September 10, 2015

Stereotypical Reading Horizons textbooks

Publisher Of Children’s Books Blasted Over Texts Filled With Racial Stereotypes

By Andrew BradfordParents and members of the educational system in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are extremely upset by some books which were recently delivered to the school system from publisher Reading Horizons.

The books in question, which are intended for children, feature characters such as Lazy Lucy, an African girl, and Nieko the Hunting Girl, who is Native American and lives in a cave. The books also refer to Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America, which is historically inaccurate.

And as if that isn’t bad enough, in a book entitled Kenya, the residents of the African nation are said to be:

“Able to run very fast.”

Negative or positive stereotypes

A page from the Kenya book showed it was all about running. This led to a brief discussion on the nature of stereotypes:Kenya's runners are a negative stereotype?

What Makes Kenya's Marathon Runners The World's Best?
If it's a whole book about Kenyans and their centuries of history and culture, including a page about their running, great. If it's only about their running and nothing else, not so great.

Not for a grade-school primer, anyway. If you're writing an in-depth book on Kenyan runners, that would be another matter.

A stereotype doesn't have to be "negative" to be a problem, you know.

P.S. If I were a publisher, I'd avoid making the lazy character black or Latino. The smart character Asian. The violent character Native. And so forth.

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