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BS: Political Correctness goes too far

EBarnacle 05 Jan 11 - 02:40 PM
goatfell 05 Jan 11 - 02:56 PM
gnu 05 Jan 11 - 02:56 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,999 05 Jan 11 - 03:15 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 03:29 PM
Ebbie 05 Jan 11 - 03:36 PM
katlaughing 05 Jan 11 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,Eliza 05 Jan 11 - 03:40 PM
Bill D 05 Jan 11 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 05 Jan 11 - 03:52 PM
Greg F. 05 Jan 11 - 03:54 PM
Acorn4 05 Jan 11 - 03:55 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 03:57 PM
Lox 05 Jan 11 - 03:58 PM
Greg F. 05 Jan 11 - 04:06 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 04:14 PM
Ed T 05 Jan 11 - 04:16 PM
katlaughing 05 Jan 11 - 04:20 PM
Bill D 05 Jan 11 - 04:21 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 04:35 PM
Bonzo3legs 05 Jan 11 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Eliza 05 Jan 11 - 05:18 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 05:23 PM
gnu 05 Jan 11 - 05:24 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 05:27 PM
Ed T 05 Jan 11 - 05:36 PM
Lox 05 Jan 11 - 05:52 PM
Little Hawk 05 Jan 11 - 05:55 PM
akenaton 05 Jan 11 - 06:32 PM
Lox 05 Jan 11 - 06:50 PM
Ed T 05 Jan 11 - 07:03 PM
Bobert 05 Jan 11 - 07:34 PM
akenaton 05 Jan 11 - 07:52 PM
Ed T 05 Jan 11 - 08:09 PM
Genie 05 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM
mousethief 05 Jan 11 - 09:14 PM
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Deckman 05 Jan 11 - 09:23 PM
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Subject: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:40 PM

Now they're going too far! They are removing the N-word from Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. These books are among the most banned books in America because people are afraid to talk frankly about what was done when.

Here's the story:

New Edition of "Huckleberry Finn" to Be Released Without the "N-Word"
Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben is making waves this week for announcing that he will publish a new, single-volume edition of Twain's classic (and controversial) novels "Huckleberry Finn" and "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in which every instance of the "n-word" is replaced with the word "slave."

Gribben has nothing but good intentions in removing the racial epithet, which appears 219 times, from Twain's work. As he said in an interview with Publishers Weekly:



"This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."

...."I was sought out by local teachers, and to a person they said we would love to teach [Tom Sawyer], and Huckleberry Finn, but we feel we can't do it anymore. In the new classroom, it's really not acceptable."



Indeed, most teachers can't teach the book to students these days, as it's one of the country's most frequently banned books (HT Raw Story). And the new edition could placate the desire of school districts to avoid racially-charged controversy, theoretically making the book available to more young people. (Although I have a hard time believe that removing the word will automatically erase all controversy surrounding the book. Won't teachers have to address the word-swap with students? It seems hard to ignore.)

Meanwhile, some people have argued that removing the "n-word" from Huck Finn is no different -- or worse -- than removing f-bombs from movies for general consumption on network TV.

But understandably, many people are up in arms about the move, arguing that Gribben's edition, to be published by NewSouth Books, will whitewash the nation's history and ruin a literary classic by changing the meaning of many passages.

Speaking to Publishers Weekly, Twain scholar Thomas Wortham drew a connection between Gribben and Thomas Bowdler, who "published expurgated versions of Shakespeare for family reading." "A book like Professor Gribben has imagined doesn't challenge children [and their teachers] to ask, 'Why would a child like Huck use such reprehensible language?'," said Wortham.

This Week in Blackness editor-in-chief Elon James White goes one step further in Salon:



The book, which deals directly with racism, is not better served by erasing the racial slur. The only purpose is to ease the tension that is felt by parents and teachers of students who would read it. To pretend this is for some higher good is to insult the intelligence of the American public. America is a society in which our ugly history is not so far gone as to allow for cold, detached analysis. Because of the mistreatment of everyone who wasn't/isn't white, straight and male, America is constantly defending itself instead of dealing head-on with the wrongs that it willingly played a role in....

America talks about race like scared parents talk with their kids about sex. We're vague, sometimes terribly misleading and on occasion leave out huge aspects of the situation that would allow kids to make better decisions about how they conduct themselves. If we continue with our horrendously skewed and willfully ignorant interpretations of history, we will find ourselves with a generation that's woefully misinformed and it will be completely our fault.



By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at January 5, 2011, 8:56


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: goatfell
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:56 PM

yes it has gone to far


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: gnu
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:56 PM

Bloody shameful hiding the truth from future generations. That horrible truth should be chiseled in stone so NOBODY forgets the way it, hopefully one day, WAS.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:13 PM

Lauren Kelly is absolutely right. Parents and teachers are NOT protecting kids by censoring or changing literary documents from a previous age...they are protecting themselves from the discomfort and fear they are consumed with regarding contemporary issues of race, gender, religion, etc. They are attempting to make their children as insecure and confused as themselves. They are shoring up their own serious emotional dysfunctions and practicing avoidance of uncomfortable realities. That does not protect children in any way whatsoever...and it promotes the growth of ignorance.

It is nothing but the culture of fear, masquerading as a idealistic battle for human rights.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:15 PM

True enough, LH. However, school teachers work for school boards, and school boards are made up of parents. That teachers are responsible for this shit is just that: it`s shit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:29 PM

Righto. I get your point, 999.

Why is it that the most insecure and fucked-up people in the entire society are the ones who get to push the agenda? ;-) Ever wondered about that? I suspect it is because they are the loudest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:36 PM

I am assuming that most of us are what is called 'white'. How do people of color feel about the prospect of sanitizing the books?

I would hope that the majority of them would also regard Huck and Tom as classical icons- but I don't actually know.

I miss Azizi. Not only would she have an opinion, she would have insight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:39 PM

NPR Talk of the Nation is just getting ready to talk about this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:40 PM

Have black people actually been asked whether they'd prefer the word to be changed in texts from a previous era? Presumably it's a misguided attempt to spare their feelings that this is felt to be necessary. If they would rather it stayed as written by Mark Twain, why should anyone take it upon themselves to Bowdlerise the books? It was the same here with Enid Blyton's children's books. All Golliwogs were eradicated from her stories, even though they're only toys. Many black people said they'd rather keep the Gollies, but the Politically Correct Brigade hung in there. I think young students are perfectly capable of taking the texts as written, and indeed it's an insult to them to try to screen them from any racism. One should NOT change any text from the past, it's vandalism of literature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:48 PM

. "How do people of color feel about the prospect of sanitizing the books?"

"Have black people actually been asked whether they'd prefer the word to be changed in texts from a previous era?"

I heard two say last night that they felt (paraphrasing) that this move was misguided and that sanitizing the books would just complicate the ability to discuss what those words were about.

One was Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry of Princeton University...and my mind blanks out on the other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:52 PM

Ficdep @ Ministry of Truth at work. Truly Orwellian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:54 PM

This is not "political correctness" [which, by the way, is another right-wing BuShite Republican bumper-sticker buzz-word and thus essentially meaningless].

Its just simple stupidity.

As was/is 'banning' the book in the first instance. Plain stupidity.

However, stupidity has become enshrined as a virtue in the U S of A (Greatest Country In The World!!)- so best get used to it.

Plenty more stupidity where this came from.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:55 PM

I think Kipling's "Just So" stories have similar references.

An interesting example of this is the evolution of the opening chorus of the musical "Showboat".

This is a chorus of black workers singing:- "N*****s all work on the Mississippi." Apparently the N word was used by the black workers in a sort of tongue in cheek reference to themselves, and Oscar Hammerstein's lyrics were intendedin a satirical vein, much of the musical being laden with social comment.

The lines were changed to:- "Darkies work on the Mississippi" then "Coloured Folks work on the Mississippi" then "We all work on the Mississippi", and finally no-one worked on the Mississippi as the opening chorus was left out.

It does however, put a teacher in a difficult position, particularly with a junior class, when such "loaded by context" words appear in a class reader. I think I would just tend to avoid the text.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:57 PM

Actually, Ebbie, I think of myself as "human", not White. It's a good basis to go on.

The only country I've ever been in in my life where I had the very distinct feeling that there was simply no conscious level of prejudice in anyone there Black people and White people and other racial groups was...Cuba. People's perceptions of one another there did not appear to hinge on race at all.

