequences of manipulating the free press.
When portraying a character, it also involves the words they use.
There could be nothing more revealing of the unraveling of American education than the responses of panic given to innocuous things.
Absolutely ridiculous, The PC nuts are trying to change the facts of history. Most of the 'N" word controversy changed right after LBJ's Civii Rights Act. According to the Urban Dictionary" the word is still proper under special circumstances. Educators are becoming censors rather tha teachers.
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” –Mark Twain
I agree with Jim, this is totally 1984.
If someone is offended by the "N" word, then don't read the book. There are millions of other books to read. Rewriting this classic is a travesty.
I don't read books about The Holocaust because of the violence. So does that mean we should get a writer who worked for Disney and turn those books into fluffy puppies and shining rainbows to make it more readable?
When do we start editing the Holy Bible .
I am a high school student, having just read the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I, even having hated the book, am outraged at the thought of this censorship. Given that the book was only given (in my school) to those students in AP English, we were clearly mature enough to handle the use of the word, as well as to understand the weight of the meaning behind it. This is a large jump, I'll admit, but this leads to other forms of censorship where the possibility of a future like that in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is conceivable.
Personally, to avoid the butchering of a classic, the decision to have The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn removed from grade school curriculum should be made, to allow those that are uncomfortable with the use of the word to not read it, or have a censored version available to them, and to let those that truly want to learn about how society was in that time read it in its intended nature outside of their school.
The truth of Orwell's prediction once again comes to haunt us. Do the publishers have so little regard for the readers' ability to distinguish between what is written and what is meant? How will they rewrite Swift's "A Modest Proposal?"
This is counter productive and helps to perpetuate the myth that all was not too bad between the races. As Billy Collins notes in "The History Teacher," only an atom was flung at Hiroshima and the Boers told boring stories – period.
Euphemisms obfuscate the truth; changing an author's word butchers his portrayal of truth.
Shame on the publishers
As an Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition teacher, I've read the book several times, and believe It IS truly one of the greatest, if not THE greatest American novel. Both Whites and Negroes in the mid-19th century South often referred to slaves as "N-,"; a revised edition which comprises the social/historical accuracy of the novel will be a fraud, and Twain, in this classic novel condemns frauds, humbugs, liars, and those with hypocritical values. Indeed, Jim, the slave, is one of the few characters exemplifying honesty, decency, and compassion. Those who believe the book is racist have either not read it or completely missed Twain's point.
What a shame to "improve" the original book from which, according to Hemmingway, all American literature has come.
The fact that America has sunk so low as to destroy the importance of literature to "protect" our children is simply blasphemous. Who is to decide that our children can't think for themselves and understand that the n word is a bad word? I knew the n word was bad growing up as a child and I hadn't even read Huckleberry Finn at that point. What kind of society has America turned into that we know have to censor a piece of historical literature? To actually change the words in the book itself is literally just destroying the incredible depth and importance of the novel all together. What is next? Will we now assume that when our children read books about butterflies, they will think they can fly too? Are we acting that superior to our future leaders now? Our job as adults is to teach our children, not lie to them, or try to protect them from words that whether written in books or not, will forever exist. I feel as though this is the small start to a Kurt Vonnegut dystopian novel. Congratulations America, we should just start burning dystopian novels now. We don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.
That is sooo cool that all of you want to protect our freedom of speech or the sanctity of our historical racism, but it is not an acceptable word to be used or discussed in the classroom, because it is so highly offensive to some. That is why this classic book has been banned by most schools and that is why you will not say the word yourself. If you truly wanted these kids to be more educated on our history of the south during that time period, you should be delighted that someone is making this book available to children at school. If these 7,500 initial printings of the revised book allows one school to gain all the other positive aspects that come from this book besides learning that the south in the 1900's used the N-word a lot, then i am very happy to have it offered. It is not hurting our children, literature or their ability to learn from our history.
I've skimmed the comments, and maybe I missed one that said this, but I've got to add: Twain was NOT a racist!! This book does not support racism; it was, in fact, a vehement statement AGAINST it! The word is in there so many times to shock the people who use it, to show how ugly it is, and to show how ignorant they are when they use it. Also, Twain was all about sarcasm...why are people who can't even interpret a novel correctly being allowed to tear it apart?
Mark Twain is one of the greatest American writers EVER. This disgusts me.
Im a mature jr attending PHS, and i have read, studied, and analyzed the novel. We believe that the novel is being misunderstood and people are dwelling too much on the racial epithet. Rather than grasping Twains realism. Huckleberry finn was written during its time period. Its not a book that is to be used offensively as we should have realized Huck loved Jim.After all Ernest Hemingway stated himself clamied that all american literature stemmed from one novel: Huck finn. If we were to censor one book for the use of an offensive word, our library would be empty we would have to censor many other titles. My parents and grandparents read this book and there were no problems then there shoulnt be any now.
