Kindle Forum banner

41 - 49 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,767 Posts
SalomeGolding said:
Who is this "people" to whom you refer? Are you sure that both groups that you describe are identical? I would doubt it.
In this group alone, there is definite overlap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,767 Posts
Jena H said:
Welcome to the WWDS-- the World Wide Double Standard. Some people don't like peaches because they're juicy and messy, but don't have a problem with watermelon, even though the same qualities apply. Other people take offense at horror movies/video games because of (for one thing) the common damsel-in-danger trope, but don't have any problem with superhero movies/games with the token female character in a tight, form-fitting costume. Getting back to the fruit metaphor, it's called cherrypicking.
I'm quite aware of the hypocrisy of it, or I wouldn't have pointed it out. In this very thread are people who, when the negative influence of certain romance and erotica were pointed out, withdrew to the exact opposite point of view regarding books and their influence compared to now. Which is what amuses me.

Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Nobody has removed the books from schools, libraries, Amazon, or anywhere else. They are still available and sold and nothing is restricting access to them.
It is a slippery slope. First obliterate the name, then retcon the books, then remove them entirely.

All that has happened is that the people who oversee the award have said, "We have decided, in 2018, that the award should reflect the nature of the children's book community as it is TODAY, instead of clinging to a worldview that is over a century old and does not reflect the diversity of modern children's book writers."

This isn't a bad thing, regardless of how some may want to spin it otherwise.
Unfortunately this is neither the intelligent, nor the intellectual, and most assuredly not the best way to deal with the past and its culture. No one says people should "cling to a worldview". The intelligent and civilised approach is to teach, not to ban or censor. It is the cheapest approach, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
I found the Laura Ingalls Wilder books hard to identify with as a child. I didn't grow up in her country or era, but I would have enjoyed her stories if she had used more of an individual voice. When adults do and say things that are wrong, kids often think "that's odd", because they can see through culture. Laura's books always seemed to document her times rather than comment on them.

I have a few issues with To Kill a Mockingbird , because despite its stance on racism, it trivializes rape. However, Scout's childish voice is used in this book to cut through a lot of "grown-up" prejudices and assumptions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,767 Posts
Annie B said:
And please, if you are going to try to play the "but history" card, do remember that history as we understand it is often retconned before we ever learn it and that there are constant discoveries and un-ret-conning of history all the time that changes how we understand it. History is not set in stone (so to speak, ha) and much of the literature or art that we think of as representational of points in history is, in fact, a super narrow and deeply flawed (and sometimes outright disingenuous or biased) portrayal of those times.
I fully agree with this part. It's why the books, movies and music of many people unable or incapable of researching and evaluating the past - for various reasons, one main one being the loss of the material - are unreadable, trite and purposeless.
 
A

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Annie B said:
And please, if you are going to try to play the "but history" card, do remember that history as we understand it is often retconned before we ever learn it and that there are constant discoveries and un-ret-conning of history all the time that changes how we understand it. History is not set in stone (so to speak, ha) and much of the literature or art that we think of as representational of points in history is, in fact, a super narrow and deeply flawed (and sometimes outright disingenuous or biased) portrayal of those times. As we learn and grow as a culture, naturally so does our ways of interpreting and relating to what came before. It's not a slope. It's just evolution of understanding.
Before I got to college, the only time we learned about African Americans was during Black History month, and then it was basically MLK and abolitionists. It wasn't until I got to college that I was exposed to a wealth of African American literature and history that I would have never known existed. We never studied women unless it was Women's History Month, and then it was the suffragettes and a few "safe" female figures. I have often believed that the people who scream about "preserving history" the most are really hoping to preserve a very specific, narrow view of history that continues to elevate white, Anglo-Saxon males as the "benevolent bringers of civilization" and treats everyone else as secondary characters to the white, male "heroes" of history.

So, I agree. There is no "slippery slope." There is only a very steep mountain that we are still climbing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
760 Posts
Annie B said:
Nobody is pretending anything. Her books aren't changing. This is an award whose board decided that celebrating a work that is to modern audiences out-dated and racist isn't something they want to do anymore. That's it. It's just the award, nothing is being censored or changed in the work itself. It is there for anyone to read.

