The N-word at the time of Huck Finn

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Mar 12 17:20:36 UTC 2009

At 3/12/2009 11:25 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>Given the prevailing attitudes towards black people at the time--even
>scientists--"nigger," "darky," etc. were just the terms that people used.
>There WERE no "racist" epithets, because the modern idea of racism
>had not even
>been invented yet,

Not so, I believe.  "Scientific racism", viewing blacks as inherently
inferior to whites, began in the last quarter of the 18th century,
and was certainly well-developed by the time of (just to pick one)
Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), who (according to Wikipedia) developed his
theories after he came to the U.S. in 1846.  All much before the 1885
writing of _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ -- and not very far
from its circa 1839 setting.


The American Dialect Society -

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