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Welcome to the continuing Post-Racial-izing of America.


What is a word worth? According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will remove all instances of the “n” word—I’ll give you a hint, it’s notnonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun. The effort is spearheaded by Twain expert Alan Gribben, who says his PC-ified version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather to update it. “Race matters in these books,” Gribben toldPW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”

So in attempt to deal with a story of the tumultuous racial past of our country the best thing to do is censor the word “Nigger” from the book? In order to have the book be more palatable we have to erase the historical context of the usage and the word? Are you kidding?


Twain himself defined a “classic” as “a book which people praise and don’t read.” Rather than see Twain’s most important work succumb to that fate, Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version ofHuckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the “n” word (as well as the “in” word, “Injun”) by replacing it with the word “slave.”

“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.”

Yes, because in the 21st Century we need to clean up some the bad habits we used to have right? We can’t have people reading the word Nigger 219 times in a book! I mean sure, say it on the radio 11 times–but that’s just freedom of speech then. So what if thats how they spoke! So what the book was making a point via its usage? So WHAT? People’s sensibilities are being shocked. We can’t have the sensibilities of people shocked. This word is never used. Never, ever, ever. It’s only used by crazy people, Rappers and Black Comedians. But at what point do we stop? With people currently trying to separate slavery from the South’s succession at some point the word “Slave” will be a bad thing right? Then what will they edit Huckleberry Finn with? Black Guy? But Black seems so harsh you know? It’s like–completely not White–Oooh! We can say Beige Gentleman. Then when we get around to censoring the music of the late 20th century we already know what to use.

Think about it:

Beige Gentlemen With Attitudes.” BG. W. A.

What up, My Beige Gentlemen?

Real Beige Gentlemen Do Real Things.

The word Nigger was used in this country quite liberally at one point. To try to edit work that uses the word in order to appease idiots is ridiculous. The book is a part of American history and on top of that its a piece of ART. Maybe The Mona Lisa’s smile offends people because they don’t know what she’s smiling about. MAYBE SHE’S THINKING ABOUT SEX! Are we going to change it to a frown? If at some point the Tea Party gets really powerful and decides that they don’t like the concept “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” will we just delete that off of the Statue of Liberty? The problem is not, and never will be reading the word Nigger. The problem is the response. Acknowledging your history isn’t not reveling in it. And those who forget–or never even fricken learn–about the past are doomed to repeat it.


Elon James White is the editor-in-chief at This Week in Blackness. You can also follow him on Twitter.


New Huckleberry Finn book removes the N-Word

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