2 lawmakers want 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' pulled from New Jersey curriculum

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is considered a literary classic, but two African-American lawmakers in New Jersey want a school district to remove it from its curriculum because of its use of racial slurs and racist stereotypes.

The novel has been part of American culture since the late 1880s, but it has often been criticized for its colorful language from a time and era that has long gone.

It's not hard to find multiple versions of the American classic on bookshelves at schools and libraries, but even a quick read finds repeated use of the N-word in the text -- as a matter of fact, it is used well over 200 times in the book featuring Finn and a runaway slave named Jim.

The book has been made into Hollywood movies featuring big stars, but now, there is a push to have it taken out of schools because of the negative stereotypes.

The resolution allows each district to make its own determination about keeping the novel around, but at a time when the same N-word is laced throughout modern music and in current culture, some think it's time to use Huck Finn to talk about its place in American history as African-Americans struggled for human rights.

Jersey City school board president Sudhan Thomas believes this could be used as a teachable moment.

"I'm not sure if at this point, any one book can erase or heal the wounds of 400 years," he said. "But at the same time, I think if we can figure out a way to probably parse that word out of that book and maybe put a disclaimer and say this was the word that was used but in current times that we live in, we don't use that word."

Many districts across the country have already removed Huck Finn from bookshelves over concerns that it is too offensive in modern times.

----------
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.