Mark Twain knew what he was doing! Find out more in this must-read article. ~Bette A. Stevens
Excerpt: “Bullying is an epidemic in schools. Analyzing all the harmful aspects of dehumanization by use of slurs of all kinds, and the crushing results such labe[l]ling has on its victim(s), seems a critical topic to explore in the classroom. If you care about the next generation, don’t take the expeditious and therefore cowardly way out by refusing to acknowledge such evils exist, dedicate yourself to teaching our children why something is wrong. Erasing words from a book won’t erase from any heart the poison those words reveal, only education and understanding can do that…”
If you remove uncomfortable words from literature, you remove the heart of the entire reason for their use. Mark Twain was a masterful wordsmith who chose his words carefully, and he didn’t live in a vacuum, he understood the negative charge the N-word carried, even back then. Inclusion of the dehumanizing N-word sharply contrasts the reality of who Jim actually was, a kind, caring, noble human being, of higher character than most of the self-important whites he and Huck encountered. That one despicable word spoke volumes, both about those using it, how they used it and the reason they used it, as well as how Jim reacted to the use of it during different interactions, weighted by the motives and actions of the one using that word.
Despots know, and use the brutal tactic of labelling to conquer and rule, whether thousands of years ago or today, its effectiveness hasn’t…
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