I have been thinking a lot about racial issues in lit lately. My daughter is six now and we are reading the classics as well as newer books. She has also been very inspired by Martin Luther King and his statement. She asked me loads of questions, we watched videos and talked about our feelings and I helped her class put on a show featuring an original poem and sing the song Jambo in front of the school. I felt very proud of my six year old for asking the hard questions and trying to get a better understanding of racial issues at an early age.
We are reading Little House on the Prairie and I read it as a young child and had forgotten the comments made about Indians. My Grandmother was a Cherokee and although I am pale, I grew up near the reservation and spent loads of time there. Chilhowie directly translates to land of many deer.
Reading this to my daughter I had to stop and think about whether I should continue reading the book to her or not. Then I thought this is the perfect time to read this to her. Let’s stop every time there is something wrong with these books and talk about it. Let’s talk about why it was written this way, what has changed since then and what still needs to be changed. I am glad we made the decision not to boycott but immerse ourselves in education instead.
What I want to know is how do you handle these issues at your house?