Trying to quell Racial Tensions through Literature

Posted by Shannon Yager on

In this climate of racial tension, we must ask ourselves if we are doing everything possible to bring awareness to the young people that we serve in our classrooms.  Teaching is a predominately White Woman's profession.  

According to the National Center for Information in the Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011, 84 percent of teachers are female; 84 percent of teachers are white (Feinstritzer 2011). However, according to an article by Lesli A. Maxwell (2014) in Education Week, “The new collective majority of minority schoolchildren—projected to be 50.3 percent by
the National Center for Education Statistics—is driven largely by dramatic growth in the Latino population and a decline in the white population, and, to a lesser degree, by a steady rise in the number of Asian-Americans. African-American growth has been mostly flat” (this excerpt taken from Dream Wakers 2016)

The moral imperative to those of us who are white educators, then, is to search high and low for high-quality reading materials that feature cultural diversity.

Literature can reach into one's heart and mind when a reader connects with a well-developed character.  Seeing a character's trials and triumphs develop in the pages of a book, can help a reader understand and empathize with a culture different from his own.

 I encourage and challenge you to be deliberate when choosing literature for your classroom.  Treehouse Books has some great recommendations here.

This information was taken from the Cooperative Children's Book Center

 


Year

Number of Books
Received
at CCBC


African /
African Americans


American Indians / First Nations

Asian Pacifics/
Asian Pacific Americans



Latinos

By About By About By About By About
2016 3,400 92 278 22 55 212 237 101 166
2015 3,400 107 270 19 42 176 113 59 83
2014 3,500 85 181 20 38 129 112 59 66
2013 3,200 68 93 18 34 90 69 48 57
2012 3,600 68 119 6 22 83 76 59 54
2011 3,400 79 123 12 28 76 91 52 58
2010 3,400 102 156 9 22 60 64 55 66
2009 3,000 83 157 12 33 67 80 60 61
2008 3,000 83 172 9 40 77 98 48 79
2007 3,000 77 150 6 44 56 68 42 59
2006 3,000 87 153 14 41 72 74 42 63
2005 2,800 75 149 4 34 60 64 50 76
2004 2,800 99 143 7 33 61 65 37 61
2003 3,200 79 171 11 95 43 78 41 63
2002 3,150 69 166 6 64 46 91 48 94

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