Filed under A&E, Archive 2010-2011

Censorship changes context of classic novel

This being Black History Month, some take the time to reflect on people and events that have changed American History. Many historical figures have fought, resisted, and spoken so that future generations could have bigger aspirations, more opportunities, and better futures. One main struggle, that is still a struggle to this day, is the fight for equality. Part of being treated as an equal includes being referred to by your name instead of by a racial slur. Despite all the hard work of past generations, teenagers and young adults find it oddly appropriate to refer to each other using racial slurs. It has become popular and a part of the culture to use the N-word, specifically to refer to each other. Society accepts this language; well if we do not accept it we definitely do not stop the horrendous act.
Even worse than letting people say the N-word, we accept its use in our music. Musical artists drop the n-bomb so often today that it has no effect on the younger generation. It is used like a common word and no one second guesses it, or thinks about how the word should be offensive. Instead, if the use is questioned, people bring up freedom of speech or artistic expression, which is a valid point. If the N-word is used creatively and for a purpose then it can indeed be effective and prove a point; authors like Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and countless others used a form of the N-word beautifully in their works.
So then society agrees that if the use of the word is for a productive reason, and/or a form of artistic expression then there is no problem.
Then please, someone please tell me why we are editing Huckleberry Finn!
If society has a problem with the fact that Huckleberry Finn contains the N-word then society should  have  a  problem  with    the   word as a whole; no matter what form of the N-word!”
Children will now be missing out on the true work that the phenomenal Mark Twain skillfully crafted because some people decided to shield them from a word that most people hear in their everyday life anyway.
We should be offended by the fact that our children are not getting the full effect of how life was during the setting of the play and how people were so cruel to others, but instead we are offended because someone who is not one of color is using the N-word.
How dare he have the audacity to use the N-word in his artistic expression to bring light to how ridiculous it is for someone to judge another by the color of their skin and the idea that the color of their skin indicates that that person is lesser than others because of it.
During this month when we reflect on the African Americans who affected American History, perhaps we should also take the time to do some self reflection; we need to look at if we are working to “keep the dream alive” or if our actions are making people forget about the accomplishments of our culture’s past.
I don’t know about my fellow African Americans, but I do not care about others using the N-word; I accept it as forms of artistic expression and therefore I will accept it from my peers because no matter who uses it, the N-word will never define me.
The N-word will never define how far I get in life, or keep me from reaching my amazing accomplishments to come. Oh and when people use “Negro” in hopes that they will bring me down, it will only remind me that I have the same “Negro” blood that ran through a former slave that was strong enough to make it to America from Africa, the same “Negro” blood that ran through my people when they endured from the field house to make it to the white house; the word “Negro” will only remind me that, as Zora Neale Hurston put it best, “I am not tragically colored.” I was only able to come to this realization because I know that those words exist and instead of being shielded, I was instructed to never treat people like they were inferior and encouraged to understand that I, myself, am not inferior to anyone.
Now isn’t that the lesson we want all children, the future of our nation, to learn?

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