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Posts

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Jokerman wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    So?

    Soooo maybe it's not a good idea to change a great work of american fiction that has a lot to offer us about the time it was written as to not offend someones sensitivities?

    I love how easy it is for all these people in this thread to dismiss feelings of hurt and alienation felt by students across the nation because of this book.

    It just boggles the mind.

    It's not like it's real pain -- it's just "sensitivities." What a bunch of pussies, I guess.

    I mean, hey, it's nothing new really. Plenty of people have been telling black folk to shut up and stop complaining for decades now. I think Sarah Palin wrote something to that effect in her recent book.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    OK, so you feel that doing a find-and-replace for two words in the book, and exchanging them for things that are essentially exact synonyms does a irreparable harm to the artistic merit of the book.

    This is a contested assumption. Slave and N
    are very different words with different connotations.

    I'm treating Agent like an asshole because well.....I think that one's pretty clear.

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  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?
    The book was written a certain way to make a certain point. Maybe you don't like the way the point is made, or don't like the point itself. That's fine. And maybe you don't like violence, so you cut out the stabby-stabby scene in Julius Caesar.

    It's still the same play, right? Just with less violence that is likely to disturb young minds.

    And how, exactly, does the word change in any way impact any message?

    Because the n-word and slave have entirely different meanings and connotations.

    actually at the time they were much more similar. Now the N-word is super politicized and controversial. At the time it was descriptive and matter-of-fact. Someone is rewriting history, and ironically it's the people worried in this thread about the rewriting of history!

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I love how easy it is for all these people in this thread to dismiss feelings of hurt and alienation felt by students across the nation because of this book.

    yeah man I'm sure its a right fucking epidemic.

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  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    I love how easy it is for all these people in this thread to dismiss feelings of hurt and alienation felt by students across the nation because of this book.

    yeah man I'm sure its a right fucking epidemic.

    It's only been argued over with vitriol and controversy for like three decades now

    I bet it's no big deal you're totally right

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Agent you really actually need to prove a couple things here.

    1) The use of the n-word detracts in a significant way from the learning experience for appropriately aged students.

    2) That changing the story to not offend people assuming 1 is true does not have a greater negative impact than positive.

    3) The use of the word "slave" is an appropriate substitution, in that it does not represent an undue change in the story or tone and accomplishes to goal of not offending anyone.

    Speaking of burden of proof...

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?
    The book was written a certain way to make a certain point. Maybe you don't like the way the point is made, or don't like the point itself. That's fine. And maybe you don't like violence, so you cut out the stabby-stabby scene in Julius Caesar.

    It's still the same play, right? Just with less violence that is likely to disturb young minds.

    And how, exactly, does the word change in any way impact any message?

    Because the n-word and slave have entirely different meanings and connotations.

    actually at the time they were much more similar. Now the N-word is super politicized and controversial. At the time it was descriptive and matter-of-fact. Someone is rewriting history, and ironically it's the people worried in this thread about the rewriting of history!

    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then. THere is a teacher there you know. The solution isn't to go back through all of history and take out the words we don't like anymore. Its to teach kids context.

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  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    OK, so you feel that doing a find-and-replace for two words in the book, and exchanging them for things that are essentially exact synonyms does a irreparable harm to the artistic merit of the book.

    This is a contested assumption. Slave and N
    are very different words with different connotations.

    I'm treating Agent like an asshole because well.....I think that one's pretty clear.

    But the N-word has a totally different meaning from what it had back in the time Twain wrote, and even moreso from the time the book was set in.

    So, we are getting a different message, we have a different context. You can't stop that from happening, and you don't seem to be advocating that anyway. I just don't understand why it doesn't matter if it's just the natural evolution of language, but if it's for a reason, if it's on purpose, then suddenly it's debasement? I don't get that.

    The N-word didn't mean then what it means today -- not by a long stretch. So we're not "preserving" any deep political message by preserving the word. If anything, we're obscuring it.

    Which, actually, I don't care much about. I think Derrida had a few things to say about author's intent that I buy. I just think it's sort of a weird and not particularly worthy argument to use to insist that the word must remain in place to preserve the meaning of the book. The meaning of the book has changed! It will change in the future. The meaning of books never has been, isn't, and never will be static.

