It is true that some things that happened in the past are not acceptable in today’s world. However, are adding a “white supremacist” warning to Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With The Wind” book really necessary?
Margaret Mitchell was born in 1900 and passed away on August 16, 1949, only a few days after she was hit by a speeding car in Atlanta. She had first-hand knowledge of the Civil War, which was the subject of her masterpiece, as her grandfather, Russell Crawford Mitchell, enlisted in the Confederate States Army in 1861 and served in the Texas Brigade.
However, back in those days, many words were used, which are no longer acceptable today. Furthermore, racism was rampant, and Jim Crow laws were in place to enforce racial segregation. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to learn history lessons from art pieces created during those periods.
For instance, in Mark Twain’s 1884 book, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” the N-word was used 214 times. Although this is unacceptable today, there’s an underlying anti-slavery theme throughout the book. Unfortunately, various school districts across the US have since banned the book.
Now, “Gone With The Wind” is under attack, with a “hurtful or harmful” warning label added by British publisher Pan MacMillan to the 1936 best-seller.
“The text of this book remains true to the original in every way and is reflective of the language and period in which it was originally written. We want to alert readers that there may be hurtful or indeed harmful phrases and terminology that were prevalent at the time this novel was written and which are true to the context of the historical setting of this novel,” the publisher writes.
“Pan Macmillan believes changing the text to reflect today’s world would undermine the authenticity of the original, so has chosen to leave the text in its entirety. This does not, however, constitute an endorsement of the characterization, content, or language used.”
It’s already apparent that none of us believe that everything portrayed in “Gone With The Wind” is acceptable now. Therefore, we don’t necessarily need a warning from a British publisher not to endorse the “characterization, content, or language used.”
We are not as naive as to think that it’s acceptable to own people, force them to work for you, or physically mistreat them. We know that segregating black people from white people and stopping them from going to restaurants were unacceptable ways of dealing with racial segregation. We are aware that all these methods were unjust, and injustice always ends up leaving an everlasting impact on our history.
Some warnings are valid and necessary, such as warnings for video games and movies that contain graphic content. Yet, warnings on movies like Roots, just to remind people that owning people was wrong, hardly makes sense. Everyone already knows that such actions are reprehensible, and Roots is merely a portrayal of the unspeakable crimes that took place in America’s past.
Previously, back in 2015, a New York Post writer suggested removing “Gone With The Wind” as it was said to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery.
We must face the reality that we cannot erase America’s history. It is important to understand that certain art pieces from those periods reflect the time in which they were created. We realize that the racist depictions were wrong then and are unacceptable today. However, the wokesters seem to be unable to understand this matter and continue to obsess over trigger warnings and generalizations that the vast majority of us don’t require.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has been a political correspondent for 35 years, 12 of which he has worked as a White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. You can contact him on [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.
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