Mon, 5 Dec 1994 14:16:21 -0800
To the anonymous commentator on Twain and racism, I would say, yes, you
have some good points--we do tend to go too far with "political correct-
ness" sometimes. You made the point that we should not judge writers from
st by our 20th century standards, and I agree. But I would refer you to
the post from L. Cebola dated Nov. 11 for some insightful comments on
meeting with Native Americans. And one more point: Looking back at Hartford,
Conn. between the civil war and the turn of the century, Mark Twain's home,
you will find that after the abolitionist movement died down, another
movement began to "Save the Indians." Twain's neighbors and friends were
involved in this philanthropic effort (which ended up doing more harm than
good), yet he remained adamantly anti-Indian. Why? Many people in the East
were lobbying for BIA reforms, and had taken on the cause of the Indians
when Westerners were still shooting them like buffalo. Where does Twain
swing here--with Eastern "do-gooders" that he lives with, or with Western
"Heroes" that he might have preferred to identify with? Just some food for
thought--this interests me, and I would like to know what others think.
I still enjoy Twain's work regardless of any Racist labels--I just stay
away from The Noble Red Man, etc. And I still think Niagra is hilarious,
whether it's correct or not.
Bonnie Lee Howard
Sonoma State U.