Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn"... "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"... they're American classics, right? The answer is still yes but they are also getting a modern revision. Publisher NewSouth has announced that in February it will publish a new, revised version of the books by Auburn University English professor Alan Gribben with the n-word excised.
Of course, I’m completely in favor of people not using that disgusting word. But I’m not certain that the best way to combat the problem is by revisiting historical literature and taking out all the words we don’t like. However, let’s say for a moment that we were going to take the n-word out of use: wouldn’t it be far smarter to go after hip hop artists and Klan literature first? After all, these two groups are currently influencing people, especially young people, to use the term in their daily discourse.
There are at least two lessons that the great American experiment has taught us. First, that most speech, especially speech of a political and religious nature, must be unregulated and allowed to flourish.
Second, that the best antidote to “bad” speech is not to shut it up but to counter it with “good” speech that points out its flaws. Our collective outrage -- and energies -- should be directed not at great works like "Huck Finn" but rather at racist whites and self-loathing African-Americans who use the ugly term.
Mark Joseph is a television, movie and music producer and author of "The Lion, The Professor & The Movies: 'Narnia's' Journey To The Big Screen."