Censoring a classic defeats its main purpose

Justin Law

NewSouth publishing group intends to revise Mark Twain’s novel “Huckleberry Finn.”

The book was first published in England in 1884 and since has become a classic which is mandatory to be taught across schools in the United States.

Twain’s intention in writing the novel was to dissect the error and the evils of society that were prevalent to the time, particularly racism.

However, recently there has been a great deal of debate on the use of the word “nigger” in Twain’s novel. NewSouth publishing will soon be reissuing the book replacing the n-word with “slave”.

The n-word conjures up such strong emotions in people now, I think that the effect of the change in Huck’s perception of black people is lost if we simply sugarcoat it.  

People need to be offended when reading the book, which was Twain’s intention to showcase just how hurtful and inaccurate derogatory names are.

I’ve been told it’s common knowledge that the use of “nigga” and “nigger” hold different meanings. The former being a term of endearment, the latter is downright offensive.

If we’re able to comprehend the differences between these two words, why are we not giving students the credit to be able to differentiate the way Mark Twain uses the word to illustrate ignorance in his character?

Students need to become acquainted with the past. The history of the world is offensive and it’s important we don’t turn a blind eye to that.

We need to expose our students to the ugly of the world so that when they grow to become adults they can decide for themselves what is wrong and what is right.

It’s imperative that we don’t make that decision for them; our students today need to be aware of how far we’ve come in society.

Our past is what makes our present so meaningful.

Take the word out of Twain’s novel and we’re simply removing a part of our history. We need to be able to reference our past as a checkpoint in how far we’ve come.  

If we’re going to substitute the use of the n-word because it is offensive, we need to stand by what we say and change all offensive words and images.

If we’re teaching offensive words to students and it’s tainting their perception, then songs such as “SexyBitch” need to become “AttractiveFemale” and all great art which shows images of naked bodies needs to be covered in a loin cloth.

Changing Mark Twain’s literature is just as absurd. Art cannot and should not be censored.

Sometimes it takes people being shocked and offended to realize just how hurtful and corrupt society is.