Friday, January 7, 2011

Editing history - History was never meant to be sugar and spice

I am a true lover of classic literature and history. I love buying antique books, reading classic literature and we have a lot of historical books. I noticed in high school that many history books were leaving out and even editing American and world history and for many years I have been taking part in the banned book week. I am sure that by this point you are wondering where this blog is coming from. I recently read a news article about editing Huckle Berry Fin, if you are like me you are probably wondering why on earth would we be editing a classic novel that was written almost 130 years ago? The reason is they are taking out the word Niger and Injun.

Personally I am shocked at the fact that they are going after a novel who was written by a man that can not even stand up for his works being as he has been dead for 101 years. I can not even begin to imagine the outcry that would be taking place if the author was still alive since this a clear violation of his write to free speech and completely unnecessary censorship. If they are going to start editing classic books because “Race matters in these books,” Gribben told PW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”, then how about going after the rap artist that use racial slurs in almost every single one of their songs, tell my why it is okay for them to use these words but not okay for it to be in a book even though it was part of the time era that the book was written?

I have read arguments on both sides of this debate, people that are for it are saying that removing the words will make the book less offensive to the African American society. My argument to this statement is that just because you remove the words for a book is not going to erase what happened during that time era. We can not erase our history to stop people from being offended. How do you expect our children to learn and grow from the mistakes of their forefathers if we do not allow them to learn about it.

There are many books out there that are being banned from schools because they are being deemed unfit for children to read because of their content. Yet have you walked into a book store lately, go look at the books that are being written for pre teens and teens. Personally I would rather have my children be reading classic literature and learning about their history then vampire romance novels.

There are so many amazing classic novels out there that contain racial slurs, it was part of the time they were written. If we remove these words from every book out there, it would be like trying to take an eraser to our History and that is something that simply should not and can not be done. Trying to sweep things under the rug is not going to make things any different, it is not going to change the things that happened in the past and it sure is not going to help make our future any better. How are we to better ourselves if we do not learn about and learn from the mistakes made in times before?

History is not pretty, it is full of violence, pain and brutality. The human race has done some really horrible things and they still do a lot of horrible things. We can not remove things from the history of our nations, we can not sugar coat the evil things that have been done in our world. What we can do is learn about it and what we can do to better ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. and I guess I haven't studied the impact the book (and those words specifically) had at the time it was written - I truly believe that people are giving the words too much power by saying they need to be removed.

    From what I remember of the book it was a great story of how two people disregarded race and grew a friendship together - why can't we focus on that part? Instead people get so caught up in the "taboo" words! Were they even meant to be derogatory 130 years ago?! Not from my recollection of the book!

    and ohmygoodness - you are not kidding about the stuff that's marketed for kids and teens these days! BLECH! some of it is SOOO bad!

    Great post :)
    ~ Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas



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