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Author Topic: The "N" Word  (Read 3506 times)
Yoda
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« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2011, 04:23:03 PM »

Anyone ever drop an Nbomb?

I was at a bar w/ my cousin and his work buddies. They were having some sort of work party and we all got BLASTED drunk. There was one black chick there. I was talking to my cousin and were all wobbling around and slurring our speech. I told my cousin that he was "my GENIAL MEMBER OF ETHNIC GROUPS THAT ORIGINATE IN THE AFRICAN CONTINENT OR CLOSEBY THEREIN" and the chick was offended. I apologized and offered a drink to make up for it but she wasn't having it.
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CastNuri
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2011, 04:36:52 PM »

I think the one or two times I've said the word around my African or Afro-American friends, they've laughed or teased me about it. I don't care much for that kind of vernacular, really.

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Yoda
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« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2011, 04:59:45 PM »

Neither do I really, but normal curse words fly out of my mouth like a rainbow out of a unicorn's asshole.


This chick didn't know me so I don't blame her for being upset. I'm not a racist bigot. I hate everyone equally.
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Azrael
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« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2011, 06:37:51 PM »

Eh...the problem is people today seem (to me) to be incapable of properly measuring the weight of that word (perhaps even words in general).  As far as I'm concerned that word has no reason to be spoken outside of discussions of history, race, or the word itself, BUT it needs to be discussed, and a school is the perfect forum for that discussion to happen.  Discussions on race, and that word, would probably help to eliminate the casual way that word is thrown around by actually giving proper context and scope to it.  And taking that word out of that book, and any book really, is to remove that conversation.  It's clearly an important conversation to the book, and Twain, as well.  Would I be happy if more people read Huck Finn in school, absolutely.  I didn't get to read it in school, and I've struggled to get my younger sister to try and appreciate it, but at the same time the issue of race is so HUGE in the book, that just removing the word seems unbelievably silly to me.  That word is too powerful, and too central to the issue of race that the book tackles.  I can't imagine how just taking that word out benefits ANYONE.  If anything it merely adds on that allure of the word being forbidden, but without actually opening up a conversation as to why.
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Fei
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« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2011, 06:54:21 PM »

That's why I ask if there are people who really have to be taught to not be racist.  Like the one black person in my class, it's like "Hey, you're black, whatever."  Then in class it becomes "You're black, lets reopen some horrible wounds just in case there are people who can read and comprehend, yet still think its ok to call people ni**ers."

Censorship sucks, fight the good fight, whatever, but I don't think Mark Twain turned any hearts at my school.

It's become so twisted that when someone drops the N-bomb, I feel anxiety *for them* because I know they feel terrible, because someone always has to say "yo man, he's half black, watch it" and they become pathetically apologetic.

I for one won't miss it, but if this is truly a censorship issue, carry on.
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« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2011, 07:09:02 PM »

You can say or not say whatever you want, you have that right in the United States at least. Just don't ruin legendary books by great dead authors because you cant handle the context.

Making the word Taboo is what gives it power in the first place.
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« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2011, 08:01:14 PM »

Maybe I should be concerned with my teacher for making us read these books aloud.  It's just awkward.  If you're reading it at home for an assignment, the word is fine, now that I think about it.  Making us read it aloud turns it into some social experiment.
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Azrael
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« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2011, 08:20:17 PM »

That's why I ask if there are people who really have to be taught to not be racist.  Like the one black person in my class, it's like "Hey, you're black, whatever."  Then in class it becomes "You're black, lets reopen some horrible wounds just in case there are people who can read and comprehend, yet still think its ok to call people ni**ers."

Well there are many different ways racism manifests itself, but the most common one, and the easiest to battle, is pure ignorance.  It's not that you're teaching people to not be racist so much as giving them the necessary knowledge to help them understand things better on their own (such as how ridiculous it is to treat someone differently because of their race).  The fact that it is so uncomfortable to talk about these things in the classroom (or anywhere, except seemingly in a joking manner) is a testament to how unbelievably shitty race relations are, and how far we really have to go to get things better.  As well, and I am sure you don't mean it in this way, but the implication of your statement is that that word, and those wounds, are only important to the black kid in your class (and, at least on a personal level, yourself) when it should be important to everyone.

You can say or not say whatever you want, you have that right in the United States at least. Just don't ruin legendary books by great dead authors because you cant handle the context.

Making the word Taboo is what gives it power in the first place.

I'm going to have to agree with what CastNuri said earlier.  Censorship is not all bad, and you best believe that in the US you DO NOT have the right to say whatever you want.  There are many limits placed on it that should seem like common sense limits, but are nonetheless forms of censorship.  

