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Monday, March 21, 2011


hi guys!  i missed you last week!  did you watch 60 minutes last night?  one of the reporters did a piece on the new sanitized version of mark twain's american classic "huck finn".  in this latest edition, the publishing house replaced the word "nigger" with "slave".  there was a big debate about whether changing the word diminishes the learning opportunity.

some students and teachers shared their discomfort with saying the n word aloud in class.  it was a mixed bag of opinions and reactions.  a couple of black boys interviewed said use of the word in class made them uncomfortable.  the white kids didn't seem to mind it, likely b/c they'd never felt dehumanized by the word.  a charismatic university professor gave a thrilling argument that the word should remain in the novel for a long list of viable reasons.  but he also said that the callous use of it by non-blacks is not acceptable b/c they do not share the african slave's heart-wrenching history of abominable subjugation and struggle.

being the reincarnation junkie that i am, i couldn't help but think about my own past life racial experiences.  i've been practicing hypnotic regression with brian weiss' cd "through time into healing".  (i actually have it on my ipod, too, and always get a good chuckle when it pops up in my shuffle.  my kids are like, "mommy, what the heck is this???")  

anyway, the more i practice the better i get at digging stuff up.  sometimes i'm not sure if it's fantasy or real regressions, but regardless of my state of mind, i feel more complete each time i set out for self-discovery.

if my hypnotic regressions are truly that, and not just fantasy, i spent my last life time as a really tall black guy who was murdered by a white gunman in the 1960's.  most likely i entered my current lifetime with some residual emotions from his experiences and now (in a really weird way) i share a small piece of civil rights history, too.  or do i not?  i don't know.  but it's fun to think about.  and it does remind me that we are all connected.  we all share in the same history, but you have to have your eyes wide open to see it.  and i still won't use the n word.   

side note:  i've definitely spent a few lifetimes fighting for basic human liberties, and getting painfully punished for it.  i think this is why compassion and acceptance are such a strong characteristics for me in this lifetime.   and why i wretch when i see any kind of torture scene in a movie.  so far i've seen myself as chinese and english and african-american.  there are more for sure but i'm still exploring and learning.    again, the message is clear - we are all the same.  we are all in this together.
oh, and as far as huck finn goes, i think the word should remain in place.  when people start to rewrite history (in this case literally), the lessons are lost.  we can't candy coat the world and expect our children to effectively evolve.  we learn from mistakes. our kids will, too.  lucky for them, these mistakes are not their own.

what do you think?  one either subject.  have you ever regressed?  do you think huck finn should be cleaned up?  dare to share.  anonymous or otherwise. 



  1. Vanessa, I think it's Absurd to change the language. I had heard about this. I just read the book for the first time a few months ago. It's an historic piece of American fiction by one our most iconic authors and the word was used deliberately to honestly reflect the reality of that time and place. It actually presents a fantastic opportunity for discussion about why it's not acceptable in civil conversation now, what it indicates about the people who do use it, and how the black community has co-opted it for their own as a way to negate it's power.

  2. thank you for sharing, gretchen! xov