If one censors Mark Twain’s use of the word, why not censor the black writers who use the term? Whose characters use the term? My new book, Barack Obama and The Jim Crow Media, The Return of the Nigger Breakers, uses a term in the title that that was employed in slave times to refer to workers whose specialty was breaking unruly slaves. One was Edward Covey to whom Frederick Douglass was sent to be broken. This account appears in Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, an 1881 classic which includes the word ‘nigger’ at least ten times.

Like Douglass and other 19th Century authors, Twain used the words with which he was surrounded and to insist that he omit words is not only to put a gag on his characters but a gag on the Age. Instead of doing a gotcha search on Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, I recommend that its critics read it.