Readers of George Orwell’s 1984 may remember that Big Brother’s society employs bureaucrats charged with deleting from the language words the government deems unsuitable. Kudos to Harvard’s Professor Alan Gribben for bringing us one step closer to the future Orwell envisioned by editing the N-word out of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But as long as we are going to hide the ugly truth about nineteenth-century Americans and their use of that offensive word, let’s not half-step. Let’s sanitize some other inconvenient truths of American history and culture.
We could change the history books to reflect that the Plains Indians grew tired of their migratory lifestyle and petitioned the United States government to establish, and restrict them to, reservations.
Likewise, we could declare that West Coast Americans of Japanese descent demanded to be placed in protective custody during World War II.
And, while we are at it, why not revise the embarrassing history of slavery itself, recasting slaves as disadvantaged day laborers? But that would require New South Books to hold the presses and to send Orwellian “Newspeak” advocate Gribben back to the text with his blue pen. --EFP