Most of us read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in high school. Mark Twain’s seminal work used satire and poking fun as a way to undermine the institution and the very idea of slavery in the United States. You might be surprised to learn that Huck Finn is frequently “challenged” in public libraries across the country, with demands that it be pulled from the shelves.
Why remove Huck Finn from the shelves? The “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” published in 1884, has some racially insensitive and bigoted language in it that understandably causes pain in many Americans, both black and white.
We don’t think that offensive words should get a book taken off the shelves. That’s why we at The?News are proud to support Banned Books Week, an event annually observed at Murray State and sponsored by the American Library Association.
Censorship comes in many forms, from altering content to setting the books in question ablaze. Its not only books that feel the wrath of the censors, either – video games, movies and music have all felt the sting of the censor’s roving eyes over the course of history, each meeting scrutiny and testing the limits of free speech.
Whether stemming from a desire to protect or to mislead, censorship runs counter the very spirit of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. Our forebearers found these freedoms essential enough to spill their own blood from Bunker Hill to the shores of Iwo Jima, so we find it counter to the very idea of America that there should be anyone with the ability to declare a book “banned.”
The News is part of that great tradition of freedom of speech that has defined our nation from its birth in Philadelphia to the present day debates that define this year’s election. Through thick and thin we strive to bring quality journalism to Murray State and the community and act as a voice for their concerns.
We have done so in absence of any sort of censorship – what you see is exactly what you get. No one tells us what we can and cannot publish, something that has allowed The News to criticize the administration when constructive criticism was warranted.
In that vein, we would like to thank?Murray State for all of the support that it has given The News over the years. We might not always agree on the issues, but we value the support that the university gives us and we’d like to think that Murray State views The News as a vital lifeline between the student body and the administration.
The best way to celebrate freedom of speech is to live it. This Banned Books Week, be a patriot – pick up a banned book and read it from cover to cover.
The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.