I added the #weneeddiversebooks feed to my TweetDeck and Tumblr today, and it’s nothing but explosion about why we need diversity in literature. There are so many reasons why we need diverse books, but here was my contribution to the conversation
#WeNeedDiverseBooks to help children learn how to empathize with people who don’t experience the world the same way they do.
— Eli Oldham (@thebooksupplier) May 2, 2014
I live in a small town close to the US/Mexico border. My students don’t know a lot about diversity. As far as diversity you can see, there isn’t much. Most of the people here are of Mexican descent. And because they don’t SEE the diversity of some of the members of our community, they find it perfectly acceptable to use derogatory language that marginalizes these diversities. And they have a very difficult time understanding how the language is hurtful because they’ve never seen anyone hurt by it.
Here’s the even scarier part — sometimes the language they use should be offensive to people of Mexican heritage, and they don’t know they should be insulted. That’s scary. How can they fight for themselves if they don’t realize they’re being oppressed, not only by outside influences, but also by people within their own culture.
The Professor and have been talking about the issues with the Clippers coach the last few days, and the conclusion we came to is that we need to teach multiculturalism in schools. Educators have to go through multiculturalism education (which translates to take one class as an undergrad). The idea that we punish people for their intolerance doesn’t fix the intolerance. It’s a temporary solution to an ages-old problem. The Professor says it drives racism underground. We need to teach children how to be accepting and empathetic and compassionate. And I think young adult literature that shows how diverse peoples navigate the world, and the conversations we can have with young people and young people can have with each other is a step in the right direction.
Other people on needing diverse books
Official Twitter https://twitter.com/diversebooks
Diversity in YA http://www.diversityinya.com/2014/05/weneeddiversebooks-campaign-kicks-off-today/
Book Riot http://bookriot.com/2014/05/02/kids-weigh-weneeddiversebooks-campaign/
Leave other info in the comments… I’d love to see what others have to say about this movement.