I just read an article on how one publisher wants to change a couple of words in its printing of’s classic tale “ of Huckleberry Finn”. Said words are being altered because they are deemed offensive and politically incorrect.
While the word “injun” – slang for Indian (Native Americans) is heard only on old westerns, it was used by everyone except the highly educated well into the twentieth century. The term Indian when referring to Native People came from Indao; which was first used by Columbus to describe the foreign people he encountered on one of his voyages.
The other word is what is euphemistically called the N-word. This particular slang is heard on nearly every street corner on a daily basis by the same group of citizens who claim the word itself is of offense, and again was used on a wide spread basis by all but the most educated people. The original word from which the slang was derived – Negro – was first uttered, in relation to people, bywhen he landed in what is today Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Columbus referred to the people as Negro – the Spanish word for black.
With all of the problems plaguing the world today, are we so petty and obsessed with being politically correct as to worry over two words written by a legendary man of literature over 100 years ago?
And if we allow this piece of classic literature to be altered, what’s next? Who is the next classic author or piece of work to be targeted for having undesirable words or phrases included in its pages? Will “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” have to be changed because Cuckoo is offensive?
Year’s ago when “fake butter” first came on the market, there was a television commercial where Mother Nature said, “it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature;” well, it isn’t nice fooling generations of young into thinking the world is perfect with no pieces of literature that use the vernacular of the day either.
Changing the wording in a classic like Huckleberry Finn is akin to censorship and violatingof Speech.