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BOOKS: This article is yet another instance of somebody trying to get Huckleberry Finn banned from a school. I guess it's too much to hope that people figure out that when you disagree with a book, that does not mean that you should try to keep everyone else from reading it. How about teaching your kids not to be afraid of words, rather than lashing out at any book containing words you don't like. Yes, certain words are offensive to some people, deal with it. The answer is more education, not less. Do these people think that by banning a book containing words they don't like that those words will go away? All it means is that people won't have the tools needed to deal with those words. Rather than banning Huck Finn because the characters are correct to the setting of the book and use words we find offensive, teachers should be using that as part of the lesson. It's part of history. Mark Twain didn't invent hick characters calling black people calling niggers, it's a part of our history, as shameful as it may be, and it shouldn't be ignored any more than we should stop teaching about the Holocaust because it was a supremely painful event in our history as a race. Ignoring history is the best way to do the things we didn't like the first time over again.

Education is the only way to eradicate racism, the only way. People who find Huck Finn offensive should be the first ones trying to get an effective lesson plan in place to help teachers deal with the offensive parts of the book. This mother should have asked the teacher to let her come into the classroom and talk to the kids about why she found the language offensive and why they shouldn't use those words. She went to the trouble of meeting with everyone in the school district to try and get her will imposed on all the other students in the school. She could have funneled 1/10th that amount of energy into educating her daughter and her class and been a lot more beneficial to everyone involved.

One of my favorite quotes on the dangers of banning things you find offensive is from Lenny Bruce: "If you take away the ablity of people to say 'fuck', you also take away their ability to say 'fuck the government.'" If you don't like the word 'fuck' don't use it. But don't take it away from me.

Link courtesy of another weblog, but I can't remember which one. Sorry to whoever it is. If I find it, I'll post.