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Thread: New Edition of Huckleberry Finn to Have All the Bad Words Removed

  1. #16
    Elite Member chartreuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    this.

    teh stupid, it hurts.
    it really does. jfc. i didn't even know what to say to that comment.

    mark twain has had some pretty choice words to say about censorship, iirc. he most definitely would not want his work changed.
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  2. #17
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    I think there is a difference between mandated reading requirements in public schools and a book you pick up in the library.

    I understand what you are saying as far as respecting the integrity of the book and "reality."

    What I'm saying is that they should change the book in school. Not the book and the words. But choose a different book to study. I didn't mean they should "change the words in the book" but choose another text.

    While it might be "reality" of the past this book if used would be around 9th grade reading level. If I were a black mother I would not want my child to sit through a semester of reading the word "nigger" over and over again. I wouldn't care if it was "reality." It's not necessary. I can understand why some would not understand this perspective if they don't have children.

    I would not recommend censoring the book. I would also agree to examining the book as is in a different venue.

    And I do think Twain would agree. I don't think he wrote his books to be part of institutionalized education. I would imagine he'd find the idea dreadful.

    Sorry if I wasn't clear earlier.

  3. #18
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    teh stupid does hurt!

    Doing this now doesn't make sense at all. I can see if they did it during or after the Civil Rights movement...but now?

    There are plenty of movies and books that have this word in them..what are all the folks with liberal guilt going to do about them? Just stupid! And for the person who said "If I were a black mother I would not want my child to sit through a semester of reading the word "nigger" over and over again." they probably already hear it over and over and over and over and over again if not by the black mother, but maybe by the black father or the black grandmother or the black friend or the black rapper or in a black movie!!

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    uh, did you not get the part about how the 'nigger' in the book is the only good person the character encounters? no? didn't register?
    should we stop reading anne frank and other books about the holocaust because it might offend the jewish kids in class to read that the nazis made them wear yellow stars and called them names and did horrible things? should we stop reading those books in school or maybe changing words around so that when a nazi character calls a jew a name, it's changed to a non-offensive word? of course not. because that would be STUPID.
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    Maybe I wasn't as clear as I thought I was...but I agree that changing the word is stupid. I said I can see if someone wanted to change it back in the day, but now..NO!

    They would also have to change the word in a lot of other books and movies too if we started this..it is what it is!!

    ETA: The statement about the black mother and things was to gristledonna

  6. #21
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    oh no, my post wasn't addressed to you at all!! sorry i wasn't clear, diva! i totally agree with you.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Quote Originally Posted by gristledonna View Post
    I think there is a difference between mandated reading requirements in public schools and a book you pick up in the library.

    I understand what you are saying as far as respecting the integrity of the book and "reality."

    What I'm saying is that they should change the book in school. Not the book and the words. But choose a different book to study. I didn't mean they should "change the words in the book" but choose another text.

    While it might be "reality" of the past this book if used would be around 9th grade reading level. If I were a black mother I would not want my child to sit through a semester of reading the word "nigger" over and over again. I wouldn't care if it was "reality." It's not necessary. I can understand why some would not understand this perspective if they don't have children.
    I think you underestimate children.

    American historian and columnist Nat Hentoff once spoke to a young student after one of the many attempts to suppress Twain's book. The eighth-grader in a Brooklyn public school had been reading Huckleberry Finn in class as part of a study unit in which students learned about the history of racism in towns such as Hannibal, Missouri where Twain had grown up.

    The young man told Hentoff, "Do you think we're so dumb that we don't know the difference between a racist book and an anti-racist book? Sure, the book is full of the word 'Nigger.' That's how those bigots talked back then."
    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; January 5th, 2011 at 09:31 AM.
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    Nat Hentoff - great civil libertarian and jazz aficionado.

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    Elite Member chartreuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    uh, did you not get the part about how the 'nigger' in the book is the only good person the character encounters? no? didn't register?
    this. context matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    I think you underestimate children.

    American historian and columnist Nat Hentoff once spoke to a young student after one of the many attempts to suppress Twain's book. The eighth-grader in a Brooklyn public school had been reading Huckleberry Finn in class as part of a study unit in which students learned about the history of racism in towns such as Hannibal, Missouri where Twain had grown up.

    The young man told Hentoff, "Do you think we're so dumb that we don't know the difference between a racist book and an anti-racist book? Sure, the book is full of the word 'Nigger.' That's how those bigots talked back then."
    i love this. kids are much smarter than they get credit for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    I think you underestimate children.

    American historian and columnist Nat Hentoff once spoke to a young student after one of the many attempts to suppress Twain's book. The eighth-grader in a Brooklyn public school had been reading Huckleberry Finn in class as part of a study unit in which students learned about the history of racism in towns such as Hannibal, Missouri where Twain had grown up.

    The young man told Hentoff, "Do you think we're so dumb that we don't know the difference between a racist book and an anti-racist book? Sure, the book is full of the word 'Nigger.' That's how those bigots talked back then."