Furthermore, you really can't argue the power that word has been given as being merely taboo.  The history of hate, and oppression tied to that word is far too large and too embedded in our history and culture to merely brush it off and act as if the word can lost its power in that way.  That word has time and again been at the center of controversy from in and out of the black community for that very reason.  It's also for this reason that true free speech will never exist in this world.  Words are simply too powerful.  But a certain type of censorship is going on by removing the N word from Twain's novel and it's the wrong way to go about things.  This is simply brushing things under the rug, but what are we actually doing to clean things up?

Edit:

As to the claim that it's only one edition of the novel that is undergoing this change, I think this doesn't make it any better.  I think the issue here is much bigger than accessibility, and, as I've said before, goes into the issue of race relations and our ability to communicate these issues, especially in places and for people who would benefit the most from such conversations.  The book itself really doesn't bother me I suppose, because at the end of the day Huck Finn isn't being widely read in schools (and guaranteed the word is not the biggest reason) but it's the statement that this action is making.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 08:24:14 PM by Azrael » Logged
Yoda
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« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2011, 09:11:23 PM »

I demand that Kevin Pollak change his last name. I find it offensive.
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Vanguard
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« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2011, 09:13:34 PM »

I like your posts on this subject, Azrael.

For me, one of the issues at stake is that if this kind of censorship (removing objectionable content from books) becomes the norm education will become a completely sanitized experience, or one more than it already is. All pursuits of knowledge should push you out of your comfort zone and make you acutely aware of the kind of world we're living in. This kind of censorship goes the other way and tampers with an artist's work to create PG friendly art. Ultimately, it's a lose-lose situation for everyone except the PTA, since Twain's work is disrespected and the children forced to read this version never got the real thing.
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« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2011, 01:51:19 AM »

That's exactly my point.  It's time for schools to stop coddling students when it comes to subject matter and actually push the limits.

And Twain will probably never be respected in schools outside of Universities.  The only book anyone seems to read is Tom Sawyer since that's safe.  First Twain book I read in school was Pudd'nhead Wilson which was just this past semester in college.  Pretty sad since he's such an amazing writer with incredible insight and really sharp wit.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2011, 10:34:11 AM »

Quote
I remember a high school English teacher saying how Catcher in the Rye was banned in many high schools because it had the F word in it.

This is actually funny because in context, Holden sees the f-word written on the side of a school staircase or something and then erases it, iirc, because it bothers him how it's just out there where kids could see it.

Additionally the best part about Huckleberry Finn is when your teacher doesn't get enough sleep and starts calling it Fuckleberry Hinn that actually happened okay.
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« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2011, 11:26:21 AM »

Quote
I remember a high school English teacher saying how Catcher in the Rye was banned in many high schools because it had the F word in it.

This is actually funny because in context, Holden sees the f-word written on the side of a school staircase or something and then erases it, iirc, because it bothers him how it's just out there where kids could see it.

Additionally the best part about Huckleberry Finn is when your teacher doesn't get enough sleep and starts calling it Fuckleberry Hinn that actually happened okay.

That's the only moment I liked in Catcher in the Rye. Holden, after seeing the word, says something to the effect that when you're enjoying yourself and not paying attention, someone will sneak up on you and write "fuck you" on your upper lip.

I think both of these cases show that the people who make the decisions to ban books are barely literate, as they don't understand context. If the qualification of objectionable content is simply having a slang/swear word present, we might as well ban the fucking dictionary cause it not only list all those words, but it also tells you how to use them.
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« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2011, 10:18:49 AM »

Sorry for the double post, but http://gothamist.com/2011/01/07/hipster_huckleberry_finn_replaces_n.php.

Yes, this is real.
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dyeager
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« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2011, 10:56:08 AM »

Edit:

As to the claim that it's only one edition of the novel that is undergoing this change, I think this doesn't make it any better.  I think the issue here is much bigger than accessibility, and, as I've said before, goes into the issue of race relations and our ability to communicate these issues, especially in places and for people who would benefit the most from such conversations.  The book itself really doesn't bother me I suppose, because at the end of the day Huck Finn isn't being widely read in schools (and guaranteed the word is not the biggest reason) but it's the statement that this action is making.

It is very easy to say that we need to fix the actual root of the problem. The question is how, PRACTICALLY, can you do that?

It's a question we've been trying to answer with mixed success for decades now, and I don't see an obvious, quick fix solution anytime soon.

Meanwhile there is a quick fix for potentially putting THIS BOOK back into some schools.

It's not a binary choice - you can do both things. You can try to keep working to make it so this type of thing is unnecessary while at the same time attempting to address the very real problem of "We won't teach this book because of this word."

EDIT: I'm also seeing a whole lot of appeals to the slippery slope in this thread. :-) One thing I definitely agree with that was mentioned earlier though - Huck Finn isn't exactly a children's story, it's pretty damn complex.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 11:09:55 AM by dyeager » Logged
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