SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Sticky topic- using the N-word in historical fiction

Discussion started on

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
I am writing an historical MG novel that takes place in NC in the south in 1950. I want to quote a flyer by the KKK that was distributed that had the N-word in it. What is appropriate to do? 
#1 - March 12, 2021, 08:21 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
I would not, unless you are Black. You can probably find a way to quote a few words that imply the tone of the flyer without using that one. You could also have a character react to a word they read in the flyer without saying what the word is.
#2 - March 12, 2021, 08:55 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
:welcome Carol and yeah, sticky topic indeed. Is there a way to refer to the flyer without using the N-word? Show the hatred of the KKK. Let your characters feel that hatred upon seeing the flyer.
#3 - March 12, 2021, 08:55 AM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Roving Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region socal
I wouldn't. The word is so emotionally charged and heavy with ugly history that it's just better to let it go.
#4 - March 12, 2021, 11:35 AM

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Thank you, Pons. How about "Negro" ?
#5 - March 12, 2021, 11:36 AM

Reader, reader, reader...
Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region rmc
I personally think that historically accurate language is fine (such as 'negro'), but I would definitely avoid words that have truly negative connotations.
#6 - March 12, 2021, 02:31 PM
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 02:33 PM by andracill »
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Thank you, Robin. I appreciate your thoughts.
#7 - March 12, 2021, 03:23 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
This is such a balancing act. You want your characters to be authentic to the time. Negro would work. (The actual N-word would be too hurtful.) Be careful not to force a modern reaction to the words on characters that wouldn't react that way. Be true to the era and the people you are writing.
#8 - March 12, 2021, 06:36 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Thank you, Debbie. It is a balancing act, for sure!!
#9 - March 13, 2021, 03:16 AM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.