The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Samuel Clemens is in no way a racist piece of literature. Its author is in no way a racist; he's quite the opposite. Some believe the book needs to be banned from school's required reading lists and libraries. These debates come about due to the description of one of the book's characters Jim, a black run-away slave that befriends Huck through his adventures down the river. Because Jim's character is described as an uneducated "nigger" some people have looked upon this characterization as racist. I say, however, that the books main goal was to alert people of racism, and Clemens was just staying accurate to the time in which the story takes place. .
Jim is depicted as a slave in the south during a period when slavery was a commonly practiced and widely accepted way of life. Slaves in the early 1800's were not provided any formal education, never allowed any independent thought and were constantly mistreated and abused. The author is merely describing how an undereducated slave spoke in those days and is providing an accurate portrayal of society's mindset during this time period. In fact, Clemens" message about blacks during this time was an absolute antithesis of racism. While Jim may be unlearned, he is the only character in the book that truly understands what it means to love. His morals remain unsullied throughout the adventures, and he becomes a father figure for Huck. .
Clemens uses the term "nigger" throughout the book. Yet only through his characters dialect and not of his own accord is Jim ever referred to as a "nigger." He is merely illustrating the ignorance of people in this time. The use of the word "nigger" is most certainly a very slanderous slang term that is not socially acceptable in present times. It is a word that holds nothing of value for any black American. The word's meaning is stated by Funk and Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary as "a Negro or member of any dark-skinned people: a vulgar and offensive term.