TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Two New Jersey lawmakers have introduced legislation that would take Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” off school curriculums. The resolution argues that the novel should no longer be taught because of its repeated use of racial slurs and attitudes.
The 1884 novel centers around Huck’s adventures in the South, where he meets a runaway slave named Jim. The resolution, which was obtained by Politico, cites the book’s consistent appearance on the American Library Association’s list of banned and controversial books.
Introduced by Democratic Assembly members Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Jamel Holley, the resolution outlines many believed issues with the book:
- The book liberally uses a highly offensive racial slur more than 200 times throughout its pages
- The story’s narrative, and the language used, reflect the prejudices and racial tensions of the Deep South at the time in which the novel was written.
Overall, “the novel’s use of a racial slur and its depiction of racist attitudes can cause students to feel upset, marginalized or humiliated and can create an uncomfortable atmosphere in the classroom,” the resolution argues.
New Jersey would not be alone in removing the book from the curriculum. School districts in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Minnesota and Mississippi have already banned the book.