Opposing books’ rewriting for the right reasons

The Stammering Dunce
3 min readMay 20, 2023

Also published on Wordpress.

Yes, there is a wrong reason to oppose it.

If you oppose it because you can only be entertained by dehumanising stereotypes and depictions of problematic behaviours, your opposition is definitely for the wrong reason and you need to grow the fuck up.

I do believe there are good reasons to oppose it. Four to be exact.

Obviously, the first reason is free speech. As long as the speeches do not contain explicit incitement, then they shouldn’t be restricted. Banning opinions simply for being offensive can lead to a dangerous slippery slope; it can be used to silence any kinds of dissents, as one can argue they are inherently offensive.

The second reason is related to the first. Another good thing about bigots expressing themselves is they make themselves identifiable; we don’t have to worry about wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The third reason is media literacy. You can use this opportunity to instill imperviousness into the minds of young children. Teach them that they shouldn’t thoughtlessly imitate behaviours simply because their favourite characters do them.

And the fourth reason is…. well…. some people may consider very “woke”: not rewriting books means we still have evidences of bigotry’s existence.

We know those people: the kind who think bigotry no longer exists or never exists in the first place. Nothing can convince them otherwise, not even the Neo-Nazis who openly and proudly expressing themselves on the streets.

Now imagine if all of those books are being re-written. Never mind those aforementioned rose-tinted glasses wearers, even more reasonable people won’t be convinced.

Obviously, we can learn from proper history education. But, not everyone has access to it and you cannot force people to have interest in history. So, for many, the media — including classic novels — is their main and probably only connection with the past.

If the readers are truly open-minded and morally upright, they would consume those books and get scandalised by the fact that bigotry was far more accepted and espoused in the past. If they are cerebral enough, they would realise our present is influenced by the past, acknowledging that we may be surrounded by the “invisible” remnants of its bigotry.

How can we achieve those goals when the re-writing wipes out all of the evidences?

If anything, it actually benefits the “anti-woke” crowd the most. I mean, they hate talking about bigotry and they hate being reminded of its existence. They would be exhilarated by evidence tampering.

Yes, those particular readers do not represent the majority. But, the less we have socially and historically conscious people, the more the”anti-woke brigade” rejoice.

In fact, I have a conspiracy “theory”: the re-writing was never intended to appease to the so-called “woke mob”. It was consciously intended to benefit the “anti-woke” in the long run.

Maybe it is just me. But, its implication on social justice has been obvious from the very beginning. In fact, I would be surprised if I am the only one with this realisation.

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