Racist Language In Literature

702 Words3 Pages
Racist language within literature is largely controversial, but there are benefits and drawbacks of using such language within literature. Using racially charged language depicts the historical time and mindset of people living within a certain time period. Furthermore, it allows readers a chance to learn about their own culture from the use of racially insensitive language. Though there are benefits to using such language, there are consequently some drawbacks to allowing the use of such language. One of the primary drawbacks of allowing the use of racially insensitive language within literature is that it normalizes the use of such language within the current culture. The Things They Carried often uses racially insensitive language throughout the story. This language often comes from the American military and is directed against the Vietnamese. “The guy was a little crazy, for sure, but crazy in a good way, a real daredevil, because he liked the challenge of it, he liked testing himself, just man against gook” (O’Brien 44). While this racial slur is extremely offensive and problematic, it is acceptable to use in the context that this literature is based in because it is striving to accurately depict a historical time period and the mindset of people living during that time. Furthermore, the use of this type of language within literature exposes the stains and issues within one’s own culture; especially those of European descent or who classify themselves as Caucasian.
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