How do you deal with the Racism and antisemitism found in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald?
It is no secret that Fitzgerald was racist. He lived in a racist time. But where does that leave us? Is it right to hold authors who are long dead to our modern sensibilities?
Personally I believe we need to keep the authors original language and
deal with its historical significance and modern offensiveness. I guess I
adhere to a..."we can't change history we can only study why and try and
to do better". As much as I wish people were not racist, I can't change
the ugly truth of our past.
I am curious, as I am not of a racial minority, how do you deal with his racists/anti-Semitic views. Does the fact that he uses offensive language and holds views that are abhorrent to us today mean we should not read his work? And how offensive is his work? I mean, I bristle when I read passages relating to race and stereo-typing, I wish I could take it out, but as it is not personal to me, I am able to move on and focus on other aspects of the story. I am not sure this is the same for everyone.
Racism is a part of our history, and I am sad to say, it is not only in our history, it is still with us today. It would be easy to close our eyes, or pretend that it wasn't there, but that does not move us forward or challenge hateful views.
I would like to think that if Fitzgerald lived past the age of 44 he
would have changed his views just as our country started to change its
own. I look at the time he lived, and the views held at the time and feel sad that he bought into these views. He chronicled his world around him, he wrote about the good and the bad, and we have to take what he wrote. No where is it said that Fitzgerald was a paragon of virtue.
I am curious and would like to open a civil discussion on this matter.