Teaching Tolerance put out a nice opinion piece about the ALA awards this week:
But certainly, with all of this said, we still see evidence that many feel the experiences of people of color are somehow more "vulgar" and "less appropriate" for children to consume.
In North Carolina, parents of fourth graders are concerned about their students reading Pam Munoz Ryan's "Esperanza's Rising" and Rita Williams-Garcia's "One Crazy Summer". Both of these books look at the cultural identity of two young girls within the setting of larger cultural revolutions. I have read both, I recommend both to readers often. What is curious to me is the fact that while these two books are creating controversy for families, another book, Lois Lowry's "Number the Stars" about the plight of Danish Jews during World War II is not in question. One could reason that families "value" the history of white struggle, but reject the struggles and triumphs of "other" groups.
Read more here:
In New Jersey, a parent of a high school student challenged Junot Diaz's Pulitzer Prize winning book, "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" because it was too "vulgar". She insisted that pulling the book would not be censorship, but because students would not be able" to get that (art) out of it” it should not be part of the curriculum, stating students would "snicker" at its content.
Read more here:
Both of these examples illustrate the fear we breed in our children of "other". From elementary school to high school, the banning and censoring of the books, voices and experiences further entrenches us and our children into believing only the voices that reflect dominant cultural norms are the voices that matter.