Martin Luther King Jr

I feel very fortunate for who I am and where I grew up. I haven’t known hardship. I haven’t had anyone hate me just because my skin was white. I haven’t felt less or been denied a job because I didn’t look like 90% of the work force. I’ve never worried that someone could think me stupid simply because I fall into a particular ethnicity.

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up as an African-American. I won’t even pretend I can truly comprehend what a huge group of people have had to endure because they were different. But Martin Luther King, Jr knew and fought the good fight. Not only do I admire what he did to advance the equality of so many but my heart aches that he layed down his life for what he believed in.

This is so much more than a day off from work/school. It’s a chance for us to celebrate a wonderful man’s legacy and remember all he gave so others could have more.

I’ve really been thinking about this topic a lot these days. It’s been everywhere; on the news, discussed on the talk shows, debated on forums and trended on twitter. And it just seemed appropriate posting it today when we’re celebating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. I’m talking about the concept of printing new copies of classic literature to make it politically correct.

Wai…what?

Now, before anyone takes me to task. No, I’m not African-American. No, no one has belittled me because of the color of my skin. No, I’ve never lived in the south and I’ve never felt the sting of hatred because I didn’t “fit in”. So there are a lot of things about this that I “may” not understand. But here’s where I’m coming from…

History is history. Lord knows, the United States has it’s fair share of nastiness in the dank corners of our closets. Growing and changing is hard. People are afraid of redefining the staus quo and act rashly or lash out, often times treating each other horribly. It isn’t pretty. As a matter of fact, it’s downright mean.

Mark Twain penned a little story Huckleberry Fin. The story takes place between 1835 and 1845 when slavery was a reality in our nation. Many say Twain was actually making a statement about racial segregation and prejudism. Others argue that the black character, Jim, was a Sambo-like character, but that hasn’t inflamed the masses as much as Twain’s use of the “N” word in his story. Some publishers are talking about removing the “N” word in the manuscript and replacing it with “slave”.

I know this would make the story less offensive to many, but in fact, it would also be altering a piece of classic literature. Do we really want to go down that road? Perhaps we want to change “The Diary of Anne Frank” so she actually went to jail instead of suffering the horrors of a concentration camp. Do we want people who write about the 9/11 horrors to make sure they’re politically correct and not mention that Islamic extremists attacked our country?

We can’t change history. It is what it is. I don’t think literature should be altered to reflect the correctness of modern times. Literature is as much a part of the climate its written in as any other historical recording. Changing the wording of stories won’t alter the facts of human history. But that’s just how I see it. I’m curious how you feel about this whole discussion.

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