It was one of the things that really stood out down there, and I have to assume it was a direct results of social ideas brought in and promoted by Castro's revolution.

If anyone here is sceptical about what I say about the lack of racial divisions in Cuba, I can only make one suggestion. Go down there and see for yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:58 PM

Sometimes classic books are simplified for smaller kids.

I could see the value of it in that context.

In fact, in that context its been going on for years anyway so this isn't really news.

The first time I was introduced to these books was when I was 5, and I read simplified versions that didn't contain the word 'nigger'.

That way my Mum got to read me the stories and enjoy them without having to give a 5 year old a pretty complex sociology lecture simultaneously.

I read the real things later when I was more mature.

we have 18 certs for violence and sex, and for films containing sexual swear words and racist language.

Its probably important to learn a bit about who, why and what audience before we get too hot under the collar.

So old news, and not that big a deal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Greg F.
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:06 PM

There's no point in having a five-year-old (or"smaller kids") read Huckleberry Finn-really rather silly. No way he/she could understand what its about or begin to appreciate it. Stick with Dick and Jane, the Hardy Boys, etc.

When they're old enough to understand the work, the "N-word"- properly explained & placed in historical & literary context- won't be problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:14 PM

No...but, just think, Greg...I bet some ordinary words that we are innocently using right now will become politically incorrect in some future political era...and the same old shit will start again, only we won't be there to witness it! ;-D

For instance, it might someday be illegal to publicly display the American flag in various places, just as it is now with the Swastika! I could see that happening, given a certain chain of dramatic historical events...with new losers and winners.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Ed T
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:16 PM

I am kinda 50/50 on this one. The correct question to ask is where does it come from.

If the source of the inertia is from a group of people who feel seriously offended by a word, regardless of it's use in time, well that's one thing, and needs careful consideration. In that case, I would lean towards the side of those seriously offended. I am sympathetic to those who seriously are offended by certain words, and on the impact on their children. I understand that the "n" word is used within the black community, but, that is likely different, or possibly equally hurtful to some.

On the other hand, if the source of the action is from the politically correct do gooder crowd (aka "tight assed university folks"), I would lean on the side of "butt out, and just let it be".

IMO, more open discussion would be needed in either case.

I am familiar with a movement a few years back, in Canada, to call fishermen "fishers". It was promoted by the AKA movement (noted above). Both male and female folks who fish were insulted...because no one asked them what they should be called. One female friend who fishes told me, " My father was a fisherman. my mother was a fisherman, and I am proud to call myself a fisherman. A fisher is a small weasel like animal, and that ain't me". Fortunately, the term fisher has mostly fades away, except on University campuses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:20 PM

Lox, that's pretty much what the editor said about his new version. It's meant for younger kids for teachers who are being harassed about it by parents. If I remember correctly, he said he discusses that very thing in the preface/intro. The audio will be available HERE after 6pm.

For the record, I would not want my biracial grandsons to have had to read it when they were younger. And, they live in an area of CT where it is very mixed and supportive. I'll have to ask my dau. if they've read either book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:21 PM

It is important to understand that Huck Finn would have not KNOWN other words to use. Sam Clemens understood that....and he 'allowed' Huck to call Jim 'nigger' and still respect him and call him a friend.
The point was made in the discussion I saw that, if 'slave' is substituted, the entire point is missed. There are/were many 'slaves' in the world who were NOT African, and Jim's status of being a slave was not the point of how he was identified in that age.
   Gradually, over the years, words have changed...to 'nigra' and 'Negro' and 'Black' and 'African-American'(which in itself fails to include many 'darker' people.) I sat in NAACP meetings in the mid to late 60s and watched as various Black/African-American members argued among themselves over what they wished to be called! Many simply wished to be called 'Sir' occasionally.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:35 PM

"It is important to understand that Huck Finn would have not KNOWN other words to use."

