04-21-2019  3:55 pm      •     
Beatrice Clark
Published: 07 March 2007

Yesterday I picked up a copy of your Black History Edition and was pleased that you were participating in the advancement of Our history (I am an African American woman).
That glow immediately vanished and was replaced with "shock and awe" when I read the Quote of the Week —"I suspect that giving Huck a Black mother is going to shake a lot of people up – it may cause some arguments (among scholars) but that's OK" Mark Twain scholar Kent Rasmussen on "Finn," by Jon Clinch, a new novel centering on Huckelberry Finn's father. All I could say was, "How DARE you!"
I don't know what the racial and ethnic make-up of your staff consists of, but who would use a comment so highly offensive and insensitive to African Americans, that has absolutely nothing to do with theirs or anyone else's history, and call it a Black History Edition? Why? We all know the story of Huck Finn, (fiction), and that it is dredged in Niggerology, meaning it uses the word nigger over 200 times. So what if Jon Clinch wrote a book that made Huck's mama Black? So what if Kent Rasmussen made a quote about a book that made Huck's Mama Black? Is she called nigger-mama? Someone else can write a book and make her Asian, white, Latino — they could make her gay and call her 'faggot mama', and on and on. Then whose history book or news edition would it be printed in?
In 1940, Langston Hughes wrote, "The word nigger to colored people of high and low degree is like a red rag to a bull. Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously, of necessity for the sake of realism, or impishly for the sake of comedy, it doesn't matter.
The word nigger, you see, sums up for us who are colored all the bitter years of insult and struggle in America."
You can't talk Huck Finn without thinking nigger. Why should that message be imposed upon us as our history, and recognized during Black History Month?
Black History commentaries, quotes, references, etc., should be relevant; not a mockery of someone's tainted imagination, and I find your "Quote of the Week" offensive, rank, and totally irrelevant to Black History. There are many sites on the Web that you could have searched to find thousands of great quotes by many great Black authors, but you had to go there!!
Our history, in particular, has been too long muffled, stifled, silenced, twisted, stolen, forbidden, forgotten, misrepresented, falsified, excluded, and the list is endless. We cannot afford to have publications that aid and abet the continuation of these injustices, which trivialize and minimize our history, and remain silent. "Silence is Betrayal," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. You should rethink, rewrite, and republish an article with quotes befitting African Americans, be it Black History Month or any day of the year!!

Beatrice Clark







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