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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Jan 2011 20:36:59 +0000
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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And thank you so much for that link, Jerry (also forwarded to me by a friend who saw your post before I did!). It brought up a point about racist terminology that's been sleeping under the more accessible issue of the "n-" word, namely, the equally - indeed more reprehensible and stealthy "N-" word (which I remember using, with some unexpressed discomfort, all during my activist days in the 50s and 60s). Chabon's nine-year-old daughter is right on the money. Don't know what she was thinking, but my take, as a 74-year old, is that "Negro" is even more offensive since it gives social acceptability and pseudoscientific vocabulary to a profoundly racist concept, and was adopted, hook, line and sinker, by the victimized themselves since it seemed to be the only respectable term available. That is, until they discovered that Black is Beautiful and has power. I remember that moment, and it was glorious! RIP Stokely, et al. 

Let's never forget that "race" is a social construction and its meaning is in the mind of the beholder. Terminology is a powerful way to establish a concept, whether there is any validity to it or not. 

Ben Wise 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jerry Bandy" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:42:06 PM 
Subject: Thank you 

In the 14 years since I completed an undergrad course on Twain, I've 
been a steadfast lurker on this list. Only now am I finally compelled to 
post, even if it is only to post a link to yet another response to the 
Huck Finn brouhaha. 

Michael Chabon's response in the Atlantic, 

affected me more directly than most other opinions I've read on the 
subject so far. Like Chabon, I am also a father of two young children 
with a hearty appetite for books. As in Chabon's anecdote, I know that 
some day in the ever-nearing future I'll be faced with a similar 
conflict of how to navigate the n-word and of how to steer my children 
into the correct contextual current. I know when that moment arrives I 
will appreciate, even more than I do now, the voices on this list. 

So in advance, I want to thank you all for your tireless, entertaining, 
and informative devotion to Twain scholarship.