6 comments on “Get That Nigger Out of There!

  1. HBO is coming after Chris Rock next……..

    I know you’re also well aware that not every black person in America during that time was a slave, so to make that generalization by the publisher is an assumption that is equally racist.

    • I agree that it could be taken as a racist assumption on behalf of the publishers. However, taken strictly in the context of the novel in question it is (begrudgingly) fitting.

  2. A friend of mine wrote and posted this on a website we both contribute to – I think you’ll like it quite a bit: http://booksontheradio.ca/2011/01/04/whitewashing-the-past-doesnt-erase-slavery/

    Again, excellent post, Rai. This idiocy is right up there with an Ontario school board’s decision to ban To Kill a Mockingbird because ONE parent was uncomfortable with their teenage child reading a word they’ve likely heard dozens or hundreds of times in their life from all forms of media. Because apparently it’s much better to be totally fucking ignorant of the past and hope it just goes away, like a bad fart no one wants to own up to.

    Seems that the more “PC” we get, the less mature we are.

    • Thanks for the link, I’ll have to check it out.
      “The Catcher in the Rye” faced similar issues as “To Kill a Mockingbird” when it was first published. The use of the word fuck by the Holden was a point of contention at the time. How true can we be to our (written) character when the character, the subject or the story itself is going to touch on something “uncomfortable”? It’s the quandary of any writer desiring to tell a “real” story.

      Love the fart analogy.

  3. Since about 1950, the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and others have removed the word from productions of “Princess Ida” and “The Mikado”.

    But arguments could be made both ways. Doesn’t retaining the word only serve to perpetuate its use among those too stupid or prejudiced to realize that it is only reflecting the speech and attitudes of the time of writing? I’ve seen some references to Jews in older literature that could well stand to be expunged.

    • In the cases of those operas the removal of the word did not change over all dialect and tone of the story being told.

      “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was intentionally written to be snapshot of the culture of that time. Jim is an integral part of the story and that is how blacks were referred by many back then. In this case, changing how the character was spoken to/about changes the truth of the tone.

      “Doesn’t retaining the word only serve to perpetuate its use among those too stupid or prejudiced to realize that it is only reflecting the speech and attitudes of the time of writing?” True enough point, but I counter it with this: We have been “politically corrected” up the wazoo for the past couple of decades now. Has the cultivating of such a behavior, at least in print, stopped any of those too stupid or prejudiced from being just that? Would going through and removing words that offend from every historical document known to man change that? Having the knowledge of the word is not what makes a person stupid or prejudiced. Knowing a word is hateful and choosing to continue to use in a manner that is hateful is.

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