…if I may say so myself. There has been lots of amazing content out there lately and I want to draw everyone’s attention to it.
- The Cooperate Children’s Book Centre has released its Multicultural Children’s Literature statistics for 2014. I was especially interested in the graphic that shows that while there has been an increase in the number of books about characters of colour being published in the past few years, the same is not true of books by people of colour. This is something I’ve been thinking about these last few weeks, especially since the Carnegie longlist for this year was announced (it contains diverse characters but no POC authors).
Conversations about this often end up becoming about how white authors write characters of colours because they care about diversity and don’t want to contribute to an all-white media landscape. I understand where these concerns come from, but more and more I want to make sure this is not the only discussion I pay attention to. I have no solution but to stick to my resolve to read POC, to review and discuss their books, and to embed them in every aspect of my library work. This is something that’s within my control, and it’s where I plan to focus my energies first and foremost.
- On a related note, Malinda Lo’s Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews is invaluable reading.
- ...as is The Show Me Librarian’s Selection is Privilege:
- This Day of Diversity Recap and Reflections (with links to others at the end) was a useful glimpse of ALA Midwinter (via Aarti).
- Rewriting the Future: Using Science Fiction to Re-Envision Justice is also excellent and a good reminder that I need to read more Octavia Butler.
- I always look forward to seeing a new post pop up at The Other Sociologist; their latest, Dehumanisation, Superhumanisation and Racism, was as interesting and useful as always. To tie this with what seems to be the theme of this collection of links, the concept of superhumanisation strikes me as particularly useful for those of us reviewing and discussing diverse books. This also puts me in mind of what Cass was saying recently about idealised representations of queer relationships and how they’re dehumanising:
[W]e must resist both demonization and idealization because neither allow for the full humanity of queer people and our experiences. Whether you refuse to acknowledge that we live in a homophobic world or if you refuse to acknowledge partner abuse within LGBQ relationships, you are still refusing to recognize our human complexity.
- S.L. Huang’s Why I want more unlikeable female characters touches on something close to my heart, as you may know by now. All the stories about ladies, please.
- This list of Graphic Novels That Make Black History Month Come Alive did a lot of damage to my wishlist.
- Lastly, I’m sure a lot of you will have already seen Nature’s Sex Redefined, but it’s fantastic and I couldn’t leave it out:
So if the law requires that a person is male or female, should that sex be assigned by anatomy, hormones, cells or chromosomes, and what should be done if they clash? “My feeling is that since there is not one biological parameter that takes over every other parameter, at the end of the day, gender identity seems to be the most reasonable parameter,” says Vilain. In other words, if you want to know whether someone is male or female, it may be best just to ask.
If you select materials for your readers, you are privileged to get to influence not only what children read, but what they have access to in the first place. And when I read arguments against including diverse titles, or questions about why we have to talk about this topic, it puts into sharp focus for me the fact that we have to recognize our privilege as selectors, and, more than likely, as white selectors for diverse readers. If you find yourself thinking “I don’t need this title because we don’t really have many X readers here,” your privilege is showing. You have probably never had to open more than one or two books in a row in order to find a character who looks/speaks/lives like you do. That is privilege. And whether we intend it to or not, our privilege influences our thinking and our decisions. This is a problem because our decisions affect the capabilities of young readers to find books in which they can find themselves and in which they can meet new people.