Essay on Racism in Children's Literature

2376 Words 10 Pages
For my research project I chose the topic of Racism in Children's Literature. I chose this area of study because it is something that bothers me and I know as a child in school I was very uncomfortable with assignments that dealt with racism. One day I would like to make a difference to all the people who are affected by racism. My hypothesis states that if educators are better trained to deal with the delicate subject of racism in children's literature, books would not be banned, yet actually teach the lesson the authors of these books intended for all of us to learn.
During an International Board on Books for Young People conference in New Delhi, India, Spyros Kyprianou stated, "Books for young people are the main cultural nourishment
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There has been a move by many to ban these books, but is that really the answer to the problem? As a mother, secure in my belief, I want my children to read these books. I want my children to be angry, to form their own opinions based on what they read, to understand what people in other times were put through, and most importantly, I want them to understand who wrote these books and why they were written.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has over two hundred references of the "N" word. However, Ernest Hemingway said, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. It's the best book we've ever had." These angry words full of hatred were called the best by one of the most known authors in the world, why? I read this book in high school myself. I served many afterschool detentions because I refused to read aloud the words of hate. I did not connect to it then, yet as I have aged I believe it was the way the book was taught. Why did my teacher not tell us more of the background of Mark Twain?
Mark Twain was not a racist, yet it took me many years to realize that. I finally found a respect for him that I should have known before I turned that first page. Even though the book has many racial slurs, it shows that not just a friendship, but a strong bond could be formed between a young white boy and a black man. "They hain't no right to shut him up! Shove! - and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! He ain't a slave, he's as…