    Meaning reflects the reader, the time the reader lives in, the country they live in -- everything. Meaning changes. It's not a bad thing.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    OK, so you feel that doing a find-and-replace for two words in the book, and exchanging them for things that are essentially exact synonyms does a irreparable harm to the artistic merit of the book.

    This is a contested assumption. Slave and N
    are very different words with different connotations.

    I'm treating Agent like an asshole because well.....I think that one's pretty clear.

    But the N-word has a totally different meaning from what it had back in the time Twain wrote, and even moreso from the time the book was set in.

    So, we are getting a different message, we have a different context. You can't stop that from happening, and you don't seem to be advocating that anyway. I just don't understand why it doesn't matter if it's just the natural evolution of language, but if it's for a reason, if it's on purpose, then suddenly it's debasement? I don't get that.

    The N-word didn't mean then what it means today -- not by a long stretch. So we're not "preserving" any deep political message by preserving the word. If anything, we're obscuring it.

    Which, actually, I don't care much about. I think Derrida had a few things to say about author's intent that I buy. I just think it's sort of a weird and not particularly worthy argument to use to insist that the word must remain in place to preserve the meaning of the book. The meaning of the book has changed! It will change in the future. The meaning of books never has been, isn't, and never will be static.

    Meaning reflects the reader, the time the reader lives in, the country they live in -- everything. Meaning changes. It's not a bad thing.

    So what you're saying is every few decades we should just go back and rewrite all the classics so they can be easily understood?

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then.

    Doesn't the fact that black people were enslaved already sort of imply that?

    You're saying that Huck needs to use the N-word to establish that using the n-word is socially acceptable. That's precisely the message that some people want to avoid.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then.

    Doesn't the fact that black people were enslaved already sort of imply that?

    You're saying that Huck needs to use the N-word to establish that using the n-word is socially acceptable. That's precisely the message that some people want to avoid.

    Yes because kids are reading Mark Twain they'll start thinking the n-word is ok. >.>

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then.

    Doesn't the fact that black people were enslaved already sort of imply that?

    You're saying that Huck needs to use the N-word to establish that using the n-word is socially acceptable. That's precisely the message that some people want to avoid.

    Yes because kids are reading Mark Twain they'll start thinking the n-word is ok. >.>

    In the South, where this debate is currently occurring?

    They already think that.

    They'll hear about the n-word regardless of whether or not it's in the novel. They'll also know that Mark Twain himself used it. The point isn't to hide the word from kids. The point is to make it clear that this word isn't acceptable anymore.

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    OK, so you feel that doing a find-and-replace for two words in the book, and exchanging them for things that are essentially exact synonyms does a irreparable harm to the artistic merit of the book.

    This is a contested assumption. Slave and N
    are very different words with different connotations.

    I'm treating Agent like an asshole because well.....I think that one's pretty clear.

    But the N-word has a totally different meaning from what it had back in the time Twain wrote, and even moreso from the time the book was set in.

    So, we are getting a different message, we have a different context. You can't stop that from happening, and you don't seem to be advocating that anyway. I just don't understand why it doesn't matter if it's just the natural evolution of language, but if it's for a reason, if it's on purpose, then suddenly it's debasement? I don't get that.

    The N-word didn't mean then what it means today -- not by a long stretch. So we're not "preserving" any deep political message by preserving the word. If anything, we're obscuring it.

    Which, actually, I don't care much about. I think Derrida had a few things to say about author's intent that I buy. I just think it's sort of a weird and not particularly worthy argument to use to insist that the word must remain in place to preserve the meaning of the book. The meaning of the book has changed! It will change in the future. The meaning of books never has been, isn't, and never will be static.

    Meaning reflects the reader, the time the reader lives in, the country they live in -- everything. Meaning changes. It's not a bad thing.

    Don't you understand? Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is Censorship (TM)!!1!

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then.

    Doesn't the fact that black people were enslaved already sort of imply that?

    You're saying that Huck needs to use the N-word to establish that using the n-word is socially acceptable. That's precisely the message that some people want to avoid.

    Yes because kids are reading Mark Twain they'll start thinking the n-word is ok. >.>

    In the South, where this debate is currently occurring?

    They already think that.

    yes clearly removing n
    from Huck Fin is going to do anything to solve white racism in the deep south.

    If anything it will show them where this bile comes from.
    Don't you understand? Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is Censorship (TM)!!1!

    I've alraedy addressed reinterpretations. Don't be an asshole.

    sig.jpg
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Agent you really actually need to prove a couple things here.

    1) The use of the n-word detracts in a significant way from the learning experience for appropriately aged students.

    2) That changing the story to not offend people assuming 1 is true does not have a greater negative impact than positive.

    3) The use of the word "slave" is an appropriate substitution, in that it does not represent an undue change in the story or tone and accomplishes to goal of not offending anyone.

    Speaking of burden of proof...

    He isn't trying to change the book. It's on you, lad

    JKKaAGp.png
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Agent you really actually need to prove a couple things here.

    1) The use of the n-word detracts in a significant way from the learning experience for appropriately aged students.

    2) That changing the story to not offend people assuming 1 is true does not have a greater negative impact than positive.

    3) The use of the word "slave" is an appropriate substitution, in that it does not represent an undue change in the story or tone and accomplishes to goal of not offending anyone.

    Speaking of burden of proof...

    He isn't trying to change the book. It's on you, lad

    Neither am I. I'm just not out to burn the changed edition or ban it from schools.

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then.

    Doesn't the fact that black people were enslaved already sort of imply that?

    You're saying that Huck needs to use the N-word to establish that using the n-word is socially acceptable. That's precisely the message that some people want to avoid.

    Yes because kids are reading Mark Twain they'll start thinking the n-word is ok. >.>

    In the South, where this debate is currently occurring?

    They already think that.

    yes clearly removing n
    from Huck Fin is going to do anything to solve white racism in the deep south.

    If anything it will show them where this bile comes from.
    Don't you understand? Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is Censorship (TM)!!1!

    I've alraedy addressed reinterpretations. Don't be an asshole.

    There's a difference between solving racism and sending a clear message that racism is unacceptable.

    By the same logic, you can't stop kids from bullying each other during the summer, or off school grounds. You can't stop kids from bullying when the teacher isn't looking. But if bullying happens right in front of the teacher, the teacher is obligated to try to stop it.

    Is the teacher going to prevent the bullies from bullying? No. But the teacher still needs to send a message that bullying is not acceptable.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Agent you really actually need to prove a couple things here.

    1) The use of the n-word detracts in a significant way from the learning experience for appropriately aged students.

    2) That changing the story to not offend people assuming 1 is true does not have a greater negative impact than positive.

    3) The use of the word "slave" is an appropriate substitution, in that it does not represent an undue change in the story or tone and accomplishes to goal of not offending anyone.

    Speaking of burden of proof...

    He isn't trying to change the book. It's on you, lad

    Neither am I. I'm just not out to burn the changed edition or ban it from schools.

    Then please meet your burden of proof.

    sig.jpg
  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    So what you're saying is every few decades we should just go back and rewrite all the classics so they can be easily understood?

    No, I'm not sure where you got that.

    But, for instance, Shakespeare has this big connotation now of LITERATURE! when at the time we know this was of course not the case. And teachers explain that to kids and talk about bear-baiting and stuff and give them neat history lessons -- but at the end of the day that doesn't change that kids are reading Shakespeare in the context of a society that has been deeply influenced, literarily and culturally, by his work. That changes the context in which we receive and understand his work -- and that's just one difference among many.

    My point is -- I don't care if meaning changes or not. I said that explicitly in the post you quoted. I don't think preserving some static perfect author's intent is possible or even particularly desirable. Half the fun and beauty of literature is the interpretation of literature. I am not a strict constructionist, you could say.

    So, when it comes to changing a word in a book for a synonym to avoid controversy and help some students feel more OK with reading it -- well that sounds fine to me.

    I think there are a number of valid ways to deal with Huck Finn in the modern classroom -- talking to students, asking them if they feel comfortable with it, giving them alternatives, avoiding it altogether, replacing it with a different Twain book, etc etc -- and this honestly probably isn't even the best! I actually said as much at the beginning of this debate.

    However, I don't think there's anything immoral about it, or anything that should generate outrage. At most, I think this whole thing deserves an eye-roll, and at best it deserves at least an appreciation that the publisher is trying to accommodate the concerns of some students whose concerns are often overlooked.

    I just don't get where the righteous indignation comes from. It's a word in a book. It hurts some people, and everyone else doesn't care much. Removing it doesn't damage the book in a powerful way -- certainly less than the meaning is altered by the passing of time itself.

    So what's the big deal?

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    OK, so you feel that doing a find-and-replace for two words in the book, and exchanging them for things that are essentially exact synonyms does a irreparable harm to the artistic merit of the book.

    This is a contested assumption. Slave and N
    are very different words with different connotations.

    I'm treating Agent like an asshole because well.....I think that one's pretty clear.

    But the N-word has a totally different meaning from what it had back in the time Twain wrote, and even moreso from the time the book was set in.

    So, we are getting a different message, we have a different context. You can't stop that from happening, and you don't seem to be advocating that anyway. I just don't understand why it doesn't matter if it's just the natural evolution of language, but if it's for a reason, if it's on purpose, then suddenly it's debasement? I don't get that.

    The N-word didn't mean then what it means today -- not by a long stretch. So we're not "preserving" any deep political message by preserving the word. If anything, we're obscuring it.

    Which, actually, I don't care much about. I think Derrida had a few things to say about author's intent that I buy. I just think it's sort of a weird and not particularly worthy argument to use to insist that the word must remain in place to preserve the meaning of the book. The meaning of the book has changed! It will change in the future. The meaning of books never has been, isn't, and never will be static.

    Meaning reflects the reader, the time the reader lives in, the country they live in -- everything. Meaning changes. It's not a bad thing.

    Don't you understand? Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is Censorship (TM)!!1!

    The Fagles Iliad is fucking HERESY

    IF YOU DON'T READ IT IN ANCIENT GREEK YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE

    AND IF YOU'RE A TROJAN AND YOU GET A BIT MIFFED THEN YOU'RE A PUSSY WHO SHOULD BE SHOT

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    There's a difference between solving racism and sending a clear message that racism is unacceptable.

    Oh course. But this would do neither. All it does is sweep it under the rug. Any english teacher worth his pay is going to use Huck Fin as a way to show students how bad racism was back then and where its gone from there. There's the disservice in editing it.

    It would be like if they made to Kill a Mocking Bird into a story about a White lawyer defending white people in a land dispute because it would offend and hurt black kids to learn about how people were lynched.

    You don't make racism better by pretending it doesn't happen.

    sig.jpg
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So, when it comes to changing a word in a book for a synonym to avoid controversy and help some students feel more OK with reading it -- well that sounds fine to me.

    Then what is the teacher for. He's there to make sure the kids understand, to teach them.

    Informational hygiene is important when it comes to history.

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  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Agent you really actually need to prove a couple things here.

    1) The use of the n-word detracts in a significant way from the learning experience for appropriately aged students.

    2) That changing the story to not offend people assuming 1 is true does not have a greater negative impact than positive.

    3) The use of the word "slave" is an appropriate substitution, in that it does not represent an undue change in the story or tone and accomplishes to goal of not offending anyone.

    Speaking of burden of proof...

    He isn't trying to change the book. It's on you, lad

    Neither am I. I'm just not out to burn the changed edition or ban it from schools.

    Then please meet your burden of proof.

    By proving the negative?

  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I think it is kind of sad we are assuming that kids will only read the books if the school forces them to.

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You don't make racism better by pretending it doesn't happen.

    So if you removed the n-word from Huck Finn, clearly, there would be no racism in it.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I mean, maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees here, but, if the terms' meanings are interchangeable and the work will have the same impact regardless of which is used, how did we even arrive at this discussion? Why would people want to replace one offensive word in the text with an equally offensive word?

    The n-word is a modern day insult that black people are still exposed to.

    "Slave" is not.
    When the book was published, there had already been a generation of black Americans born (at least nominally) free citizens in the south. More than that in some northern states. There were plenty of black people walking around who had never been held in bondage. The story is as much about their condition as it is about runaway slaves'.

    There are black people experiencing racism in the South right now.

    If some of them like the n-word, then it's really condescending to tell them to tough it out and grow a backbone.

    It was a modern-day slur then, too. In fact, that is the point. That's why it's included. Twain could've used "Slave Jim," or "Black Jim," or "Sambo Jim" or even "Negro Jim" if he wanted. He could've just called him "Jim" without it having any impact at all on the circumstances of a runaway slave on a raft with a white kid. Instead, he attaches a terrible slur to him as though it were a given name. It's supposed to dehumanize Jim.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    'let's all get high, from the income angle'
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then make sure the kids know it was different back then.

    Doesn't the fact that black people were enslaved already sort of imply that?

    You're saying that Huck needs to use the N-word to establish that using the n-word WASsocially acceptable. That's precisely the message that some people want to avoid.

    Part of the purpose behind reading the book is to illuminate history. The entire conflict between "he's a decent guy" and "He's a runaway N----" is half the damn book. the more uncomfortable the reader feels the better, because that entire era of american history is so vile, and we do too good of a job washing over how terrible it was.

    As someone asked earlier:

    When are we going to dub over Roots?

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You don't make racism better by pretending it doesn't happen.

    So if you removed the n-word from Huck Finn, clearly, there would be no racism in it.

    Of course there would be. So we should probably go edit that out too lest they be offended.

    And Agent, everything I asked you to prove is a claim you and Fartacus have made.

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  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    I mean, maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees here, but, if the terms' meanings are interchangeable and the work will have the same impact regardless of which is used, how did we even arrive at this discussion? Why would people want to replace one offensive word in the text with an equally offensive word?

    The n-word is a modern day insult that black people are still exposed to.

    "Slave" is not.
    When the book was published, there had already been a generation of black Americans born (at least nominally) free citizens in the south. More than that in some northern states. There were plenty of black people walking around who had never been held in bondage. The story is as much about their condition as it is about runaway slaves'.

    There are black people experiencing racism in the South right now.

    If some of them like the n-word, then it's really condescending to tell them to tough it out and grow a backbone.

    It was a modern-day slur then, too. In fact, that is the point. That's why it's included. Twain could've used "Slave Jim," or "Black Jim," or "Sambo Jim" or even "Negro Jim" if he wanted. He could've just called him "Jim" without it having any impact at all on the circumstances of a runaway slave on a raft with a white kid. Instead, he attaches a terrible slur to him as though it were a given name. It's supposed to dehumanize Jim.

    And "slave" doesn't? He probably picked the word because that's what's typical of a southerner of Huck's education level, which is also true of "slave."

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I mean, maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees here, but, if the terms' meanings are interchangeable and the work will have the same impact regardless of which is used, how did we even arrive at this discussion? Why would people want to replace one offensive word in the text with an equally offensive word?

    The n-word is a modern day insult that black people are still exposed to.

    "Slave" is not.
    When the book was published, there had already been a generation of black Americans born (at least nominally) free citizens in the south. More than that in some northern states. There were plenty of black people walking around who had never been held in bondage. The story is as much about their condition as it is about runaway slaves'.

    There are black people experiencing racism in the South right now.

    If some of them like the n-word, then it's really condescending to tell them to tough it out and grow a backbone.

    It was a modern-day slur then, too. In fact, that is the point. That's why it's included. Twain could've used "Slave Jim," or "Black Jim," or "Sambo Jim" or even "Negro Jim" if he wanted. He could've just called him "Jim" without it having any impact at all on the circumstances of a runaway slave on a raft with a white kid. Instead, he attaches a terrible slur to him as though it were a given name. It's supposed to dehumanize Jim.

    And "slave" doesn't? He probably picked the word because that's what's typical of a southerner of Huck's education level, which is also true of "slave."

    Then if they're the same word how is using "slave" any better. Your argument essentially requires slave be less harsh than n

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  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    So, when it comes to changing a word in a book for a synonym to avoid controversy and help some students feel more OK with reading it -- well that sounds fine to me.

    Then what is the teacher for. He's there to make sure the kids understand, to teach them.

    Informational hygiene is important when it comes to history.

    Yes but I don't think you're white-washing slavery by not making black kids read and hear the N-word like 200 times in school. I don't think that qualifies as white-washing.

    White-washing is when the Texas state school board explicitly decides to exclude the achievements of Islamic culture and Muslim people from history texts, or when Southern schools teach the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression.

    This is not white-washing -- or if it is, it is by a definition which does not merit the same level of concern, because it is not hiding ugly truths from students for the benefit of the oppressor group.

    White-washing isn't bad for some abstract or arcane reason -- it's bad because it helps privileged groups exert power over oppressed groups, and it helps them justify their privilege by ignoring how that privilege was obtained at others' expense. It's something that was done (and is still done) even in places where people read Huck Finn. A lot of people love the shit out of Twain in the South -- a lot of them who were and are racist as shit, and have revisionist ideas about Southern history.

    You're right that white-washing is bad, but I don't think that this is really white-washing in a meaningful way. What explicitly is being hidden from students with this? That people said the n-word back in the 19th century? That's not exactly a secret. Does it somehow hide or mitigate the nature or existence of slavery in the 19th century? What is being white-washed?

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I mean, maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees here, but, if the terms' meanings are interchangeable and the work will have the same impact regardless of which is used, how did we even arrive at this discussion? Why would people want to replace one offensive word in the text with an equally offensive word?

    The n-word is a modern day insult that black people are still exposed to.

    "Slave" is not.
    When the book was published, there had already been a generation of black Americans born (at least nominally) free citizens in the south. More than that in some northern states. There were plenty of black people walking around who had never been held in bondage. The story is as much about their condition as it is about runaway slaves'.

    There are black people experiencing racism in the South right now.

    If some of them like the n-word, then it's really condescending to tell them to tough it out and grow a backbone.

    It was a modern-day slur then, too. In fact, that is the point. That's why it's included. Twain could've used "Slave Jim," or "Black Jim," or "Sambo Jim" or even "Negro Jim" if he wanted. He could've just called him "Jim" without it having any impact at all on the circumstances of a runaway slave on a raft with a white kid. Instead, he attaches a terrible slur to him as though it were a given name. It's supposed to dehumanize Jim.

    And "slave" doesn't? He probably picked the word because that's what's typical of a southerner of Huck's education level, which is also true of "slave."

    Slave is different. Being a slave is state, in the end of the book Jim is no longer a slave as he is freed. Obviously he doesn't become not a n
    via being set free in a will.

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    You don't make racism better by pretending it doesn't happen.

    So if you removed the n-word from Huck Finn, clearly, there would be no racism in it.

    Of course there would be. So we should probably go edit that out too lest they be offended.

    And Agent, everything I asked you to prove is a claim you and Fartacus have made.

    You gave three claims, two of which were negative, with the remaining claim being made only by Farticus.

  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Then if they're the same word how is using "slave" any better. Your argument essentially requires slave be less harsh than n
    That is kind of the point. They mean the same thing but the connotations are different. At the time it was published, the connotations of the n-word were as being used by uneducated people and not a dislike of black people. Slave fits the original intent of using the n-word better.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Then if they're the same word how is using "slave" any better. Your argument essentially requires slave be less harsh than n
    That is kind of the point. They mean the same thing but the connotations are different. At the time it was published, the connotations of the n-word were as being used by uneducated people and not a dislike of black people. Slave fits the original intent of using the n-word better.

    But this simply isn't true. Slave and n
    were never the same thing.

    Any change in meaning over time is something the teacher is supposed to educate the students on. Thats like half the point to the teacher.

    The solution to ignorance isn't to accommodate it.

    Not to mention their argument is the words are equivelent yet at the same time one is less offensive.

    sig.jpg
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I mean, maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees here, but, if the terms' meanings are interchangeable and the work will have the same impact regardless of which is used, how did we even arrive at this discussion? Why would people want to replace one offensive word in the text with an equally offensive word?

    The n-word is a modern day insult that black people are still exposed to.

    "Slave" is not.
    When the book was published, there had already been a generation of black Americans born (at least nominally) free citizens in the south. More than that in some northern states. There were plenty of black people walking around who had never been held in bondage. The story is as much about their condition as it is about runaway slaves'.

    There are black people experiencing racism in the South right now.

    If some of them like the n-word, then it's really condescending to tell them to tough it out and grow a backbone.

    It was a modern-day slur then, too. In fact, that is the point. That's why it's included. Twain could've used "Slave Jim," or "Black Jim," or "Sambo Jim" or even "Negro Jim" if he wanted. He could've just called him "Jim" without it having any impact at all on the circumstances of a runaway slave on a raft with a white kid. Instead, he attaches a terrible slur to him as though it were a given name. It's supposed to dehumanize Jim.

    And "slave" doesn't? He probably picked the word because that's what's typical of a southerner of Huck's education level, which is also true of "slave."

    Then if they're the same word how is using "slave" any better. Your argument essentially requires slave be less harsh than n

    Actually, it only requires that there be a difference in the modern context.

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    There's a difference between solving racism and sending a clear message that racism is unacceptable.

    Oh course. But this would do neither. All it does is sweep it under the rug. Any english teacher worth his pay is going to use Huck Fin as a way to show students how bad racism was back then and where its gone from there. There's the disservice in editing it.

    It would be like if they made to Kill a Mocking Bird into a story about a White lawyer defending white people in a land dispute because it would offend and hurt black kids to learn about how people were lynched.

    You don't make racism better by pretending it doesn't happen.

    I don't know why some white people think that this is what this debate is about. It's not.

    Black people -- this may surprise you -- are quite aware of racism! Whether or not their kids read Huck Finn in school will have no effect on how aware they are of racism. If you're black and 16 and you live in America, you live with racism, and it's sort of condescending to think that this is a bunch of people trying to run away from reality who have to live it every day.

    Also, unless we're talking about editing out any mention of slavery, or making all the characters black or making them all white or something, then the book still is full of reference to slavery and racism. The N-word is not an essential element in that.

    Again, Twain's goal mainly seems to have been his effort to humanize Jim and demonstrate and inspire empathy for him and, by extension, black people in America generally. It was an effort to build bridges. It wasn't some stupid polemic about LOOK HOW RACIST PEOPLE ARE IN MY TIME THEY SAY THE N-WORD A LOT. Like, what? That doesn't even make sense.

    People are not concerned that the N-word in Huck Finn will make people racist, or that kids will get the wrong impression about racism from the book -- it's much simpler than that. The word is hurtful and unpleasant to a large group of students, and the word has huge political implication that make it controversial and distracting in the classroom.

    It's really that simple!

  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    I think it is kind of sad we are assuming that kids will only read the books if the school forces them to.

    I'm actually kind of surprised that Huck Finn is taught in school, but then I was raised in Canada, where we pretend slavery never existed. I'm... not sure I would have liked the book to have been covered in my school, given that the n-word was my classes's name of choice for me whenever the teacher left the room and I'm not sure how the book would have done anything but shine a big fat light over my head.

    Not that changing the N-word to "slave" would have changed any of that, but at least it wouldn't have introduced the word into the discourse in any sort of official way.

    I'm super conflicted about this.

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    It was a modern-day slur then, too. In fact, that is the point. That's why it's included. Twain could've used "Slave Jim," or "Black Jim," or "Sambo Jim" or even "Negro Jim" if he wanted. He could've just called him "Jim" without it having any impact at all on the circumstances of a runaway slave on a raft with a white kid. Instead, he attaches a terrible slur to him as though it were a given name. It's supposed to dehumanize Jim.

    It wasn't a slur the same way it is now by any stretch of the imagination.

    From Wiki:
    Wikipedia wrote:
    Nineteenth-century English (language) literature features usages of nigger without racist connotation, e.g. the Joseph Conrad novella The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' (1897). Moreover, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain created characters who uttered the word as contemporary usage. Twain, in the autobiographic book Life on the Mississippi (1883), used the term within quotes, indicating reported usage, but used the term "negro" when speaking in his own narrative persona.[8]

    In the United Kingdom and the Anglophone world, nigger denoted the dark-skinned (non-white) African and Asian (i.e., from India or nearby) peoples colonized into the British Empire, and "dark-skinned foreigners" — in general. In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), H. W. Fowler states that applying the word nigger to "others than full or partial negroes" is "felt as an insult by the person described, & betrays in the speaker, if not deliberate insolence, at least a very arrogant inhumanity"; this anti-racist linguistic prescription was deleted from the later editions of Fowler’s Dictionary.

    By the 1900s, nigger had become a pejorative word.

    Note the date of the Conrad novella. 1897. Used in a non-pejorative context.

  • DeebaserDeebaser At the corporate garage sale This is cheap and plentifulRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    You don't make racism better by pretending it doesn't happen.

    So if you removed the n-word from Huck Finn, clearly, there would be no racism in it.

    Of course there would be. So we should probably go edit that out too lest they be offended.

    And Agent, everything I asked you to prove is a claim you and Fartacus have made.

    You gave three claims, two of which were negative, with the remaining claim being made only by Farticus.

    you're joking, right? Please tell me you're joking...
    You don't really think "It's impossible to prove a negative" means it is impossible to prove/disprove a statement that has "not" in it.

This discussion has been closed.