Was the Cat in the Hat Black?

Was the Cat in the Hat Black?

The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books

Book - 2017
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Racism is resilient, duplicitous, and endlessly adaptable, so it is no surprise that America is again in a period of civil rights activism. A significant reason racism endures is because it is structural: it's embedded in culture and in institutions. One of the places that racism hides - andthus perhaps the best place to oppose it - is books for young people.Was the Cat in the Hat Black? presents five serious critiques of the history and current state of children's literature tempestuous relationship with both implicit and explicit forms of racism. The book fearlessly examines topics both vivid-such as The Cat in the Hat's roots in blackface minstrelsy- and more opaque, like how the children's book industry can perpetuate structural racism via whitewashed covers even while making efforts to increase diversity. Rooted in research yet written with a lively, crackling touch, Nel delves into years of literary criticism and recent sociological data inorder to show a better way forward. Though much of what is proposed here could be endlessly argued, the knowledge that what we learn in childhood imparts both subtle and explicit lessons about whose lives matter is not debatable. The text concludes with a short and stark proposal of actionseveryone-reader, author, publisher, scholar, citizen - can take to fight the biases and prejudices that infect children's literature. While Was the Cat in the Hat Black? does not assume it has all the answers to such a deeply systemic problem, its audacity should stimulate discussion andactivism.
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780190635077
019063507X
Branch Call Number: Literature 810.992 Nel

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