Digger v Nigger

Tom Cardy at Stuff reports:

One of the big questions hanging over Sir Peter Jackson’s Dambusters film has finally been answered – the dog Nigger will be renamed Digger as it might offend Americans.

The film’s script writer Stephen Fry revealed the change in an interview with the BBC.

In the original 1955 film the name of pilot Guy Gibson’s black Labrador is spoken 12 times as a code word to report successful dam breaches to the RAF’s bomber command, it was reported.

Fry said: “there is no question in America that you could ever have a dog called the N-word. It’s no good saying that it is the Latin word for black or that it didn’t have the meaning that it does now – you just can’t go back, which is unfortunate…Digger seems OK, I reckon”.

They were probably going to be damned, no matter what they decided. Fry makes a good point about how unacceptable that word would be playing to US audiences. However I don’t like rewriting history. Shakespeare has a bit of anti-semitism in The Merchant of Venice, but God forbid if someone ever tries to rewrite it, because it is not acceptable today.

Generally audiences can appreciate that in our past, attitudes and names were very different to today.

What I would have preferred is that they kept the original name, but maybe had a brief message at the begining of the film explaining the use of the name.

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