Tuesday, June 26, 2018

This is just NOT right

Laura Ingalls Wilder's name has been stripped from a prestigious book award because of racist themes 

The cabin at the "Little House on the Prairie" site is a re-creation built in 1977
(CNN)After months of deliberation, the organization behind a prestigious book award has decided to remove the name of author Laura Ingalls Wilder because of her portrayal of Native Americans. 
The Association for Library Service to Children gives out the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award" yearly to authors whose work has made a lasting impact on the world of children's literature. 
The honor will now be known as the Children's Literature Legacy Award. 
The ALSC first announced their intention to revisit the award's name in February, and decided to change it after a meeting over the weekend. 
    "This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder's legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness," the ALSC's statement reads
    Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" books are a staple of countless American childhoods. The tales are so ingrained in the traditions of children's literature that it may be easy to forget or overlook that Wilder, who wrote the books in the 1930s and 40s, depicts Native Americans as inhuman and inconsequential. 
    An adult re-read reveals several characters, including Wilder's mother, saying things like "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," as well as romanticizing themes of American supremacy and manifest destiny
    While her father, as portrayed in the books, takes a more nuanced approach to Native Americans in some places, he also described one Indian as "no common trash" because "that was French he spoke."

    It's not censorship, the group says

    Perhaps this worldview could be more easily dismissed if it were entirely fictional, but the "Little House" books are semi-autobiographical, and recount Wilder's own childhood growing up on the Great Plains. 
    While the decision is already inviting backlash similar to any instance of, say, changing the name of a school or removing a Confederate monument, the ALSC preeimptively outlined their full justification:
    "Changing the name of the award, or ending the award and establishing a new award, does not prohibit access to Wilder's works or suppress discussion about them. Neither option asks or demands that anyone stop reading Wilder's books, talking about them, or making them available to children. These recommendations do not amount to censorship, nor do they undermine intellectual freedom," a lengthy statement from the ALSC's board reads
    "Yet perceptions matter, along with the very real pain associated with her works for some, and year after year ALSC gives the impression of upholding Wilder's works through an award that bears her name."


    1. From Lynda Sanchez: In response to Wilder info. you can use this or not, but I hope all libraries for sure as well as teachers, and the innumerable folks who grew up on those stories in the nation object to this. I have offered a possible solution as well. Lynda

      From: Lynda Sanchez
      Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:37 PM
      Subject: Fw: Capitan Public Library Blog

      Here we go again. They look only through the lense of current history, not the past or the times in which people lived. While I do agree that some of those things should not have been written by the author, I believe it could be a teachable moment in time to explain how many attitudes have changed and some have even gone too far as in being PC in this situation . Soooo, as an individual who writes about Native Americans and their history, I can see this group's side but they have put their tail between their legs and run into a corner. They need to be more creative. Should we ban Twain and Uncle Tom's Cabin, Gone with the Wind, and some other great literature because they use the word nigger, or papoose or squaw? I don't think so.

      With future editions of the books they could add an explanatory foreword explaining to new readers what history has taught us, and that we understand today this is not the right thing to do, but neither is it right to keep children from reading the material. There are family values, community values of working together, and also respect and discipline for families and society that we are surely missing today.

      We go too far in my opinion. I know I am preaching to the choir, but what is next, the Bible? or perhaps the Encyclopedia Britannica, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Zane Grey, anything pre 2000? geez.


    2. See this article: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/laura-ingalls-wilder-alsc-award-removal/


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