Thursday, September 29, 2016

Diversity and Misunderstanding

There is a lot of things I just don't understand. They are just beyond me to understand them. Maybe I'm just naive.

Here is a list of things I don't or didn't understand over the years: 

I don't understand why some girls didn't play with me at camp.

I don't understand why my parents never had much money.

I don't understand why most games have male leads.

I don't understand why anyone would dislike a person based on how they look.

I don't understand why many people think that women are strong only if they act like men.

I don't understand why there is such a narrow definition of how a man should act.

I don't understand how you can hate someone that you know nothing about.

I don't understand why it's wrong to be different.

I don't understand why it's wrong for women to act (or dress) like men.

I don't understand why it's wrong for men to act (or dress) like women.

I don't understand what's wrong with being a woman.

I don't understand why kids thought it was a horrible thing to call me a lesbian in school. 

Like I said: There is a lot of things I don't understand. The list is too long and painful to write. With all my misunderstanding in life I feel like I could always use a little more. 

While you are writing your books in October I hope you all will think about all the things that's never said in books. Those are the things that need to be said. Kids need to feel normal and included in things. It hurts being on the outside of everything. 

Now maybe you feel like normal is bad. Maybe you can say that because you've met someone online who is at least a bit like you. It's bad for everyone to be the same, but it's lonely and isolating if there are no other people in the world anything like you. Who wants to live in a world like that? 

My kid's school has this policy where you either invite all the kids to your birthday party or none of them. That way no one feels left out. When making your dummies this October, please remember to invite all (or as many as possible) the kids to your party. 
This illustration was created by David Huyck. It's a wonderfully sad illustration. If I'm having a party, all these kids are invited.

4 comments:

  1. I agree with you. The world needs to get more open minded and I think we're headed this way. I'm happy you mentioned this. I will keep that in mind when drafting my dummy. The way I look at this fabulous picture is asking myself how many books should represent each minority depending on the percentage of this minority in the country.
    I don't know about Canada, but in the US, it is speculated that the white race will not be a majority anymore in 2040.

    Here is the US ethnic groups in 2010:
    Native: 1% (books represented match)
    Latinx: 17% (way under represented!)
    Asian: 5 % (need a little bit more of those)
    Biracial: 3% (?)
    African-American: 13% (we need to double the numbers)
    White: 61% (slightly over represented- in some census, it says about 70% of white)

    Hope that helps :)

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    1. I'm not sure about the statistics in Canada. I'm originally from the US so I grew up where white was in the majority. Even though the info graphic is on race it's important to include LGBQT, disabled, autism, ect in your books

      Right now I live in Surrey, BC. There is a huge Indian and Chinese population here. My son's kindergarten class is a mix. It's not uncommon for us to be the only Caucasians in a restaurant.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the stats, Dani! Here's a bit more background of the work we did to put together the graphic: https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/picture-this-reflecting-diversity-in-childrens-book-publishing/

    And I would emphasize that these numbers are showing who books are *about*, not who they are *by*. The "by" numbers are much lower for everything other than white authors and illustrators. Representation is a good start, but making room for own voices is important too. For example, most stories that include Native Americans are appropriated folk tale stories that don't represent modern-day Native Americans, nor do they always respect the source materials. We can do better.

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  3. Thanks for the link. The article leads to even more articles and we can actually reproduce the pictures around this initiative. I think my blog needs an entry about diversity too :) And of course Own voice.
    It's very inspiring.

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