Saturday, May 29, 2010
Prejudice and Bigotry
Members of a Yahoo group for writers I belong to have been discussing the influence of prejudice in our society and how that shows and can be discouraged in children's books. Although we've come a long way since before the Civil Rights movement, prejudice still exists in our society. There's also sometimes a problem with minority people being prejudiced against those in the majority.
The vast majority of humans in most books for kids are white and sometimes the characters are portrayed as animals in order to avoid having them be members of one race or another.
Some people feel that only members of minority groups can write about them accurately, while others think research can solve that problem. And some stories, especially in picture books, are universally true and the illustrations could show children of any race or national background.
I believe the more characters of varied ethnicity children read about and see in illustrations the less likely they are to become prejudiced adults.