"In this country, Asian Americans are stereotyped as the meek and the mild, the ones who will always take the racism," said Daryl Maeda, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado who specializes in Asian American studies. ”There is a perception that it’s OK to offend Asian Americans because they simply won’t fight back.”
…"The one thing I think is interesting about this whole Jeremy Linsanity is that it has forced us to think about how we think and talk about race in general,” Maeda said. "Asian Americans have long been put into this safe little slot, and Jeremy has taken us out of those places.”
This is what sports does. This is one reason sports matters. Through the shared understanding of the human condition that so publicly exists in sports, society is often forced into self-realization and change, and where else can that happen?
Teenage boys sitting on each other’s laps, exchanging back rubs and dolling out hugs: This was the sight that researcher Mark McCormack found when he went to a British high school to research masculinity.
It was a shocking departure from the aggressive homophobia that he himself observed as “a shy, geeky, closeted teenager” in the late ’90s and early 2000s. For his new book, “The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys Are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality,” McCormack spent the year observing social interactions and collecting data from three high schools in the U.K. Over and over again, he saw the same surprising scene: young straight men being physically affectionate and emotionally expressive with one another. What’s more, he found that homophobic behavior is a rarity and that when someone does express anti-gay beliefs, they “are reprimanded by other students.”
"Race is a central part of every human being’s lived experiences, and it starts from birth. Infants notice skin color differences as young as six months. Children develop the ability to recognize racial differences, label those differences and categorize themselves within a racial group as toddlers. Children usually develop racial orientation, which are positive and negative attitudes towards members of a certain race, by first grade. Three year olds, when shown pictures of other children, usually selected same race children as who they’d want as friends. When given cards with pictures of people to sort any way they wanted, 13 percent of six year olds sorted by gender, but 68 percent sorted by race.
While those biases exist, children of color also internalize a white bias. Several studies have shown this. Most famously, the doll study first performed in the 1940’s by Kenneth and Mamie Clark, psychologists who, when they presented children with different dolls, students both black and white, expressed a white bias.”
“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.”—Judy Blume, born today in 1938. (via thelifeguardlibrarian)
I featured The Brown Bookshelf’s 28 Days Later line-up of writers and artists back at the end of January. I’ve headed back there a few times this month and have been introduced to a bunch of folks I hadn’t known before.
If your looking for some new books to check out, do yourself a favor and pop by there yourself.
Why should you, an adult, bother with a novel intended for an audience aged 14 to 18? If you’re among the ever-growing adult readership for YA (young adult) fiction, you’re probably not even asking that question anymore…
Both of these novels ask questions as difficult as those posed by any serious writer: Why do we suffer, why must we die, and what meaning can be found in any of it? More important, they are not afraid to respond to these questions unflinchingly. These books are often — very often — funny, but they aren’t frivolous. I can think of a dozen acclaimed contemporary adult novelists who blunder through this territory, wallowing in sinkholes of sentiment, tangling their narratives in thickets of saccharine fabulism. It makes no sense that the maudlin goo that is “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” should be classified as a work for adults, when “The Fault in Our Stars,” a far more mature rumination on the same themes, is regarded as a children’s book. Likewise, why should grown-ups be subjected to the cutesy “The Life of Pi” while teenagers get to revel in an astringent fable like “There Is No Dog”?
The Miseducation of Cameron Post has the memoirlike feel of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep. While it’s being published as a young adult novel, Cameron Post is certainly also meant for adult readers. The historical specificity makes it especially meaningful for those of us who came of age before the Internet, before Ellen DeGeneres said “Yep, I’m gay,” when lesbian kisses were glimpsed in secret, by watching and rewinding Personal Best on VHS.
Danforth’s writing style is multilayered in the best way, with a gradual, deliberate accretion of details that creates a resonant whole. This is a book that invites lingering — and not only on the scenes of young love that might become dog-eared at the library — though, if you’re like me, you’ll speed through the story, unable to tear yourself away from Cameron’s meticulously rendered life.
Describing a book as “important” is a compliment, but it can also seem to detract from its literary quality — as if its significance is more about its message than its sentences. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is indeed an important book — especially for teens growing up today in communities that don’t accept them for who they are. But it is also a skillfully and beautifully written story that does what the best books do: It shows us ourselves in the lives of others.
