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The N-Word

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Lectures in History: Use of the "N-Word" in Literature and Culture. Racism or revision? Getting the 'n-word' out of American lit. SAN ANTONIO --Tammie Campbell won’t say it, and she doesn’t want anyone else using it: the “n-word.”

Racism or revision? Getting the 'n-word' out of American lit.

“I don’t care who you are. When you call me that, it’s degrading and it is demeaning, because of the stigma that the n-word will forever have,” said Campbell, a Houston native who was honored in San Antonio with a brief ceremony for her work to eradicate the “n-word” from usage. The Hawaiian delegation at the National Conference for State Legislatures joined Texas State Representative Alma Allen in presenting Campbell a certificate of recognition for her work to ban the word from the English language.

“We do a disservice to our fore-parents, to ourselves, to our mothers and fathers, to our children to use that word or to accept anyone using it,” Campbell added. Campbell said the newly-revised book, Huckleberry Finn, is a good, first start. “That word is harming my people. But critics say altering classic literature or censoring words erases historical realities. Literature scholars oppose removal of ‘n-word’ in censored ‘Huck Finn’ Though author Mark Twain isn’t alive to voice his opinion on the matter, an updated edition of his 126-year-old book ”The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” will eliminate all instances of the “n word.”

Literature scholars oppose removal of ‘n-word’ in censored ‘Huck Finn’

The new edition’s publisher, NewSouth books, says the change is a “bold move compassionately advocated” by the book’s editor, Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben, who cited decades of cringe-worthy teaching experiences when uttering the racial slurs as the reason the book’s alternation. “The n-word possessed, then as now, demeaning implications more vile than almost any insult that can be applied to other racial groups,” Gribben said. “As a result, with every passing decade this affront appears to gain rather than lose its impact.” Gayle Wald, an author and professor of English and African-American courses at George Washington University, told The Daily Caller that the alterations could do a disservice to readers.

“I’m a Jew and an English professor. Facing the 'N Word' Printer-friendly version Overview: Can racial language in literature be an effective teaching tool?

Facing the 'N Word'

Sometimes teachers can be torn between the desire to teach good literature and the fear of offending students, especially when the literature in question uses derogatory racial terms and the class itself is multiracial. Those teachers who do not share the ethnic backgrounds and experiences of their students may be timid about reading aloud or discussing racially insensitive language in novels. But controversial language in fiction can lead to powerful discussions, deeper understanding of sensitive topics and critical thinking. I am a white, female teacher of five years experience. One book that generated controversy was The Cay (Doubleday, 1969) by Theodore Taylor. My mentioning that The Cay had been banned in some schools made my students eager to read it.

The Cay prompted our most in-depth character studies of the year. Were they learned? "He only said he was ugly because he was black. " Teaching the N-Word - Emily Bernard. Essays - Autumn 2005 Print A black professor, an all-white class, and the thing nobody will say By Emily Bernard Once riding in old Baltimore, Heart-filled, head-filled with glee, I saw a Baltimorean Keep looking straight at me.

Teaching the N-Word - Emily Bernard

Now I was eight and very small, And he was no whit bigger, And so I smiled, but he poked out His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.” I saw the whole of Baltimore From May until December; Of all the things that happened there That’s all that I remember. —Countee Cullen, “Incident” (1925) October 2004 Eric is crazy about queer theory. I like Eric. “‘Queer’ has important connotations for me,” he says. I am suspicious. “What about ‘nigger’?” Over the next 30 minutes or so, Eric and I talk about “nigger.” It is late. S All Things Considered. "Huckleberry Finn" and the N-word debate. From the moment it was published in 1885, Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" caused controversy.

"Huckleberry Finn" and the N-word debate

It challenged authority, poked fun at religion, and was accused of leading children astray. What's surprising is that 125 years later Huckleberry Finn is still making news. Today there are school districts in America that ban this American classic for one reason - one word: "nigger," a word so offensive it's usually called the "N-word. " Now a publishing company in Alabama says that schools don't have to change their reading list because they changed Huckleberry Finn. Their newly released edition removes the N-word and replaces it with "slave. " Is it ever okay to say it? Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is a classic set before the Civil War.

Huckleberry Finn is set along the Mississippi River. "Are you censoring Twain? " "We certainly are accused of censoring Twain," Williams replied. It's aimed at schools that already ban the book, though no one knows how many have.