Mark (18/05/14 18:53)
I think a lot about what the books I read to my children teach them. I have not ntcoied a lot of racial bias whether because of the books we read or my own lack of awareness I cannot say, probably a bit of both. However I notice gender bias in practically every book we read.Following some reading I have done on raising girls in a sexist society, my policy now is to point out, without making a huge issue about it, when I notice something. So I might say Hmm, I wonder why there are no girls in this story? or even explain, for example, that some people think girls only like dolls but of course we know that's not the case.In the case of racial bias in literature I think a similar approach, for the posters above who are considering how to address the issue, might be helpful. For example, my daughters watched Babar at their grandma's house although we have read the books in the past they definitely make me feel uncomfortable, particularly the first one. While the girls (they are 3 and 5) were completely oblivious of the colonialist subtext, I did make a point of asking them whether they thought the elephants might have quite liked their lives before Babar came and civilised' them. My hope was just to begin to teach them the skills to critique texts rather than taking them on face value.It can be hard to draw the line between a book that goes so far in its prejudice that it should be not read (ie censored) and one that has merits as well as problems. In the case of gender, if I only read books that are not gender biased our bookshelves would be pretty thin! Of course I look for as many as I can, but in the meantime, considering our children will grow up in a world where they encounter prejudice of all forms, we cannot start early enough to begin to teach them (age-appropriately) to notice and challenge it.