Mark Twain and Critical Race Theory
Most Americans, many of whom have never read Mark Twain’s fiction, position him at one ideological extreme or another: either he’s a secular saint, the quintessential icon of wholesome, wisecracking, humanistic American values, or he’s an embodiment of white privilege, a white man in a white suit whose pleasure -- reflected in his love of racial caricature and racist vocabulary -- is an inverse measure of someone else’s pain. Both extremes traffic in the sorts of moral absolutes that Mark Twain found as dangerous as they are simplistic and regressive.
Originally published: October 7, 2021
Author: Laura Skandera Trombley
Institution: Southwestern University
Published by: Inside Higher Ed