I want the “N-word” back!!!-PC and censorship in a free society

No I don’t want to run around saying it.  I want to be able to read it.  And I want it back in Mark Twain’s great classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Its one of America’s great books and I find it pathetic that its either banned from many schools, and now changed.  The controversial word of course is nigger.  And in the new edition of the book its been replaced by the word slave.  And I think its sad and pathetic.

For the record I am just some white boy.  However I was not born here and that perhaps is the reason why I am not burdened with the weight of centuries of racism and exploitation that Black Americans faced in the United stated throughout the centuries.  I laugh at racist jokes, I laugh when a joke (if funny) includes the word nigger, mostly spoken by a Black comedian.  I don’t look around uncomfortable and red faced wondering if anyone will think I’m a racist if I laugh.  I don’t mind talking about race, and race relations.  I also abhor racism of any kind.  However, I detest the idea that in a free society certain topics are taboo, and that kids who are 17 or 18 years old can not discuss those topics or, god forbid, read a great book which has the word nigger in it.  I hope I am not shocking anyone but kids that age have pretty much all drunk booze, done pot, had sex, and swore like sailors.  And I am pretty sure that most at one time or another have heard, read, or said “nigger.”  Yes, they did.  And they are not as stupid as some think they are.

No indeed, young people are smarter and more mature than we give them credit for.  Perhaps its their parents who need to be sanitized.  The kids can handle a conversation about race.  They wont be scarred for life when they see how black people in America were treated and spoken to in XIXth century America.  And seriously, is “slave” better?  The word slave does not apply to Jim.  He run away, he is a runaway slave.  On his way to freedom.  But free or not for a long time whites in America called blacks nothing but nigger, slavery had nothing to do with it in most cases.  At best they were referred  to as “boy” or “uncle” if older.  So how the hell is using the word slave better?  Because the NAACP want the word banned?

While I am not crazy about banning anything I do get why they do want it gone from our society.  The overuse of such a deplorable term is a terrible by product of America’s history.  And its sad that today its mostly descendants of the people who were so oppressed by the word itself, among countless other humiliations, use it as if it meant nothing or was a cool thing to say.  But it has nothing to do with a book written in 1885.  The book is a reflection of XIXth century America.  No one went around and called black people slave.  No, they called them nigger, or boy, or uncle.  No one called them sir either.  Denying that means denying our dark past.  Its nothing but revisionism and running away from something that makes us uncomfortable.  And I am sorry, but the history of Black Americans is too important to revise or ignore.  We must face it, own up to it and only then will we be able to learn from it and live with it.

And the kids we pretend to want to protect will understand that better than we do.  Last night Comedy Central run the South Park movie (unedited [gasp]).  Its was about the going to see their favourite Canadian characters in a film which was mainly fart jokes and foul language.  The parents were so appalled when the kids started cursing they arrested the film’s heroes, and they were going to be executed, plus America went to war with Canada over that in typical over the top South Park fashion.  I love South Park, its crude, its over the top, but its quite thoughtful and exposes many of America’s idiocies, like censorship, overprotective parents, political correctness gone wild and many many others.  And this latest of the very long saga over  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is not that different.

Why do you not want your kids to learn about how black people were treated in America?  The book shows that brilliantly, and deals with America’s racism.  “Its uncomfortable” is not a good enough reason.  The word nigger is a disgusting term that should not be uttered in today’s society.  By choice of course, not because someone wants to ban it.  However it is an important part of American English language and American history.  We can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away.  The only way we can properly deal with it and eliminate it is to teach how disgusting it really is.  And Mark Twain’s book is a great teaching tool.  One would think that America’s parents and educators would be jumping for joy at the opportunity to use such a great example to teach about racism, slavery, and American history.  But no, America’s parents and educators will now treat this like the birds and the bees.  Yet another euphemism to avoid dealing with what they see as an uncomfortable subject.  Because god forbid we would have to explain something properly to kids.  Then we run around and wonder why they do the things they do.  Well its because you do not respect them, you think them stupid and unable to handle anything that may be even remotely uncomfortable for you.  Sex is a natural act, its the only way we survive as a species, but when a kid, 8 or 12, asks where do babies come from we fucking invent storks or talk of birds and bees.  What the hell is that about?  Are your children retarded?  If kids learned the importance and consequences of sex properly perhaps they would see it in a different light.  But no, their repressed parents don’t think they can handle it.  And now its slavery and treatment of black people in America.

