First post of the New Year! I'm not big on resolutions or anything like that but the end of 2010 taught me that I need to slow down a little. So that's exactly what I'm doing.
On to other stuff. So an Alabama publisher is publishing a version of Mark Twain's genius novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but replacing all instances of the infamous N-word with the word "slave." They'll also be replacing the word "injun." The reasoning is that school curriculums are dropping it from their roster because of the offensive word.
To which I say: Are you kidding me?
I can't actually blame the publishers here. They see an opportunity to make money and they're taking it. No. I blame the parents and teachers. I blame every moron who can't effectively teach their child the difference between a word used in a harmful way and a word used realistically in a novel mirroring the language of the era and region. No one likes the n-word. It's repulsive. It's history is repulsive. But rewriting history to expunge it from our collective memory doesn't change anything. In fact, it simply retards our ability to learn from our mistakes. Every child who reads the N-word in Huckleberry Finn SHOULD feel shame that we ever used words like that and take it as a lesson to never, ever let our society treat another member as a lesser class of person.
And sadly, this only opens the floodgates. Eliminate the n-word and injun. Next it'll be faggot and cracker and redneck and kike and skinhead and fat and skinny and on and on and on. Yes, these words are hurtful but it's intent that makes words hurtful. Any word that some group finds offensive will be on the chopping block. You think that maybe I'm being alarmist but this sets a precedence. It says that it's okay to remove offensive words from use. It's okay to censor. It's okay to forget.
And what comes after words? Images? Do we eliminate the statue of David because people find the penis offensive? Do we throw a sheet over the Venus de Milo because breasts are offensive?
Here's the thing: removing the word doesn't remove the hate. Just because you take away a murderer's knife doesn't mean he won't kill you another way. If we want to change people, if we want to make this a world where the n-word is just a word that ignorant people once used, then we need to leave books like Huckleberry Finn alone. We need to grow a set and let kids see for themselves how backwards we were, so that they can see an example of what we don't want to be.
Anyone who buys this bastardized book should be ashamed.