It isn't like white people's views on indigenous people are being wiped from the historical record, geez. It's that as a society some people are choosing to recognize that there is more to history than just one perspective and that we don't always have to celebrate that single perspective. Which, as private citizens, we're allowed to do. The award can call itself whatever it wants to. And please remember that our historical record is highly flawed and often revised in ways that put it through a lens which isn't accurate at all and which erases many aspects.
Well said. These were some of my favorite books as a child. My Civil Rights activist mother first began reading them to us in the 50's. We visited the museum in DeSmet on one of the many trips we made across country when I was a kid. I've reread them many times over the years. I've also read her real story (not at all the same as the highly idealized picture she painted in the novels) in several biographies of her and of her daughter.

That all said, when people started pointing out some of the more problematic parts of the stories, I was dismayed. True, we never noticed them in those days. I also never noticed that none of my black or Jewish school mates were ever at the only large swimming pool in town. I didn't know until long after that it was not a public pool and was run as a private club specifically to keep them out. In the same way, I didn't notice until I saw the first black swimmer at the public beach in San Diego in 1966 that they had been similarly excluded (though not explicitly, as in Virginia). So I guess it's not surprising that I didn't register that all mention of 'people' in the Laura books meant, specifically, white people, that she refers to the prairies as empty of inhabitants, even as the family watches lines of Indians being forced out. I do remember noticing how much Ma hated and feared the 'savages', but then Ma was the source of all things bad and boring in my opinion, so I thought little of it. I didn't think much about the blackface entertainment Pa took part in- and although I was a little jolted by the term 'darkies', I basically accepted and absorbed it, as kids do.

I do not doubt, however, that all these things and more did not pass unnoticed by non-white kids my age and I wonder, now, that we could ever have thought it was okay to present as universal kids literature stories that were so exclusively white in their central characters and worldview. I think changing the name of a kid's literature award to one that does not imply exclusion of all but white kids is a fine idea.

As for the idea that there is a single, unified 'way people thought' in past eras, this is a very bad mistake. All the central moral issues we still struggle with today have been fought and argued over for centuries. People first started voicing objections to slavery, for instance in the 1600's. By the 1700's, with the Enlightenment in full swing, all the more radical ideas from anarchism to free love had been thoroughly hashed over. And none of it was new. The Czechs in the 14th century, with the Hussite movement, had voiced all the central ideas of universal rights to literacy, self-determination and individual autonomy (and also experimented with free love) that eventually went into the Enlightenment. Really, what we're saying, when we say 'how people thought back then' is how mostly upper or middle class educated, comfortable, mainstream white people who had no reason to challenge a status quo greatly to their benefit thought.

And no, it's not 'inauthentic' if people in historical books think differently. If a writer presents characters as being able to openly buck that mainstream way of thinking without social or legal consequences in ANY time period then, yes, that's unrealistic. Presenting them as noticing that all is not as it seems, however, may make them unusual, but it does make them inauthentic. If we didn't ever have people who thought differently - and sometimes even risked consequences- how would things ever change?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,050 Posts
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I also have to wonder how many people who are outraged by this have actually READ the books. In all seriousness, I was having a conversation with someone about this who said, "There was nothing racist on the TV show." How many people expressing outrage are ONLY familiar with the books through the old TV show and have never actually read the books?
I grew up in the heyday of Little House fever with the books everywhere and the TV series and all that. But as the parent of a 7 year old, these books do not hold the cultural place they held then. They're certainly in the library, but they are definitely not what you see in the end of shelf display in the children's section. And it's not because the PC goblins took them away, it's because nobody really cares all that much about them either way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,446 Posts
JRTomlin said:
Native American children who read it, particularly passages such as "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" might disagree. But I expect many people will continue to read them. Maybe parents might decide to discuss some of the unpleasant factors though.
It seems historically accurate to me. That was the prevailing attitude back then. What good does it do to pretend it wasn't?
 
41 - 49 of 49 Posts
Top