Freedom of speech | | Brainerd, Minnesota

Freedom of speech


As a Brainerd Dispatch reporter, it’s not for us to state what’s right or what’s wrong with any issue. It’s our job to inform readers about an issue.

People in the community seem to want to know what us reporters or editors think about an issue, but that is something we’re not willing to do, whether we agree with it or not.

A controversial story I wrote that was published Thursday was about what some Brainerd English and American literature teachers and students thought about a new edition released of Mark Twain books that replace the N-word with “slave.” The N-word appears 219 times in “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and four times in “Tom Sawyer.”

A majority of the people interviewed were strongly against replacing the N-word because then the classics would lose their historical context that are significant to the time period.

What do I think? I couldn’t tell you, but what I will say is bringing the issue in front of the public eye, especially to high school students is a positive thing. This issue  provides students with a great debate and enforces the people’s right of freedom of speech. Whether the student is for or against replacing the N-word with “slave” or any other word for that matter — it provides a great discussion and debate.

There are many great classic novels from the 1800s that offer opportunities for discussion for students. I applaud teachers who allow students to state their opinions without being ridiculed or told that they are right or wrong. 

Everyone has an opinion, so let us hear what they have to say.