“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

A word about the word "nigger"
Friday, January 7, 2011

In my novel "Man of the House," the daughter of the protagonist comes home to her father and explains that her teacher has banned reading the word "nigger" out loud as they study "To Kill a Mockingbird." Instead, every time the word comes up in text the students must say, only, "N."
Unfortunately, it's a true story. It happened in my daughter's class at Canterbury School in Fort Myers, Florida.

I thought it was ludicrous to tone down and verbally censor one of the most important books of the Civil Rights era, so I had my protagonist father (who is largely based on me, of course) write this email to the teacher:

...By having your students say “N” instead of nigger when they’re reading passages out loud, not only do you rip the balls off the prose but you also are practicing revisionist history. Whites back then said nigger. NIGGER. It’s an awful word, yes, but if we candy-coat the darker sides of history then we will make them seem more palatable and, thus, more acceptable, thus increasing the chance that humanity will make the same mistakes again.

Sincerely,

Linc Menner


I write about this now because of the recent news that the publisher of Huckleberry Finn is, in the newest edition of the American classic, going to take out every occurrence of "nigger" and replace it with the more acceptable "slave."

Art's job in life is not only to elevate us but also to startle us and make us question ourselves and the paths we are taking. The word "nigger" reminds us of a very racist, dark period of our history, and if we start to censor and candy-coat the literature from that era then we will soon forget how very bad and frightening that period of American history truly was.

What if we changed the details of the Holocaust? What if we said that only a "smattering" of Jews had been killed instead of millions? It sure would make us feel better, but future generations, our children's children, would have no idea of the immensity of the atrocities that occurred.

If you don't like the book, people, don't read it. But stop re-writing dead authors' books. I'll tell you what: If you do it to me, I'll come back and haunt your ass in a big way.



5 Comments:

Anonymous Levi Montgomery said...

I congratulate you on your courage, sir!

I find it a little ridiculous that (until this one) ALL (as in every single one) of the blog posts condemning "Professor" Gribben and his revisionism is using "n-word" instead of "nigger."

January 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all about limiting Free Speech. After all, censorship is everywhere. The gov’t (and their big business cronies) censor free speech, shut down dissent and ban the book “America Deceived II”. Free speech for all, especially Mark Twain.
Last link (before Google Books bans it also]:
http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000190526

January 7, 2011 at 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Darla M. McCorkle said...

I don't want "nigger" taken out of my books or even my music --I just don't want it at my breakfast table. You know we just had this issue the other day with a guest at the B&B.

January 8, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Ad Hudler said...

Darla: We're on the same page here.

January 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Susan Cushman said...

Have you read Kathryn Stockett's book, "The Help"? Her dialect is point on. She even distinguishes the different ways the African American women ("the help") speak when they are in their employers' homes and when they are in their own homes. I know Kathryn caught some flack for the way she wrote this, and something like 30 publishers turned the book down initially. But she hung in there, and the rest is, as they say....

January 8, 2011 at 11:22 AM  

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