Ugh, so uncomfortable.  Maybe if I say something the NAACP will come after me.  The strange bit of this mess is that America’s black leaders are going along with this shit, hell some are actually leading the cause.  Why?  How?  Because Jim is not painted as an all around good guy?  Not good enough role model for you?  Well there is hardly anyone in the book that could be described as a saint.  Jim is not alone in his imperfection.  Well guess what, black people are not perfect.  Most are not great role models, just like anyone else.  They are flawed like Jim was flawed.  So what.  He was more human that way.  The world is not filled with perfect heroes.  You want another sanitized hero?  Perhaps next we could make Jim into a superman fighting the injustice of slavery while saving damsels in distress and princesses in tall towers.  Shit, another difficult conversation.  Or do we now think that only people of great moral character deserved freedom, love, respect, and escape from slavery?

Pathetic.  We are a supposedly free country.  Yet we choose to censor ourselves.  I bet if the government tried to censor something the same people would be up in arms.  The main problem here is that when we substitute the word nigger with slave then it becomes just a descriptive term.  Jim is an escaped slave.  Now for over 270 times the reader will be reminded that Jim was a slave.  Not a person being insulted even by people who like him, because they just don’t know any better.  That is how badly blacks were spoken to and described.  A slave is basically an “employment” status.  In XIXth century America a black person could be a slave or a free man, but to most white people he was always a nigger.  That is how bad it was.  But no, its uncomfortable, so we wont show that, lest the kids ask questions like why, can’t have that.  Better just say, slavery bad, we’re sorry, all is well now, lets move on to Teddy Roosevelt.

And “injun?”  Really?  Seriously?  No one in the XIX century said injun?  I hate to break this to everyone but the book was written in the 1880’s and is about the 1800’s and that is how people spoke, or will we have to have that conversation in which the nice red skinned people gave us nice white people land to settle?  Trust me, no kids are going to start running around screaming “injuns!” if they see the word.  Its another uncomfortable thought we all wish we did not have to deal with and we hope it would just go away.  but that pesky Twain had to ruin it for everyone.  Now we have to decide to think and talk of things that make us uncomfortable, or god forbid admit that we are racist or that we were at least.  Can’t have that.

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Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. They are idiots aint they, its all about people trying to make a point and removing from the schools thinking its going to educate children better, well thats a load of old shit, the truth is the words is wildly used in America more so than where I live but its used here to, and mostly it is used by the black community, now I am not saying its right to use the word I personally myself dislike the word and dont use it, back to my point these politically correct mad people are trying to make a state of intent by removing the word they think its going to stop younger generations of learning it, well what they need to do is go and teach the parents not the children.

    The book is a classic and as you have rightly pointed out its not teaching children to use the term as a weapon to use in words against someone its teaching of the history of the word and why it was used back then, why take such a classic book change the words and ruin it, by doing that they are completely taking away from what the book is intended for, to teach people about the way of hte past the way people spoke to one and other, the struggle of the people back in teh 19th century.

    These politically correct people need to sit down in my eyes and actually read the book because if they did they word not even have the notion for changing a word in it, the book is an absolute classic which is now being spoilt and trust me many children will be worse of for not rading it.

    I am not sure how much sense this rant has made hope its some.

  2. Why can`t they just leave this great book allow
    it does not need changed and by doing this it will destroy the story

  3. I am in agreement with your overarching position that it is wrong to change the language in the book. It is a classic novel that was written in a time period where racism was as rampant as homophobia is today. To change those words is effectively an attempt to alter history. The history of the United States is terribly violent, racist, and bigoted. And I feel that as a country, we need to face that history head-on if we are to consume any value from it; if we are to learn from it.

    But more importantly I have an issue when historical pieces are altered to fit “the times.” I am an atheist, and I do not feel that the term God should be removed from our money. It should not be removed because our country was founded on the idea of God (not Christianity); that is our history, and I accept that for what it is. The same idea applies to the term nigger. While the term is terribly degrading, hurtful, and bigoted, we as a country cannot avoid said term as it is an integral part of our history. Yes we can (and should) eradicate the word nigger from our language, however we should not eradicate the word from our history.

    • Very well put. If we do not understand and own up to our history we will never come to terms with it and can not really move on.
      I was born in Poland, a very Catholic country. Now I don’t have much use for the church or god, but one can not erase over 1000 years of “symbiosis” of Poland and Catholicism as many these days would like to do. We can be atheists, agnostics, cosmopolitan (the new hip thing to be there) and at the same time respect the history and what the church meant in Poland, and what it still means today.


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