What's next? I guess we just get a little closer to being a closed society and start burning books, right? This has to stop. This isn't going to provide absolution for the way this country treated it's citizens. Nor will it... allow they, that cannot handle the burden, to pretend it never happened. You can close your eyes and block your ears and hum loudly like an immature child or you can accept responsibility for your actions and make proper amends. Sensoring a classic work of literature is like carving a tunic into Michelangelo's David. It cannot be allowed. I urge you all to stand up for the injustice we see before us and put a stop to this insanity before it propagates.
Its only when the words are completely censored out of society, can society then forget what it did to those whom the words refer to. Leave them in. Remind us of what our past is, so that we do not repeat it.
Also, give respect to the author of the book. The narrative is the creation of the author, it should be read and understood according to the author's intent- whether it is Huck Finn, Romeo and Juliet, or the Book of Exodus from the Jewish Cannon.
In short, don't whitewash history, and respect authorial intent.
I believe that the work of mark twain should be left as is. It is our jobs as parents and educaters to let the up and coming generation know what has happened in the past, not edit it out because it is offensive. Of course it was that is why so many great men and women fought hard for change, Leave it alone, and remind the children of what has happened and what can still be done.
It's funny how many of the comment express the concern about rewriting history, when half the history wriiten was false.
In order for school districts to approve for reading in schools.....allow edited edition, but print inside book the following: "Edited for school purpose only. Original writing depicts offensive language." Problem solved!
I personally feel as though replacing a simple word would really impact the meaning of the novel as a whole. The "n-word" was not suppose to portray racism. The "n-word" was to add a touch of reality to the vocabulary and behaviors of the characters. That is how people spoke which is why Twain wrote it that way. What people fail to realize and accept is that the "n-word" represents something historical. It is not a pleasant part of our history as people but it is there and it cannot be ignored. Changing that word is just one of the many ways idealists think they can paint the world another color: one that falls into their idea of an acceptable history. Truth is no history is perfect and Twain showed us that. Why disrupt a novel that calls it like it is? (UPS).
Rearing our children to be ignorant of the reality of our past is nothing short of teaching them to repeat history's mistakes.
Is it deplorable language?
Should we redact literature because it's offensive?
It's not about heritage, this is like saying you have to put shorts on Rodin's "the thinker" because he's nude.
OMG, Tammera...Now it is up to the Invidvidual School boards to decide what words shall be removed from the world's greatest classical literature?
Annette, I am a professional retired teacher...I don't think that qualifies as your 'public servant'. Fortunately, I taught when children were able to be fully educated because there were no Texas fanatics tearing the textbooks apart to fit their narrow, biggoted, religious need to control the minds of everyone.
People who need to control others are usually filled with fear, immobilized and needy. They reach out and grab onto any 'movement' which comes along where they can feel more secure and 'in charge'.
Of course this (and many other words) are horrific to many people. However, so are snake bites, murders and broken ankles. Unfortunately those will always be with us as well. 'Teaching'...is not stuffing words and information into blank heads of any age. It is developing critical thinking skills and assisting in development by young people to develop life skills as well as decision making skills.
I always have great compassion for youth who are raised with Mom and Dad editing all that surrounds them. Guidance is crucial...brain washing is a sin.
If I had a dime for everything in public media/publication that was offensive to someone, I'd make Mark Zuckerberg look like a hobo. Some song lyrics are misogynistic, some stories have other ethnic slurs. It seems like they are trying to "clean-up" history, make it neat tidy and easily swallowed.
As others have said, why not use this, and other, offensive words to teach a lesson? What is wrong with letting our youth learn from our mistakes? Mark Twain's stories painted a picture of the US back in that time. Just because we don't like how painting shows us doesn't mean we need to destroy it.
The book is a complete classic and in my opinion should not be changed. Lots of books have the n- word in them. Its not like they dont know what it means and even if they dont know what it means they will when they get older just as everyone else does. I dont see why this is such a big deal.
Absolutely ridiculous politically correct revisionist crap. The true nature of these incredible works should not be edited in any way. It would "literally" be a sacriledge. (sp?)
There is an old saying that along with the "spoils of war" the victor gets to write the history books.Do you know our nation is suffering from that very thing right now! What is the real story about health care in this nation? The poor have always suffered and the rich could always buy the best.
What about immigration? Very few if any peoples coming here have been welcomed. Pilgrims, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, Dutch, Jews, Mormons, Vietnamese, Spanish, etc. They all bothered someone and were reviled for it.
Leave literature alone, our kids need to learn the truth, understand the people and the life of the past. For the first 250 years lack of information and communication excused people for lack of knowledge and understanding. That is no longer the case. Let us learn!
i'm still amazed at the idea that children shouldn't be subjected to the "n" word in literature, but it's okay for them to hear it in popular hip-hop.
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