    Of course. Don't tell me I underestimate how smart children are. I certainly do not. What I keep saying is that it is unnecessary. I guess I'm not explaining it right. Sorry. Even if kids do know the difference I don't think it is necessary for a kid to sit there and listen to derogatory terms over and over again. The same if we read a book where people called each other faggots. There is a way to investigate these things without the excess. For example To Kill a Mockingbird is a good book to use that has the same idea but not to the excess that is in HF.

    Btw I absolutely love Nat Hentoff. Thanks for reminding me of him. One student might feel that way but as shown in the OP two students opted out of reading the book. They were black students. A 9th grade student is about 14 years old. It would a different story if racism didn't exist in the world today. But it does. You might think I'm underestimating how smart kids are, I'd suggest you are underestimating the racism that still exists in the world. This is not just "the way bigots spoke back then." The student is misinformed. Bigots talk this way now in the real world. So the idea that it's ok to use the word in the classroom excessively is just an examination of the bigotry of ye olden days is actually pretty inauthentic.

    Anyways, I guess we'll agree to disagree. I just wanted to make clear I would never suggest censoring a book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gristledonna View Post
    Of course. Don't tell me I underestimate how smart children are. I certainly do not. What I keep saying is that it is unnecessary. I guess I'm not explaining it right. Sorry. Even if kids do know the difference I don't think it is necessary for a kid to sit there and listen to derogatory terms over and over again. The same if we read a book where people called each other faggots. There is a way to investigate these things without the excess. For example To Kill a Mockingbird is a good book to use that has the same idea but not to the excess that is in HF.

    Btw I absolutely love Nat Hentoff. Thanks for reminding me of him. One student might feel that way but as shown in the OP two students opted out of reading the book. They were black students. A 9th grade student is about 14 years old. It would a different story if racism didn't exist in the world today. But it does. You might think I'm underestimating how smart kids are, I'd suggest you are underestimating the racism that still exists in the world.

    Anyways, I guess we'll agree to disagree. I just wanted to make clear I would never suggest censoring a book.
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    NIGGER. NIGGER. NIGGER. NIGGER. NIGGER. NIGGER!
    That word shouldn't evoke the kind of fear today in 2011 that it did on 1951, 1961, 1971 etc... I'm more afraid of action these days...
    However, I still don't think people should go around using the word all willy nilly!! The damn book is older than methusala.. LET IT GO!

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gristledonna View Post
    Of course. Don't tell me I underestimate how smart children are. I certainly do not. What I keep saying is that it is unnecessary. I guess I'm not explaining it right. Sorry. Even if kids do know the difference I don't think it is necessary for a kid to sit there and listen to derogatory terms over and over again. The same if we read a book where people called each other faggots. There is a way to investigate these things without the excess. For example To Kill a Mockingbird is a good book to use that has the same idea but not to the excess that is in HF.

    Btw I absolutely love Nat Hentoff. Thanks for reminding me of him. One student might feel that way but as shown in the OP two students opted out of reading the book. They were black students. A 9th grade student is about 14 years old. It would a different story if racism didn't exist in the world today. But it does. You might think I'm underestimating how smart kids are, I'd suggest you are underestimating the racism that still exists in the world. This is not just "the way bigots spoke back then." The student is misinformed. Bigots talk this way now in the real world. So the idea that it's ok to use the word in the classroom excessively is just an examination of the bigotry of ye olden days is actually pretty inauthentic.

    Anyways, I guess we'll agree to disagree. I just wanted to make clear I would never suggest censoring a book.
    No, you'd suggest banning it though, wouldn't you?
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    Nope. Just not using it in mandatory required reading. As I said in the very beginning, there's a difference between a mandatory required reading assignment in public school and "picking a book up in the library." There's a big difference between not forcing it as a requirement for a grade, and banning a book.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I suggest we change the name of the Herman Melville classic to Moby Penis.


    These efforts were based, it seemed to me, on a narrow notion of how to handle the offense Mark Twain's use of the term "nigger" would occasion for black students and the corrosive effect it would have on white ones. It struck me as a purist yet elementary kind of censorship designed to appease adults rather than educate children. Amputate the problem, band-aid the solution. A serious comprehensive discussion of the term by an intelligent teacher certainly would have benefited my eighth-grade class and would have spared all of us (a few blacks, many whitesmostly second-generation immigrant children) some grief. Name calling is a plague of childhood and a learned activity ripe for discussion as soon as it surfaces. Embarrassing as it had been to hear the dread word spoken, and therefore sanctioned, in my class, my experience of Jim's epithet had little to do with my initial nervousness the book had caused.

    Toni Morrison- Preface of the 1996 Oxford Edition of Huckleberry Finn

    http://www.dlackey.org/weblog/docs/morrisontwain.pdf
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  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gristledonna View Post
    Nope. Just not using it in mandatory required reading. As I said in the very beginning, there's a difference between a mandatory required reading assignment in public school and "picking a book up in the library." There's a big difference between not forcing it as a requirement for a grade, and banning a book.
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