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Don’t protect our students from words

Posted: January 22, 2011 9:44 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2011 4:30 a.m.

Let’s not just change Mark Twain’s words. Let’s be sure all the offensive words are removed from all the books on all the bookshelves.

Truthfully, I’m outraged by the political-correctness police. Literature is a reflection of times, places, cultures and yes, even hatred. History is written by the victors of war, but literature is written by observers of life — and nobody had a keener vision than Mark Twain.

In many ways, literature is the true historian — the more accurate chronicler. To change Twain’s words would be a travesty. If the N-word provokes, then let it.

Are we afraid to tantalize our children’s minds? These children have heard this word countless times in the rap music they listen to. Let our students use their critical thinking skills. Let our children know the truth.

Changing Twain’s words is criminal and selfish. If the motive is to apply salve to our consciences — shame. If the motive is to “protect” young, educated minds — shame, and too late.

Changing the N-word to “slave” would be an affront to blacks as well. We know the Civil War ended slavery, so that sits well with the people who would change the word, but the N-word is a word that is still in use. To replace the word should be offensive to every person who has ever been the target of the bigotry. It would signal that the word isn’t used anymore.

If authors have to change their art to be inoffensive, then they might as well be historians who write their fiction to suit the way they want the facts to be rather than the way events really happened.

May Twain rest in peace. Choose someone else’s literature to deface.


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