For sellers to make a deliberate effort to see that their displays are as diverse as possible is important and crucial.
List such titles in your store's databases or online under not just their genre, but under the race/religion/nationality of characters. There are times when a reader wants to explore the whole world, and times when they need characters they can identify with very closely. I don't like the idea of making all *displays* this way, or even shelving books this way, but I think it's really important for readers to be able to sort through books this way on their own or with the help of a store employee.
If they feel the book is a disguised sociology lesson they will flee from it. Don't sell it as "multicultural"—sell it as a darn good book about people facing problems on their journey to adulthood, just like the reader.
At ephemere's blog, she talks about death marches and the after-effects of colonialism in the Phillippines. It's sad and will anger you.
Freedom is not forgetting. And forgetting is not freedom. Look at what the loss of our memory has done to us. Look at it, and ask me whether we are better off acting as if the atrocities of the wars and colonizations never happened, as if we have no need for vigilance because the exertion of political and economic will of a foreign power over us cannot happen again, as if we have learned the lessons of the past so thoroughly we will be sure to fight for our rights and the rights of our people to speak and live free, as if we have so fully realized all the evils and all the complexities of power differentials and the abuse of wealth and the exploitation of resources and knowledge and people that we can now equip ourselves to fight against it, as if we recognize the importance of having and claiming our identities and our dignity and the burden and glory that is our history, as if we no longer stumble through the debris and ruin of so many broken institutions and fault ourselves for our own weakness and our own brokenness and the fact that we are not as good and wise and wonderful and wealthy as our former colonial masters. Look at it. Look at how well we have erased the graves, how so many of us go about our daily lives as if there are not more of us being killed every day, how we continue blithely on, the struggles our parents and grandparents and ancestors suffered through mere footnotes in the pages of our books, certainly things that no longer matter in this progressive story of the Philippines in 2010. Look at it, and go on. Ask me.
I don't want to erase this blood staining my legacy. I don't want to forget, as if it never happened. I don't want to keep coming across, "I didn't know the Philippines was a U.S. colony!" as if I do not bear the damage of American occupation written in my nerves and across my tongue. I don't want to see "deathmarching" used as a verb, the same way I deplore how "imeldific" is used as an adjective -- as if history were an erasable thing and words slipping into common parlance an apology or a healing of all these wounds. I don't want people to go on using this in a misguided attempt to remove the blood in it, because forgetting is what gives the evil behind this more power, by allowing the word to go unchallenged and slip under the veneer of acceptability, lightness, cheapening, banality. I don't want the atrocities of war to become equated with mundane things
Steph Su has started a Banned Books Challenge. I fully intend on joining and I highly encourage everyone to sign up. Many books by/about PoC have been banned. Including Jazmin's Notebook, White Romance, and almost anything by Walter Dean Myers and Jacqueline Woodson. If you're reading this blog you probably already know that banning books is wrong, so I won't waste your time by going on about it.Goals of This Challenge:
- To bring attention to books that have been challenged or banned
- To support authors whose freedom of expression have been questioned or challenged by buying and reading their books
- To increase awareness of censorship
The best way to fight censorship is to do what these challengers rarely do, and that is to READ the books that have been challenged and educate ourselves on their content and impact on our society
At Booksploring there is a review of a book that sounds absolutely fascinating (and upsetting). The book is Perfect Peace by Daniel Black. The cover is adorable, which I think is meant to lull the reader into a false sense of security (I'm saying this based off the summary. I haven't read the book yet).
This book explores some heavy topics. The obvious one being poor Paul Peace's heartbreaking transformation and struggle to fit in. I can't even begin to imagine the damage being forced to strip (to prove your sexuality) in front of your father and brothers at that age might cause someone. I think Daniel Black did a fantastic job of exploring sexual stereotypes in the 1940s in America's Deep South.