I just remembered about Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle books, which I used to avidly read when I was a child. I loved the way he communicated with animals, the stories the animals told (one would never expect animals to have such a complex life), and the drawings looked really curious for me. But I had never investigated into Hugh Lofting’s life, so I decided to fix that.
Some minutes after, I found that in the name of political correctness, Hugh’s works had been changed in order to remove racism from them in the newer reprints.
For example1, here are two fragments, first one is the original, second one is the fixed version:
The Doctor had no sooner gone below to stow away his note-books than another visitor appeared upon the gang-plank. This was a most extraordinary-looking black man. The only other negroes I had seen had been in circuses, where they wore feathers and bone necklaces and things like that. But this one was dressed in a fashionable frock coat with an enormous bright red cravat. On his head was a straw hat with a gay band; and over this he held a large green umbrella. He was very smart in every respect except his feet. He wore no shoes or socks.
which turns to be this in nowadays standard:
The Doctor had no sooner gone below to stow away his note-books than another visitor appeared upon the gang-plank. This was a black man, very fashionably dressed.
Pretty stupid decision, I would say. I have read lots of books and not all were politically correct; however I don’t attack or depreciate minorities and certain ethnic groups just because I read it in a book. It’s all up to common sense and critical attitude to be able to evaluate what one reads and put it in its right context.
Even more, when I was a child, it was still very odd to see a black man in the streets. Now that’s normal, we are deleting and rewriting history again, very much in 1984 manner. If someone tries to understand why should certain groups of people have positive discrimination nowadays for compensating previous negative discrimination, he/she is not going to be able to find any difference or previous treatment if he/she can only access these insipid denaturalised editions of works of that time.
And there’s also the issue of altering someone else’s work, which I find quite worrying as well (specially if it’s not labeled as a Politically correct without any insult or blasphemy for bland brain heads edition but it’s disguised as a normal edition instead).
But what am I suggesting? People developing critical attitudes? Ability to distinguish between contexts? Common sense!?
1 The original article features way more comparisons and differences, please read it to get a full idea of the dimensions of this nonsense.