N-Word Removed From ‘Huckleberry Finn’

One of the classic novel’s publishers replaces term with “slave”; meanwhile, trial over TV reporter’s use of “n-word” set

Hard to believe — for anyone not named Dr. Laura — that this is still an issue in 2011.

At least in this case it's a bit more nuanced.

One publisher of Mark Twain's classic "Huckleberry Finn," New South Books, said this week it plans to remove the word “nigger” from new editions of the Mark Twain classic, replacing it with “slave.”

New South also plans to replace the word “Injun,” a derogatory term for Native Americans.

"This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," Twain scholar Alan Gribben told Publishers Weekly. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."

The effort is, instead, to combat U.S. schools and English departments that have been removing the book from their libraries and curriculums because of the word.  “Nigger” appears 219 times in the original “Huck Finn.”

It’s sad that it’s come to this — revising historical literature to appease knee-jerk schools so kids can be exposed to classics — but I can understand why Gribben and New South are succumbing. Sort of.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a judge has set a trial in a case involving a former local news anchor’s use of the “n-word” in the workplace. That anchor, Tom Burlington, who is white, claims he was the victim of a double standard after he was fired by Fox 29 for using the word in a meeting, while his African-American colleagues had used it freely.

Via the Inquirer:

A federal jury will be asked to decide whether it is acceptable for an African American person, but not a white person, to use the "n" word in a workplace.

U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick has ruled that former Fox 29 reporter-anchor Tom Burlington's lawsuit against the station, claiming a double standard and alleging that he was the victim of racial discrimination may go to trial.

Perhaps Burlington needs to re-read "Huck Finn" — the unabridged version.