Right. That is the real point, and that's why the books should not be changed...if people actually wish to learn about the past. If, on the other hand, they merely wish to hide in a certain political comfort zone they've recently made up, that's another matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:44 PM

The blackest people I have ever seen were on the beaches and promenades of resorts around Marbella in Spain - they were flogging cheap watches and other junk, and were very friendly guys indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:18 PM

My husband, an Ivorian, is VERY black. In fact, in the dark streets of our village (no street lamps here) he disappears altogether unless he grins. I've just asked him what he thinks about changing books to remove racist words. He was puzzled, as he doesn't think a printed word can hurt him. Also, he says "The man wrote these words, so why change them today?" This is I think a semantic and linguistic question about the implication and meaning of words changing over time. What was not offensive then may have become so now. But that is not in itself a reason to interfere with text. But if in the street a racist yells the 'n' word at a black person, that is a deliberate attempt to insult and offend. The difference lies in the attitude and intention of the user. Surely people (even young students) are perfectly capable of understanding this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:23 PM

As usual, it is not the tool (the knife or the hammer or the word) which is in itself good or evil. It is the intentions of the person using the tool, and the context in which that tool is used that determine the choice between good and evil....or just plain neutral.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: gnu
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:24 PM

Let me clarify my post above... whether or not the use of any word is or was racist (or otherwise) in context it should be allowed to stand. Fact is, erasing that word erases the responsibilty of the author from the use of that word. This should never be allowed. It is a distortion of history and FACT.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:27 PM

Good point. For the same reason the Nazi Swastika symbol should not be excised from historical accounts, historical artifacts, photos, or models and art of historical ships, aircraft, and other equipment of that time. To do so is a deliberate distortion of history and FACT.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Ed T
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:36 PM

"It is the intentions of the person using the tool, and the context in which that tool is used that determine the choice between good and evil....or just plain neutral".

Kinda sounds like gunbs don't kill, people do, LH?


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:52 PM

"There's no point in having a five-year-old (or"smaller kids") read Huckleberry Finn-really rather silly"

Well - except that I got an idea of the story at a young age and was entertained by it, and then later when I was older was drawn to it because it rang bells.

There's 3 points.


"That is the real point,"

There are lots of points.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 05:55 PM

Yes, Ed, people kill. A gun that is locked safely away kills no one. A gun that is used responsibly on a firing range kills no one. A gun that is used sensibly and responsibly to hunt ducks will kill some ducks, but it won't kill people if the gun owner handles it properly. A gun in the hands of a responsible person who handles it sensibly and without harmful intent kills no one.

That does not, however, equate to a blanket statement from me that I want everyone to have a gun! ;-) I don't. Not everyone is responsible or trustworthy with a gun, are they?

But the essential problem in life is not guns, hammers, knives, or specific words...the essential problem in life is people who use any of those things to do harm to someone. The main reason people worry so much more about guns, as opposed to hammers, is that they kill much more efficiently than a hammer, they were originally designed to kill, and they can kill at a considerable distance!

The same is true of explosives, military bombs, flamethrowers, poison gas, and atomic bombs...and that's why you can't just go and buy any of them at the local corner store. It's a matter of common sense to figure these things out, not a political principle.

It's also a matter of common sense to see that the use of the word "nigger" in the context of a Mark Twain book is not, and was never a racial attack on Black people. It was simply an honest depiction of the time and culture that Twain was writing about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 06:32 PM

I my battles here against the conventional view of homosexuality and how we disregard uncomfortable facts to suit our agenda, I have been attacked many times, called many nasty names, had my sexuality called into question to bolster the stance of my opponents.

These people are "liberals" all, but they do not see their abuse for what it is, an attack on real liberalism. As Little Hawk has so eloquently stated, they feel a need to supress anything which contradicts or calls into question their beliefs.
Freedom of speech and thought, within reasonable limits should always be upheld in a genuinly liberal society.

Regarding the issue in hand, censorship of this and other literature is a crime against freedom and culture and should not be tolerated.

Ebbie wonders what Azizi's view would have been, well I was never a supporter of Azizi or her viewpoint regarding race, I felt that she was covertly punishing us for the sins of our fathers......taking too much satisfaction in the suffering of her people.
That in itself is a type of racism.
Racists come in all colours, in the UK there is a huge scandal about to explode regarding the sexual exploitation of very young girls by mainly Pakistani adult males.
According to the report in todays Times, these Pakistani Muslims do not recognise these young white girls as being morally clean or of as much value as Muslim girls.

A spokesman says,"This is a form of racism that is abhorrent and totally unacceptable in a society which prides itself on equality and justice"
We must realise that minorities can be as guilty of criminality as the majority.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 06:50 PM

"I felt that she was covertly punishing us for the sins of our fathers"

Provide an example.



