Thursday, July 19, 2012

Diversity Analysis for Children's Books

This is just sad.  I was looking for ideas for children's books and came across a list someone had prepared. I'm not going to identify who or where because it's the notion not the person that needs to be highlighted.  After compiling a top 100 list, the compiler wrote:
I’ll definitely do a diversity analysis. I was certainly pleased to see at least a slight increase in author/illustrators of color (Freight Train didn’t make the list last time) but there is huge room for improvement here, particularly when we talk about recent books.
Sadly, we seem to keep moving farther and farther from Martin Luther King's vision of a day when no cares about color.  Children's picture books?!  When people buy or read a picture book to a child with illustrations of bunnies or cats or talking teddy bears, the color or sex of the author or illustrator is irrelevant.  It should be irrelevant.

My kids don't care if the music they listen to is disproportionately made by minorities.  Same for their list of favorite basketball or football players.  They don't have the first clue about the color or sex of those who wrote or illustrated their favorite books.  And I'm glad.  Their neighborhood and school friends come in a variety of colors and backgrounds -- because we work at ignoring differences that don't matter. 

I can't see how focusing on those differences will ever help society get to a place where no one focuses on those differences.

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