The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: Anticipation Guide Response

“Authors should not be allowed to use racist language in their writing.”

Personally, I disagree with this statement, but I do believe that authors shouldn’t be allowed to perpetuate racist values through their writing. Many times, especially in historical fiction, characters will promote racist and/or problematic ideas through language, action, and thought. In most cases, this type of writing is valuable and allows us to look back at history and acknowledge our mistakes in the past; reflecting on societies past errors can help us improve in the future.

In other instances, books written in a certain time period may demonstrate the values of their time of origin. In this case, these books can also be used to educate and inform readers on outdated ideas and the problems they cause for certain groups. Ultimately, the best way to cease these ideas is to educate yourself and others on the history and origin of the ideas and the issues they caused.

However, I find it morally unacceptable to allow authors to enforce racist or otherwise discriminatory ideas in their work. Authors and other influential figures who promote old-fashioned ideas are simply normalizing unacceptable behaviors and perpetuating the ideas they believe in. As a society, we should be doing our best to prevent these ideas from continuing and staying on the “right side of history”.

In summary, I believe that authors and other creators should be allowed to include racist or otherwise offensive language in their writing as long as it’s being used to educate readers on the history of discrimination and how we are working away from it. As stated earlier, the best way to ensure that society is progressing is to educate yourself and others on humanity’s past mistakes and doing the most within your ability to prevent these ideas from reforming. Authors can use their platforms to educate those around them and spread positive ideas and messages— even if it means using racist language to do it.


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