I’m loving this new blog. (Thanks to nerdy like a rock star for the rec.) Here’s a little bit of why I’m spending my Sunday afternoon munching through post after post from Reading in Color…
"Latinos Don’t Fall in Love, Asians Don’t Tell Jokes"
We also don’t have friendship or sibling drama. No instead people of color live intense lives of prejudice, drugs, alcoholism, abuse (but not mental illness because for some reason no one wants to talk about that particular topic. humph). We never have any fun. There are no wealthy people of color, and there are no people of color who happen to be middle class….
Honestly though, about half of this post isn’t really about me. Yes I’ve always mourned the lack of funny YA books about poc, but I never would have noticed how few YA romances there were about poc if my younger sister hadn’t pointed this fact out to me a little while ago. She loves to read and I’m always giving her books I receive that I don’t have time to read right away. but she ALWAYS asks me if I have any romance YA books for her and the answer 99% of the time is no. Which is really upsetting to me. My sister loves to read, but in the genre she loves most, she can never read about a Blatina like her finding love.
Amen to that. Time to step up to the plate publishers and writers.
Last Summer, Alabama passed HB56, the most sweeping immigration bill in the country. It’s an example of a strategy called “attrition through enforcement” or, more colloquially, “self-deportation”—making life so hard on undocumented immigrants that they choose to leave the country. But as reporter Jack Hitt found, the new law has had lots of other unintended consequences. Jack has a book coming out this Spring called Bunch of Amateurs. (35 minutes)
“How does it feel to have one of your books banned in Arizona? In part, it feels good. It proves that we have said something that the authorities found dangerous. And they could not have found it dangerous if they had thought that it was untrue—in that case they would merely have ignored or refuted it. Instead, they fabricated patently false reasons for boxing up our book, along with six others, and sending it to a distant book depository. To make sure the children got the point, they arranged to collect the books, which the students had devoured eagerly, during classtime so that they would see what happens to dangerous ideas and thought.”—Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, from The Progressive
“This is covert white supremacy in the guise of educational standard-keeping—nothing more, nothing less. Given the sharp increase of anti-Latino rhetoric, policies, and crimes in Arizona and the rest of the country, one should not be surprised by this madness and yet one is. The removal of those books before those students’ very eyes makes it brutally clear how vulnerable communities of color and our children are to this latest eruption of cruel, divisive, irrational, fearful, and yes racist politics. Truly infuriating. And more reason to continue to fight for a just society.”—Junot Diaz, from The Progressive
“The question during an election year to ask, especially for Arizonan voters, is: Yay or nay on our First Amendment and Freedom of Speech rights being systematically removed?”—Ana Castillo, from The Progressive
“Imagine our surprise…For the first time in its more-than-20-year history, our book Rethinking Columbus was banned by a school district: Tucson, Arizona. The last time a book of mine was outlawed was during the state of emergency in apartheid South Africa in 1986, when the regime there banned the curriculum I’d written, Strangers in Their Own Country, likely because it included excerpts from a speech by then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela.”——Bill Bigelow, from The Progressive
“When I was in prison in Florence, northeast of Tucson, the warden did the same thing to me: He came in and took my books and tried to force his way of seeing on me. I laughed at the attempt, and never thought in my wildest nightmares that another warden dressed up and cologned and paraded as a superintendent of schools would walk the landscape again blubbering his ghoulish rants, but Huppenthal is. They’ve banned six of my books. If I have to, Huppenthal, I will drive down personally and hand them out again to the students. You can’t stop us from getting an education, Mr. Huppenthal, so go to Florence and don the garb of warden where you really belong.”—-Jimmy Santiago Baca, from The Progressive.
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest was banned. Why? It is threatening because it talks about colonialism….The Tempest is told through the eyes of Caliban, a native of a colonized island. It is about his accusations against the colonial governor, Prospero.
Prospero is the colonizer; Caliban, the colonized. Prospero looks at Caliban as being genetically inferior. The story betrays Prospero’s colonial mentality; he has little respect for the natives or the environment. His demeanor resembles that of Superintendent Pedicone and leaders of the white establishment of Tucson who regard Mexicans, whether born on this side or the other side of the border, as aliens.
“Let’s get one thing out of the way: Mexican immigration is an oxymoron. Mexicans are indigenous. So, in a strange way, I’m pleased that the racist folks of Arizona have officially declared, in banning me alongside Urrea, Baca, and Castillo, that their anti-immigration laws are also anti-Indian. I’m also strangely pleased that the folks of Arizona have officially announced their fear of an educated underclass. You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens? Those brown kids change the world. In an effort to vanish our books, Arizona has actually given them enormous power. Arizona has made our books sacred documents now.”—Sherman Alexie in The Progressive about his book, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, now banned in Arizona