PDF Never Going Back There (Revised Version) (How Book 3)

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But buy it? One problem with this approach is that it acts as a kind of covert censorship, a blacklist of sorts. That might in some measure appease the person of libertarian leanings who nonetheless does not wish to collude in the replication of harmful ideologies. But will it? Books containing stereotypes whether re-costumed or not invite children to participate in that way of thinking, but children do not have to accept the invitation.

They may resist. As an outlier, it perhaps does not unconsciously shape their perceptions. We can read a book and disagree with the book; encountering a book with racist imagery might be more likely to provoke our censure. Encountering a book in which that imagery has been cleaned up even while leaving other underlying assumptions intact might be less likely to provoke our censure.

In sum, we could make the case that unvarnished prejudice serves as a better teaching tool. One problem of this approach, however, is the disproportional burden it places on members of the stereotyped group. The white child for example who encounters Prince Bumpo or an Oompa-Loompa has the unearned privilege of not seeing people of her or his ethnicity being stereotyped.

The African-American child for example does not have that privilege. Rather, this is to say that prejudice harms different groups in different ways. What, then, is the solution? On the other hand, one could counter that claim by noting that while race may be imaginary, people act on racial distinctions as if they were real: denying the social fact of race is a form of lying. It is our responsibility, as critical and sensitive adults, to nurture the development of this sensibility in our children. It allows them to stand their ground ….

As a negative state, innocence cannot be sustained indefinitely. As they grow up, children will gain experience and knowledge. Some of those experiences will hurt; some of that knowledge will make them sad. If we exclude troubling works from the discussion, then children are more likely to face sadness and pain on their own. It is, I think, better that we give them the tools with which to face prejudice-bearing literature.

In doing so, we can help them learn to cope with a world that can be neither just nor fair. With this knowledge, perhaps we may also give them a source of power. September 19, pm.

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September 20, am. Have now read her blog post , and Mr. I must say that I, too, find it troubling that he found the rape scenes arousing.

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I found them disturbing, and I suspect that given his odd response Mr. Scroggins might benefit from counseling of some sort. I have the original Doctor Dolittle from childhood grandmother was a book collector and have always been troubled by the reworking even though I understand why it was done. Actually, there was a teeny tiny change made to Little House. I posted a letter Ursula Nordstrom wrote to a person who wrote to object about according to the letter a single word in the book. That word was changed but obviously to me the ideology is explicit and implicity on page after page of the series.

The change? Old: There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no people. Only Indians lived there. New: There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no settlers.

Of course Indians are people and I did not intend to imply they were not. Today, I blogged about the ways that ideology drives law.


Frequently Asked Questions

The ideology? I would agree with your solution, which is to read the originals with students while explaining and deconstructing the racist concepts within the work. There is then the question of at what age should children be presented with material and analysis of that sophistication? I cannot answer that either. I can say that I wish I had been introduced to postcolonial literature and discourse before taking classes specifically addressing that subject matter in college.

Maybe if more students were introduced to these concepts via mainstream literature classes as early as elementary, middle, or high school, they would be more willing and open as adults to looking at books, art, and culture with a critical eye for racism, sexism, classism, etc. September 20, pm. Hey, buddy.

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What do you think? Joseph: the final few paragraphs of this post arrive at precisely this position, do they not? They do. But the phrasing earlier bugged me, even as you arrived there at the end with a simpatico conclusion. Love the blog, btw. Got caught up today; thus the several comments in a row. Inspiring stuff! September 21, am. What assumptions are we making about the composition of that classroom? The on-the-ground reality of the children in that classroom, and the teacher, too?

It broke down in several places, I came to learn over the course of a week. Liz is a smart kid. Liz is a senior at an Ivy League school now. We are so far outside the norm for a Native family! Look at employment, SES and the like, and imagine just how much time a family could give to batting down the bullshit their kids deal with on a day to day basis.

Certainly kids are more capable than we think they are, and in that framework, we could say they are capable of taking on this difficult work of unpacking ideology, but in that framework, the teacher feels good for taking on this task and the white children learn something, but what are the unseen weights we add to the child that is already carrying a heavy burden?

I think that your comments are one reason why there cannot be a single broadly-applied policy on things like this. Monica Edinger wrote about it sometime ago.

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  5. I used to think that teaching Huckleberry Finn was a hands-down no brainer. I believe pretty adamantly that Huckleberry Finn should be taught in classrooms. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Thanks, in particular, to Debbie for her thoroughness. In other words, when it seems developmentally appropriate, then you take the critical reading approach, analyzing the texts with the students.

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    But, prior to that point, you suggest different reading material. September 21, pm. From my reading of these books Babar is, if anything, a socialist. Wiping books clean in order not to offend anyone, instead of talking, explaining, examining and teaching, does the kids a huge disservice. You might be interested in this comparison I did of four versions of The Voyages of Dr. I do think it is important that editors acknowledge and identify any changes made from the original, so at least the reader can make an informed decision.

    I have always read pretty voraciously and remember many of my childhood books well. Being of an age that I read most of the books you mentioned in their pre-adjusted versions, and remember thinking about the prejudice that popped up even then. In Mary Poppins there is some kind of derogatory allusion to African Americans. Maybe not much more than pause, but enough of a pause that I still think about it. I agree there is no solution.

    Thanks for your kind words, Jill. The question of how to respond to such works is a vexing one.


    There are no perfect solutions. All responses to this issue cause some harm. I could, however, be quite wrong about that. Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting.