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No Justification for the Banning of Huckleberry Finn

 

Columnist James J. Kilpatrick wrote that Huck Finn is "a fun book for white boys to read. For black children, I have come to realize, it is a brutal slap in the face."  He condemns the book because of its use of the word "nigger."  Many school districts have banned this book for the same reason. 

 

   Since the Civil War, racism has been a very delicate issue with the American public.  Whereas some people have tried to transgress this issue, pretending that race no longer plays a significant role in our country, other people still believe that there are serious racial dilemmas in the United States.  I am one these people.  However, unlike some, I do not believe this problem can be solved by avoiding or sugarcoating the issue of race, as James L. Kilpatrick and several schools appear to be doing.  In the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain presents an adventure story filled with deeper meanings and controversial topics, two in particular being slavery and racism.  Despite the usage of the word "nigger" and the stereotypical portrayal of African Americans, I do not think schools have any justification in banning this book from reading lists.

 

            Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn during the Reconstruction period in the south, at a time when most Americans wanted to forget all about the institution of slavery and its consequences.  However, Twain set the time period of this novel prior to the Civil War when slavery was at its peak.  Thus, the racist views he included in the book mirrored the attitudes of most southerners ...


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...acist attitudes prevalent in South at this time.  For all those school administrators who say that the language and ideology of Twain’s writing is offensive, well, maybe Twain wanted to offend people with this novel.  Maybe he wanted to offend them so much that they would come to the realization that individuals should not conform to society’s standards, one of these standards being slavery.  Until someone is offended, status quo doesn’t change.  Maybe it’s about time that we remove the blindfold from our nation’s youth and stop trying to be politically correct.  Maybe it’s about time that kids are exposed to the true horror of racism and prejudice so to detour them from repeating fatal mistakes.  High school students are neither naïve nor stupid; they can handle the contents of this novel, and hopefully, learn from Twain’s messages.


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