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Mediaite’s Colby Hall: Censoring Huckleberry Finn A ‘Dangerous Precedent’ For Education

The recent decision to return the controversial classic Huckleberry Finn to classrooms in a censored edition that removes the 219 instances of the n-word has garnered some outcry from both those who considering the editing detrimental to education, and those who prefer the book not be taught at all. Mediaite Managing Editor Colby Hall visited WPIX to discuss what he calls a “dangerous precedent” for troublesome history.

“It’s ok to change the words,” Hall argued, “but don’t call it Huck Finn.” The decision to censor the book was made so as to reintroduce it to the classroom, as well as younger audiences. The problem with the new version, though, Hall argues, is that removing the language from the context and adapting the story to the sensibilities of our current era negate its value as a historical work of literature. “To take that word away whitewashes history,” he explains.

The question remained, however, of its appropriateness to children, and exposing them to the cruelties of an America with slaves (the offending epithet has been replaced, as it were, with the word “slave”). Hall notes that this issue ignores the fact that the book is not meant for young children, and would be taught to older children, and, within the context, the book is “meant to be scary… those words are powerful and they’re meant to have meaning.”

The full discussion via WPIX below:

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