The Great Twain Debate

March 21, 2011
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Should the “N” word be replaced with “slave” in mark Twains “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”? The answer is no. In his book Twain is trying to portray the hillbilly of the day, the old fashioned, and the west. He was not meaning the word in a racial, demeaning term, so implying that all blacks are slaves is very disrespectful, not only to Twain, but to all black people. Scholars might suggest that they are up to date on the knowledge of modern racism, and that replacing the word will fix everything, they are wrong, and I will tell you why.

To say the word nigger is considered highly offensive, and vile. We all know that it is used as a demeaning term, or used to show authority over a colored person. That’s modern though. In the context that Twain uses the word, he is referring to his friend, not his slave. Therefore replacing the word with slave will change the context entirely. If you truly were smart enough to understand why and how Huck was using the word, then you would not even consider hanging the word at all, or taking it out for that matter. Racial slurs are noted today as unintelligent words, yet it is not even debatable that Mark Twain was incredibly intelligent. He was simply referring to the person that was in the story, not a slave.

Disrespecting Mark Twain by changing this word is unacceptable, it is his book, and people should not be allowed to alter it. The book became a classic on its’ own, it didn’t need to be changed. We can’t start censoring everything that makes people uncomfortable, because pretty soon we wont have anything left in the world. Calling a Black person nigger, and calling one a slave are two completely different things. Not all blacks were slaves then and it's disrespecting all black people to refer to them that way. For example; in the book, there is a black man that is highly educated, a professor, and has the right to vote. Referring to this man as a slave is an understatement beyond repair.

The people that wish to replace the word are considering the language of their time, but we have to consider the language of Twain’s time, because that’s the time in which the word was used. There is nothing modern about this book, and those who wish to alter it are altering history.

I say to you again, that we can’t please everyone, if we start to change some major events in our history, then we might as well change everything in our history. Twain was a brilliant man and deserves the credit he has received. We can’t disrespect him b changing his book, even if it is just one word. Times have changed and there is more acceptance of diversity. If we can accept diversity, then it shouldn’t be too hard to accept a book that has already been accepted.





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