Huckleberry Finn Controversy

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain and published in the year of 1885. Today, it is one of America’s classics and best reads. However, it’s also one of the most banned books as well. Why? All because of an “offensive” word that was used 219 times, “nigger”.

The word “nigger” is thought to be offensive and hurtful. I believe that certainly, Mark Twain’s use of it was not meant to offend people, he was just using the vocabulary and language that was used at that period of time. People now-a-days accuse Mark Twain of being racist. If he was really racist, would he really depict Jim the way he depicted him? Jim might have been a runaway slave, but after all, he was not a bad guy in the story.

The “n word” was not such a big deal before, but now it is. Now, authors want to revise the book and replace every single “n word” with “slave”. That’s not a very good replacement, in my opinion, they both have negative connotations. Agreeing with what Steven Colbert said in his video, the word “slave” could also be found offensive. The words can offend people because it connects back to their history, but that is exactly what it is…history, events that happened in the PAST.

When the censorship reaches a whole new level, what other words will they find offensive? Are they going to revise EVERY single book ever written that contains “offensive” words? This goes hand-in-hand with the SOPA laws. They want to censor ALL piracy and activity on the internet that is thought of as “bad”. But people have different opinions, so everything could be thought of as “bad”. Same idea with the Huckleberry Finn controversy, different things could be offensive to people, so you might as well censor EVERYTHING in the book.

According to the dictionary’s definition, the fifth estate is any class or group in society other than the nobility, the clergy, the middle class. In other words, the fifth estate tells people how the situation really is, the truth. Without it, we wouldn’t really know what goes on in real life. Although it can be thought of as controversial in the way various situations are approached, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are evidence of the fifth estate. When people hear a hit song by some rapper who says “nigger”over twenty times in one song, do they get offended? Usually nope, they just sing along. That just proves that it depends on the way the word is used or said plays a big role. An example is Larry Wilmore’s use of the word “nigger”. Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore use the word in a humorous way, that does not automatically mean they are dehumanizing African-Americans. Steven Colbert also uses a humorous approach towards this controversial situation about the “n word”. Colbert and Stewart, both expose the truth about the situation and in a way make the situation “lighter” than what people make it to be.

That being said, I think Jon Stewart and Colbert cover the fifth estate very well. Although a humorous approach is used, they still provide very good points, which I greatly agree with. In my opinion, the original content should be kept as-is. If someone feels uncomfortable reading and talking about the “n word”, they could use the alternative “better” and “revised” version. It is history, you cannot change it. By censoring “nigger”, people are just putting more emphasis on the word. There are billions of people on this planet, everyone will ALWAYS have a different opinion. Therefore, every single person on this planet can not all be pleased. Someone will always find stuff wrong or offensive.

Sources:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW9-qee1m9o

http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Latest-News-Wires/2011/0105/Huck-Finn-Controversy-over-removing-the-N-word-from-Mark-Twain-novel

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-11-2011/mark-twain-controversy

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/369991/january-05-2011/huckleberry-finn-censorship

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57360665-503544/sopa-pipa-what-you-need-to-know/

http://dictionary.com

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