Django controversy swells as Oscars approach

High-level award ceremonies often harbor serious controversy, and this year’s Academy Awards will once not be an exception.

Refreshing the century-long debate incepted by Mark Twain with “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” about the use of the “n-word” in literature, Quentin Tarantino’s fantastically violent “Django: Unchained” has proven to be a heavy source of debate this award season.

Set in the American south before the Civil War, “Django” follows the fairytale-esque adventure of a freed slave searching for his captive wife in a time when the n-word was used to degrade slaves. Tarantino, therefore, liberally uses the word in his script, which has caused many critics to defame the film.

“If somebody is out there actually saying when it comes to [the n-word] the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was being used in the antebellum south in Mississippi, then feel free to make that case,” Tarantino defends himself in an interview at the Golden Globes. “But no one’s actually making that case.  They are saying I should lie, that I should whitewash, that I should massage, and I never do that when it comes to my characters.”

One side feels that the word should be removed from entertainment (even when historically accurate) because it is offensive; the opposing side believes that the word should be used (when historically accurate) exactly because it is offensive. Perhaps seeing how Tarantino’s use of the word affects his Oscar nomination will set a standard for future filmmakers and their decision to either omit or use the term.


Will Beaton is a Freshman majoring in English and Linguistics

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