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Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

Children’s Books Are Indeed Biased

October 24, 2017 1 min read
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To the Editor:

In response to the recent Education Week article “Does The Cat in the Hat Sustain Racist Stereotypes?” (Oct. 11, 2017), the answer is yes. This is not to argue for book burning or banning but to suggest that teachers and educators at large, as well as U.S. Department of Education officials, should develop strategies to help teachers interpret problematic representations of race, class, and gender in texts for young readers. This is not a new issue: In the late 1970s, British author Bob Dixon argued that virtually nothing was being done to counteract the racial, gender, and class stereotypes found in many children’s books or to promote greater diversity. Research also shows that many U.S. history texts routinely leave out or conflate important parts of the past, telling only one side of the story. Reading books with an eye for implicit and explicit messages is a service to readers, not an effort to “cleanse” the past.

The views in this letter are the author’s own and do not represent the organization he works for.

Jon McGill

Academic Director

Baltimore Curriculum Project

Baltimore, Md.

A version of this article appeared in the October 25, 2017 edition of Education Week as Children’s Books Are Indeed Biased

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