jaren Oregon


kids of color are underrepresented in kids books

Dear Commander and Chief,

In 2016, how can we still have underrepresentation of people of color in our children's books, even though segregation ended in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act? The issue is kids of every color do not get to visualize themselves in the books they read, so it is hard for them to relate to the issue presented in the book. If you are a black child, then you might see yourself as less than a white child because you find more white people in books than any other race. Also, if you are black, it may be hard imagining yourself as the character. I believe that children of all races should be equally represented in books.

As an example of not being able to imagine yourself in the books you read, Courtlandt Butts of the Pacific Educational Group who was black, once told a story of when he was young and would act like Superman. In these pretend times, he had all the powers, a great imagination cape, and thought of himself as white. Courtlandt said that this is how he knew of superheros; they were always white. Why must a young black boy imagine white superheroes? Why not brown or black?

Although thousands of books are written each year, an objection might be to publish because they don't think the books will sell. In 2015, Cooperative Children’s Book Center did a survey of children's books. Out of 3400 books published that year there were only 269 books that had kids that were black in them, which is only 13%. As the president should be able to say that there is an equal number of books featuring characters of other races than white, so kids of other races feel more included and are not growing up thinking that white people are better.

There should be some type of mandate for the antiracism of books. In three years, there should be an equal representation of all races in children's books in all public places. This is a different form of racism. We need more support to end this form of racism, and this subject needs to be brought into the light.