September 24, am. As an African American woman I have to agree with Debbie. Another childrens book not mentioned is Rudyard Kipling. I also read the original Doctor Doolittle and read all of Mark Twains works. Mark Twain should most certainly be taught in high schools. As I read the books to my sons, I explained the culture of the era the books were written. Bowdlerizing the texts allow people to deny what went on in the past. I have to argue this now, remember, Cold Mountain was a movie about the Civil War, which did not mention slaves or slavery at all!
I am waiting for the day when history will be so bowdlerized that books will deny Native American genocide or African slavery the same way the Holocaust is denied. My sons, like me, are college graduates, and they need to know an accurate history of our literature as well as our country. On the contrary, often it was historical books movies, tv shows, etc. Look at Westerns. A whole genre of films with good white-hat white cowboys fighting bad black-hat white cowboys. And Indians. Or, for that matter, look at the Little House books. I want them to be able to move beyond the scope of a limited perception too often held of them by the world.
I cannot speak for anyone else. However, that said, I gained no great leap of empathy, growth or knowledge from having read Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Babar , etc.. What I did get was an underlying feeling of being disenfranchised, that still persists on some levels today, even in this colorless society.
Truth cannot be diluted to make an intolerance more acceptable. If you write from a racist mindset it stands to reason that the only interpretation that can be gleaned from your work is that you have little regard, empathy, compassion or consideration for someone different than you.
How do you pretty that up? The world is an ugly place. Racism is alive and well.
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My children learned that in grade school and now my grandchildren are having the same experiences as well. I want them to feel they are apart of a bigger picture. September 25, am. I was raised outside of the US. My parents carefully cultivated a Pollyanna view of the world for us where everyone is valued for their accomplishments and race was NEVER mentioned. I was ten before I knew I was black. We always lived in a multicultural neighborhood where we stood out no more than anyone else. My father was polylingual, something I did not see as unusual, and we were expected to pick up language and culture of the areas where we lived.
I did not learn of the Civil Rights movement and the history of slavery was presented as a distant past which did not concern me. I knew nothing of racism, and had no tools to deal with it. My parents believed that if they raised us to just be human, we would be accepted that way…then, when I was in my mid teens, we moved to the USA and I could see how woefully unprepared I was for life in America.
I became very depressed, and had to dig in to do a crash course on American social history. Can you imagine my embarrassment upon going to school in and admit I did not know the names of ANY of the heroes of the Civil Right movement? I made sure my sons had the tools to handle the grit, while they learned to reach for the skies. Ignoring the bad part of the human experience, just means that you set up history to repeat it. I have an extensive Black history library to this day.
My sons, nieces and nephews know to reach for my bookshelf before checking the library for books they might need for their research. September 25, pm.
September 26, am. You know, I think something else to take into consideration is that what children take away from a book is not always the same message that is obvious to any adult reading it. When I was in the 4th grade, a teacher read us the original version of The Story of Doctor Doolittle.
In some cases, we may be worrying about a message that no child is actually picking up. September 27, pm. Think carefully before you […]. September 29, am. Interesting post. Reading of the original version with it being put into context, such as with history lessons, can be an invaluable teaching opportunity.
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These books and scenarios can be used to teach critical thinking skills to students. For example, in Willy Wonka in discussing the oompa-loompas, several comparisons and questions could be posed to help the students understand what is going on. Why or why not? What do you think would happen to them if they did leave? October 1, pm.mackickdiscvil.gq
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There are really no easy answers to any of this. But exposing kids, particularly very young ones who may not have much capacity for critical thinking yet, to racism seems like a very bad idea. D-: I think I improvised pretty well on the fly, but that was how I learned, when dealing with older books, always always always read them myself first, ahead of time!
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I try to make sure my son gets exposed to stories from all over the world, that show characters from a wide variety of cultures, lifestyles, etc. The more positive images of people of colour that he encounters, the less adverse impact the negative ones will have. October 3, pm. Funny you should be talking about this. Glad to see that this post continues to be of interest! Thanks, all, for keeping the discussion going. October 7, am. By coincidence, Sunday Press announced yesterday that the huge Little Nemo comic panels too big for our classroom document presenters to handle will be issued in a digital version that can be put on a big screen using iPad.
October 12, am. January 17, am. July 10, pm. February 18, am. As a white man married to a black woman with mixed race twins reading Dr Dolittle never did me any harm, as a matter of fact it was one of my favourite books as a child and the only effect it had on me was to turn me into a vegetarian which actually has proven to be of long term health benefit! Children simply take the stories as they are, funny and engaging. What grown ups need to do is forget their own silly political correctness leave children to enjoy themselves.
April 7, pm. April 10, am. April 14, am.
How is it that we are offended by the presentation of a historical fact of racism? Does removing the recognition of racism in our history remove the offense? Once, people were segregated by their color. Once, it was believed one human being could own another. Those ideas are not true, and not acceptable today, but ignoring history will not change it in fact.
May 17, pm.
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I have the original Doctor Doolittle and read it to my 5 and 7 year old. As adults we read into these books more than we should. To my kids, monkeys are monkeys and my kids are happy that they become well.
They see the animals as they are and the Dr as someone that is helping. At no time have my kids asked to see where this is all happening on a globe and think it is all pretend. July 28, pm. Why is everyone acting like this is so bad.
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