Mark Twain used the N-word in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Should it be censored?

Perspective Writers' Votes
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Racially insensitive words in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be changed when it's being taught in school.

  • Schools have a duty to protect their students who are still minors from distressing content.

  • Studying texts in the curriculum which repeatedly include racist language nullifies important humanistic achievements in education.

  • The language of Twain is inaccessible to children and should therefore be modified.

  • Without censoring offensive words, students will be more likely to adopt racially insensitive words and/or attitudes.

  • African-American students reading the text could suffer harm or feel intimidated.

  • Teachers feel uncomfortable and overburdened by teaching it unaltered. The quality of education is seriously affected by that.

  • It is important to preserve the artistic integrity of great works of art like Huckleberry Finn. As such, none of its language should be modified.

  • To avoid racially insensitive words means to avoid a discussion about racism.

  • Twain's use of the N-word accurately depicts the culture and national conflict at the time. Changing that language would misrepresent history and the meaning of the text.

  • Descriptors that are deemed insensitive, demeaning, and racist today did not always imply the same meaning from a historical perspective. The N-word derives from the Spanish word "negro", and at one time was simply used as a descriptor, like "white". It wasn't until later that it took on derogatory meanings. Perhaps instead of censorship, education of the historical metamorphosis of words in our language would promote an open mind.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, considered as a piece of literature, does not merit inclusion in canonical American literature, taught in the public schools. Thus, there is no need to produce a censored version of it.

  • Intentionally removing specific words from a text for political reasons is functionally similar to censorship, which is contrary to the values of liberal democracies and should, therefore, be rejected.