The _Philadelphia Inquirer_ in January brought us a book review entitled,
"The Argument for Removing Huck Finn from the Bookshelf." On the front page
of today's (March 1) Arts & Entertainment section is a lengthy article by
Stephan Salisbury, _Inquirer_ staff writer, entitled, "Huck Finn as Leader
of a 'Racist' Literary Lot."
The article discusses the Pennsylvania NAACP's move this month in "passing
a resolution that called on school districts throughout the state to drop
_Huckleberry Finn_ from classrom use because the text is littered with the
so-called n-word." The president of Pennsylvania's NAACP is quoted as
saying, "We need to take a look at _Huck Finn_ and the n-word, and say it
is not needed.... Young people are very impressionable."
Salisbury, however, is quick to point out that the response to the NAACP's
call has been "tepid." Salisbury also goes on to discuss _Huck Finn_ in its
historical context, and also points out that "Jim, in fact, is the only
whole human being in _Huckleberry Finn_..."--an insight that is not news to
Twain scholars (and literate others), but would likely come as a surprise
to those who would judge a book they have not even read.
The censorship of literature is also discussed in this article--outcries
over the years against works by both white and African American writers.
The Pennsylvania NAACP president, according to Salisbury, allows that
"secondary school educators should be encouraged to include a diverse
selection of literary works for use in the classroom." We can only hope.
Mary Leah Christmas