20666 Stanton Road
Pierson, MI 49339
December 12, 2005
American Literature Teacher
Tri County High School
21338 Kendaville Road
Howard City, Mi 49319
Dear Mr. Patin:
My name is Brad Walma; I work as a mechanic
for Honda Motor Corp., and I have a student that attends your class. In your
class I realized that you are teaching the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; it offends my family to know that
my son must read the book. This book offends my family and me because it is one
of the most racist books you could teach.
I don’t find this book
fit to be taught to my son because the word nigger is clearly used to frequently to describe a group of people. Using the word in the way that it is stereotypical is very inappropriate for in-school teachings.
I’ve been going through the book
to provide you with some examples of the offending text. In chapter 2, (8) the
word nigger is used in the way that refers to a specific group of people, which is very stereotypical. In chapter 18, (113) Huckleberry Finn says, and I quote “I noticed that my nigger was following…”
now, in this sentence, the word refers to the slave that Huck believes is his own. It
is highly inappropriate to teach this book because of the offending text.
There is yet another piece of evidence
I have found within the text of the book. In chapter 30, (209-210) the royal
Englishmen refer to both Huck and Jim as “niggers” who supposedly stole money from the king and duke. In this offending statement Africans are yet again being stereotyped as thieves.
I realize that it is important to teach
this book because it alone teaches a great moral about friendship. I would really
appreciate it if an alternative book was taught because I believe the moral could be taught without the stereotypical text. The feud of racism has been going on for more than fifty years, and I doubt it will
ever stop; but that doesn’t give us reason to encourage it.
I believe that Mark Twain clearly has too
much freedom with the word nigger in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and as said before I request that an alternative
book be taught to the class. I would go as far as to fine Mr. Mark Twain, and
rid the book from all public schools; but I’ll simply ask you not to teach this specific book. If you find anything in this letter unfit, please don’t hesitate to contact me.