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Kit Barry <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 5 Jan 2011 10:35:38 -0800
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I tuned in late to the discussion of laundering Twain text, so these points may have already 
been brought up.

-  An important point was made that the classroom needs to be a safe place. The skill of 
the teacher is needed to be perceptive to know when and how to bring up sensitive 
subjects. But the subjects need to be brought up. This is part of what educations is. 
Sensitive subjects are a needed as part of teaching critical thinking.

-  Attention should been given to looking beyond the complaints of Twain language, and examine 
the sources of the complaints. I wonder what the list of Twain Language Objectors looks like.
Considering the source is a valid tact to understanding what is going on. The objection to
something can easily come from something far beyond the specific issue brought up.

-  In analyzing the List of Twain Language Objectors, I wonder what the Black / White
ratio is. I wonder what motivations lie behind Black objectors. What motivations lie 
behind White objectors?

- The point previously made about the common use of the word "nigger" within Black culture 
is important. I have always been confused by this. Why the selective sensitivity? Do ethnic 
groups own certain words? Do Blacks own the word in one way, like for punishment of 
Whites? Do Whites own the word in another way, like for guilt?

The problems I see with language laundering involve issues like hypocrisy, enabling, 
historical accuracy, and avoidance of actually taking responsibility for whatever the 
real issues may be. And of course there is the issue of messing with someone's Art.
And that free speech speech thing. And that slippery slope thing - like at what point
does the editing stop?

Kit Barry
The Ephemera Archive for American Studies