No matter what we all say, diversity is lacking in every area of society. Literature is just another thing that we have to try to diversify. Honestly, before reading these articles I didn’t even think about how non-diverse literature is. These articles were windows (only my young adult lit. class will understand that reference) into a world I didn’t know existed. And I feel somewhat ashamed by that. A world that everyone needs to know about. Diversity is key for a solid and well-oiled world and we can now see why the world is not that right now. I really liked what Myers said about making poor inner-city children human in the eyes of everyone else and themselves. I love that. Finding out that only 93 books out of 3,200 were written about black children is astonishing and shameful. We need to know how diverse our worlds are but also how they are alike.
Why are publishing companies publishing more books with white characters and less black characters? Racism is still part of our world today whether any of us like to admit it or not. It may not be as prevalent as it was 50 years ago but it still lurks around. Do publishers think books with black characters won’t sell as well? If so, that is ridiculous. Children are not born racist and I highly doubt they would care so much as the color of the protagonists skin. I cannot imagine children’s minds work like ours and as long as they have words in front of them, they are paying more attention to the story line than the minor detail of skin color.
The one thing I found troubling is when that little boy asked why none of the books were about them? I guess kids can see it and recognize it when they really pay attention. They need to see reflections of themselves and where they come from and know that they do matter and people do respect them. It hurts to know that some kids feel as if they don’t matter and that people don’t respect them. No child should ever feel that way and publishing companies are doing a good job of accomplishing that disgusting feeling.
I have a question: how do we tell a black student why there aren’t more books about them? How do we tell them in a way that they will understand but not make them feel bad for being who they are? I feel like I would have the most trouble with that.