March 24, 2008

American mom vs. Indian educator

Letter to "American MOM"

Mom:By not allowing Indians in literature (as your comment in Little House on the Prairie), are you trying to erase that from our history?Educator:In my critique of Little House on the Prairie, I seek--not to erase Indians from history--but to rid bookshelves of incorrect images of American Indians. It is factually wrong for you to allow your children to learn that American Indians were primitive, or barbarians, or uncivilized, or simple-minded. That is precisely the way they are presented in the Little House book.(Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 3/17/08.)

Comment:  Educator wins the debate by a knockout.


dmarks said...
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dmarks said...

educator- "but to rid bookshelves of incorrect images of American Indians"

So "Educator" would give the "I Read Banned Books" folks even more titles to add to their lists of books?

Oh, I agree that there is a problem with these books. Why not use them properly? Nice new annotated versions that point out the problems that you mentioned? These books could be taught, complete with critique and correction, instead of merely read (or banished).

When I hear of someone talking about ridding bookshelves of books, the image of screaming crowds gathering around a book-burning is not very far off. I think banning books is somehow a lot worse than, say, getting rid of all Chief Wahoo-like posters a school might have for its team mascot.

Rob said...

If you read my comment at the end of the original posting, you'll see that I basically agree with you.

On the other hand, libraries have a fixed amount of space and librarians routinely weed out old books. If some books have to go, it should be the stereotypical ones, even if they're award-winners.

dmarks said...

I only saw "Educator wins the debate by a knockout."

Rob said...

By "original posting," I mean the one I linked to at the beginning. Here it is again: