History, Huckleberry Finn, HuffingtonPost, Mark Twain, N-Word, Nigger, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Racism, Truth & Reconciliation Commissions, Writing
Mark Twain New Editions: ‘Offensive’ Words To Be Removed
I find your deletion of my comment on the N-word-to-“slave” change in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn offensive, HuffingtonPost. You can’t erase history by simply erasing a word. Your knee-jerk deletion actually proves the point of my previous comment. That we Americans are willfully dumb and unwilling to have a real, ugly yet conciliatory conversation about race, racism, and racist behavior and speech. I guess I should’ve written Randall Kennedy’s book [N-word]: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (2002) or Stevie Wonder’s “Living For The City” (1973), where the warden says “in your cell, [N-word]” or Carl Van Vechten’s [N-word] Heaven (1926) instead of the actual word. We’d spend the next 50 years editing the word out of existence, only having not dealt with the hurt, anger, discrimination, and issues of inferiority contained in the context in which the N-word was and is being used.
Let’s go a step further, and edit Shakespeare’s Othello or Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” (1899) or any number of other works because they contain potentially offensive attitudes about race. Your deletion explains well why South Africa could do a truth and reconciliation commission on apartheid, and why it will take a cultural revolution for racial reconciliation to happen here in the US.