I am an advocate of First Amendment Rights and strongly disagree with banning or censoring of any book. I have read many of those “banned books” in high school literature classes, such as Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, and many more from the list published by the American Library Association. I am a normal, law abiding citizen, mother and wife.  Stephen King did not corrupt me.  Reading To Kill A Mockingbird did not make me a racist.  Reading Harry Potter books did not sway me from my Christian beliefs. The recent ploy to reissue the Mark Twain classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with the “N” word removed outrages me – it is censorship and clearly violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Many classics use vernacular language – removing it would diminish the realities from the era the book was being written in and/or about.  I do believe parents have a right and an obligation to approve or disapprove of the material their children are required to read by a school.  If the material violates a parents religious beliefs, or offends their better judgement as being age inappropriate, they have the right to challenge the required reading. 

History is sometimes ugly, but if we sanitize it we will never learn its valuable lessons.  Slavery was cruelty at its worst – we as a nation need to remember that.  But if we allow the rewriting of classic books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to become the norm, then sooner or later, even the Holocaust will be watered down as well.  If we remove all traces of what history was really like, then through human nature alone we are bound to repeat the ugliness.  Craig Hotchkiss, the Education Program Manager at the Mark Twain House & Museum, succinctly states in his article : “Once again, the trendy feel good sentiments of modern political correctness have foisted on the public another redaction of great American literature that purges from the original version the ugly truth revealed in the vicious language of racism that Mark Twain had sought to expose during the Jim Crow Era of the late nineteenth century.”

Lawrence Hughes makes a very valid point near the end of his somewhat humorous, yet thought provoking aricle    "Once you start sanitizing it’s hard to know where to stop. Huckleberry Finn is a product of its time 
Hate it, debate it, deplore it, ignore it, but don’t take it upon yourself to change it to suit your own mores and values.”  Can you imagine how many books have probably been written that include the “N” word? Let’s start near the beginning of the alphabet with a word I personally dislike – the“F” word…..and round and round we go.  Personally having just re-read Sense and Sensibility, I found the “N” word in that classic as well.

I am an advocate of parents needing to be parents, and not allowing the schools or their libraries act as parents. I think too many parents are basically lazy. They say they are too busy to meet their obligations.  So why did they have children if they were too busy?  Books, like the Harry Potter series open a child’s imagination, and brings ideas and pictures into his mind – albeit fantasy.  These books should be read out loud by parents to their children in order to open up question and answer dialogue.  Instead, we have become a nation of video gamers and instant gratifiers. We need books desparately for our children so they will be able to think outside the box. If we believe a video game nation is going to take us into the future, then we are lost.

SONG ON VIDEO ABOVE: The Mummer's Dance by Loreena McKinnitt from album Book of Secrets.  If you would like to hear the full song here is a link: