Two stories on Drudge caught my eye this morning.
The first is about a news anchor whose case is about to go to trial. The topic of the trial: whether it is acceptable to fire a white person for using the N-word, while allowing a black person who uses the same word to remain employed. The case alleges that Philadelphia news anchor Tom Burlington was discriminated against when he was fired for using the N-word during a staff meeting, after black employees who had also used the word were not disciplined.
Now, I’ve heard the discussions on this topic many, many times. The double-standard definitely exists; that much is undeniable. But the idea that one person could be fired for using a certain word while another person can get away with it, solely based on race, completely flies in the face of US anti-discrimination laws, and common sense in general. The fact that he was fired for using the word during a discussion on a news story about the (in)appropriateness and censorship of the word by a Philadelphia group only makes it even stranger – not only are white people barred from using the N-word, while it is seemingly okay for black people, but white people can’t even use the N-word during a discussion about the inappropriateness of the N-word.
There is no question that there is a race-based double-standard surrounding use of the N-word in our culture, but if we’re really going to follow America’s anti-discrimination laws to the letter, then there cannot be a race-based double-standard when it comes to firing people from a job for using the word.
The other story is about the new edition of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. Apparently, the new edition will leave out the N-word, replacing it with the word “slave.” The publisher is also getting rid of the word “injun.”
It’s important to note: this isn’t a textbook they’re altering, it’s a classic piece of literature. I know that Huck Finn has been controversial for a long time, but it is a classic, and it reflects the times both in which it was written, and the era it was written about. One of the things that makes Huck Finn such a great novel is the fact that it offers a pretty true reflection of life in the South on the river at that time.
Both of these stories reflect the absurdity of political correctness. We have reached the point now where our courts are deciding whether racial double-standards can be legally mandated, and publishers are whitewashing classic literature because some word may be considered offensive. I first read Huck Finn when I was in the 4th grade, and the use of the N-word didn’t scar me. If people have a problem with racially insensitive words as written into classic, realistic literature, they should stick with “see spot run” and butt out of real life. If people cannot abide hearing a white person use the N-word in a discussion on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the use of the N-word, they should have their ears surgically removed so they won’t ever have to risk hearing a white person use the N-word ever again. That is how absurd this entire discourse has become.
What happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”