If necessary, I can provide examples of you attacking Azizi in threads about race to which she hadn't even posted (key words "thatcher" and " gollywog").



And now that she is off the forum you are at it again.



You play a "nice" game for a while, and then you start spouting bilious, spineless crap again at the first opportunity.


Abuse?



You aren't worthy of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Ed T
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:03 PM

An interesting perspective LH.

But, as with most issues, there are many factors and complexities that do not put everything in black and white terms, (or, simple logos), no pun intended.

As to historic accuracy, this is a story, not a history book, right? Let's put it in perspective.

It reminds me of a similar local incident.

A few years ago, a local issue arose as some people agressively protested that a black teenager was allowed a summer job as a uniformed officer in a local historic colonial (French) fort. The boy was hired as summer help, with other youngsters. They would march about in front of tourists a few times a day in a reinacment of military perations of the day.

Some people protested that it was not "historically accurate", as no black people served in the locally posted French military during this colonial period.

After a few weeks of tense battles in the newspaper, people settled down and realized that it was not the end of the world from a historical perspective, and the lad was allowed to keep his job. I suspect the the historic records were not impacted, and the teen got to make a few dollars to support his education.

My lesson was one has to put issues like this in perspective, and consider all the issues, before taking sides and firing off the guns.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:34 PM

I in no way can I speak for black people but...

...I'd guess that you'd find that black folks who are aware of Mark Twain would find it objectionable to change his language...

What I do find objectionable, however, is that white people really are no closer to having a discussion about race now then they were 14 years ago when Bill Clinton suggested that it was time...

So, to white people everywhere... When will it be time???

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:52 PM

Yes Bobert well said, and I'm in complete agreement with your point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Ed T
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 08:09 PM

I am white and prepared, bring it on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Genie
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM

From the perspective of the author of a work - albeit perhaps deceased - I don't think it should matter whether any group of individuals is offended by the content of that work.
Don't bowdlerize, sanitize, or adulterate an author's work and then attribute that mangled document to that person.    If a book is considered too offensive, even when studied under the tutelage of the school teacher or professor or parent, DON'T USE IT. (Libraries should still have the unabridged book for those who want to study it on their own.)

Yes, there can be value in reading the Reader's Digest Condensed versions of some books or simplifying and shortening some books for use with young children, but it needs to be made abundantly clear to the students, their parents, and any other readers that these are NOT the authentic works of such-and-such authors.    Words like "abridged" need to be prominently displayed.

I'm wondering what the point is of using Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer as classroom reading for kids and teens, though, if it's not used partially as a stimulus to discussion of the times and societal conditions reflected in those books. (BTW, are they changing Injun Joe to "Native-American Joe" or "First-Nations Joe" in Tom Sawyer?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: mousethief
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 09:14 PM

What you're all missing is that schools are not teaching this book at all because of the n-word. No kids are reading it. None. Zilch. Is that a bad thing? Could be. But it's REALITY. Get over it.

By excising that word, the book can get back into schools and kids can start reading it again.

I think they should state plainly up front that the book used to be racier and has been toned down, but not say how. That will send the kids (the ones who give a crap) racing to the library to read the original! Everybody wins.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Ed T
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 09:14 PM

I agree that books with offensive words should be not be used in schools.

My recollection is some racially offensive words (for example, Jap, and Indian-giver, squaw) have been changed, in some school texts, in some countries that were clearly racially offensive. Could the issue that this case refers to a clearly offensive black term? Could it be a USA thing?

If the offensive words were bad swear words, pro Nazi, anti-semite, anti Christian, or anti women would they be allowed in schools?

Just wondering?


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 09:23 PM

The word "NIGGER" was used for several hundred years. It was used for a purpose and a meaning. To try to erase it is impossible. This effort at some kind of ethnic cleansing is foolish ... impossible ... and demeaning. The African Americans, who own this heritage, should also feel insulted. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: mousethief
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 09:36 PM

Deckman, "ethnic cleansing" means removing people of one ethnicity from a region or country. Bowdlerization of kids' books isn't "ethnic cleansing".


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 09:53 PM

It isn't ethnic cleansing in a literal sense...it's cultural cleansing...but the mindset behind it is quite similar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 11:12 PM

Have any of you gone to NPR and listened to the author answer some of these very questions you all are bringing up? It's worth it, imo.

Here it is again with transcript: CLICK HERE.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: mousethief
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 11:20 PM

LH, the mindset behind it was to get the book back into schools. It was love of HF and wanting to see kids read it again.

You guys really are dudgeon-generating machines. Facts don't phase you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Amergin
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 11:30 PM

Well....this would be like taking Chaucer's Summoner's Tale, and replacing all instances of the word "fart" with the word "whistle", it just doesn't have quite the same punch....


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 11:41 PM

When my son was 7, I started reading Huck Finn to him. As soon as the word appeared on the first page, he stopped me and refused to let me continue, rejecting the book for its choice of language. Whether he would have appreciated the book at that age with cleaned up language, I don't know.

This seems to problem of switches. As soon as people see a word that they have been trained to see as inappropriate, they switch off. There is no consideration of context. When I tried to explain that the language was appropriate to people of that time and place, he rejected the answer.

If they want bowdlerization, let them read Classic Comics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 12:21 AM

In the book, Huck suffers awfully with his guilt over doing the wrong thing. Unlike his Dad, Huck is a moral person who always tries to do what he knows is right. Time and time again, he is presented with the opportunity to do what he knows is right and lawful...turn Jim in to the authorities as a runaway slave. At last, he decides that he must have much of the evil of his Pa in him, and decides he is beyond redemption already, and so will continue to help Jim escape and find his family.
Think of what a genius Twain was. Instead of giving his character wisdom beyond his years and his culture, he shows us a character strong enough to do what his heart assures him is right, but he knows to be wrong. It was Twain's way of making us see the wrongness in the rules that society sets up for us. Huck is an anti-hero who loves himself much less than we love him.
And Twain plays the same turn-the-tables game with the use of the word nigger by Huck and others. As was said above, there was no other way of referring to black people in Huck's culture. But Nigger Jim becomes Huck's true friend, and the only adult he can understand and admire.
These are the lessons of the book, that we must do what we feel in our hearts is right, and that goes beyond any lesson about racism or use of the word nigger. And the irony that the book is banned would make even Twain chuckle. In a way, its just what he would have expected from us.
I say ban the book. Truly, we don't deserve it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 12:53 AM

I believe it was on the Anderson Cooper Show on Tuesday night wherein three Black guests, a Democratic spokesperson/analyst of some sort, the founder of a private or charter school, and a person in the arts discussed the new, sanitized Twain. Both the educator and the artist (I think she is a writer) spoke against this concept. Only the person in politics favored the new edition. That discussion reinforced my feelings against the political intruding on art.

While I come to this thread quite late, I find that some of the comments are really spot on as to their criticism of putting out this edition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 12:58 AM

Lonesome EJ: And Twain plays the same turn-the-tables game with the use of the word nigger by Huck and others. As was said above, there was no other way of referring to black people in Huck's culture. But Nigger Jim becomes Huck's true friend, and the only adult he can understand and admire.

The best part of the whole book is where Huck says that Aunt Polly never did anything bad to him ever, "and here I am stealing her nigger." The whole upside-downness of what is right and wrong in that society (and in ours) is right there in just a few words.


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Subject: Censoring Huckleberry Finn to be PC
From: Genie
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 02:01 AM

Ed T.,
It is one thing to remove offensive language from school textbooks - which get revised & updated all the time anyway - and quite another to change an author's work without his/her permission and without acknowledging that the author's work has been substantially altered.



Alex, I think you're onto something here:
"I think they should state plainly up front that the book used to be racier and has been toned down, but not say how. That will send the kids (the ones who give a crap) racing to the library to read the original! Everybody wins."


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Subject: RE: BS: Political Correctness goes too far
From: Genie
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 02:06 AM

And, Alex, facts do faze us - when they're relevant. : )

If literature has to be modified to suit the age of the reader, etc., I can see that there's an argument to be made for that. My point is that I think when you do that, you really need to emphasize - big bold letters on the cover and inside the book and oral commentary by the teacher - that the work has been altered.
(As you say, tell the little buggers that the original had naughty words in it, and they'll rush out to find that original.)


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