What’s Wrong With Diversity?
Nothing—everything is right with diversity.
So we push for students to have access to more diverse books and we weave diversity into our lessons.
In her blog, NCTE member Latrise Johnson notes:
“…As teachers and teacher educators, our selection of diverse texts must be intentional and must play a role in eradicating racial and social injustice and inequality.
Teachers must choose diverse texts with our students in mind. That means not only selecting texts that include diverse characters but also texts that are reflective of students’ rich and complex histories. Our aim should be introducing students to characters and themes that resonate with their lived experiences. We must share texts that will inspire our students. We must also introduce them to authors who can serve as intellectual role models. For teacher educators, we must insist that preservice teachers read, engage, and learn to teach literature beyond the canon—literature that is reflective of the lives of the students they will one day teach.”
According to the research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, the number of multicultural books published has remained at no more than 10% over the last 20 years. BUT, on average 75% of recently challenged books are diverse, and, using the #WeNeedDiverseBooks definition, nearly all of ALA’s top ten most frequently challenged books of 2015 are diverse. This year’s Banned Books Week will focus on diversity.
Where does this leave us? Needing to speak up for diverse books, to teach diverse books that are reflective of the lives of our students, to be prepared to defend the diverse books we teach.