Controversial in death as he was in life, Mark Twain has been seriously accused by some of being a "racist writer," whose writing is offensive to black readers, perpetuates cheap slave-era stereotypes, and deserves no place on today's bookshelves. Huck Finn is a fantastic example of the racist style Mark Twain brings to the table. It is mostly African-Americans that would like a book such as this banned. However, this is ironic for it is equally racist against whites as it is against blacks. The anti-black feelings of this novel are the most obvious forms of racism. Mark Twain uses references to slavery and demeaning words to show Jim s inferiority to white people.
" only a runaway nigger " (278) The other instance that showed the subordinate status of Jim was in depicting him as a fortune teller. "Miss Watson s nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to magic with it." (17) This portrayal is a negative one because it portrays as ignorant. This common form of racism is why black people want this book banned. Next is the less obvious, yet still offensive, forms of racism against whites.
There was of course a form of ignorance in nearly every white character in this novel, though not totally noticeable. The use of racist and vulgar words was constantly heard from the white adults as well as the children in the novel. " was Jim a runaway nigger" (126) Constant racist remarks from white portrayed them negatively because it made them look Although nearly the only racist remarks in the book were whites insulting blacks, Twain had taken on the occupation of becoming the whites racial profiler. " Old Miss Watson died tw months ago, and she was ashamed she ever was going to sell him down the river, and said so; and she set him free in her will. " (290) Tom Sawyer had been playing Jim all along just for the fun of it. Jim could nearly have died, thanks to Tom s immaturity.
It shows the lack of care the whites had for blacks, thus, the whites have lost nearly all of their respect. This was Mark Twain s indirect way of showing the whites inequality to the blacks. In today s age, the ideas of racism have definitely changed. Slavery is no more, and even the use of such language as "nigger," is considered vulgar. But, as children such as Huck and Tom grew up considering slavery the "normal," children today grow up learning the exact opposite. There are still remnants of racism today such as the KKK, but nothing as compared to those during the times of slavery.
I believe Mark Twain was trying to depict not only how life was in those times, but also how bad it could turn. Even though Huck Finn is fictional, it deserves a spot next to the biography of Martin Luther King Jr. , and Malcom X. However, had I lived in the 1800 s, I might not have thought the same..