subtitle: Only Diversity
Depending on your perspective, my spring break was a bit glum. I chose to put a spin on things by rejoicing in the fact that I spent more days at the gym than at the hospital. I had a few sleep tests which indicated I have sleep apnea. Admitting something so personal on a blog is not something I ever do, but I will if it can help someone else. I was talking with my daughter last night about apnea when she brought up a memory in which someone, a young person who she knows, probably has it, too. Have you ever heard someone snoring and they suddenly stop, kinda like they’ve stopped breathing? Well, they have stopped breathing! While most of the people with apnea are overweight, thin people can have it too. It sounds benign, doesn’t it? Well, while untreated it pretty much affects every system in your body because you don’t fall into deep stages of sleep and you don’t get enough oxygen while sleeping. A few years ago, a young football player died in his sleep because he stopped breathing. The treatment is that bulky machine that Mike wears on Mike and Molly and the cure is either to get your tonsils removed or to lose weight. My tonsils are already gone, so… The technician I spoke with mentioned that a loss of only 20 lbs could make a difference. Only!! only ! So much easier said than done!
Only. Our world can be only.
I was reading a very interesting interview with Holly Black over on Diversity in YA in which she discusses why the cast of characters in her book is so diverse. Her world is diverse! It’s difficult, if not impossible, to write (or teach) what we don’t know. We may want more authors to have diversity in their books, but they can’t/won’t if their worlds are not diverse. And if editors and publishers enclose themselves in all White worlds, they will not understand the necessity for books by and for people of color either. I wonder how someone’s world cannot be diverse, but I know this is still the reality for many people. I remember my first year in college realizing that there were Black people who lived in all Black worlds from their school to their home, family, and neighborhood. It surprised me that Blacks would have such a dominant presence anywhere in the US because that wasn’t the case in my world. Students are still able to grow up in worlds that are all Black or all White.
I usually shy away from saying I work for diversity because diversity is about more than color and ethnicity. I find myself challenged in this regard when I read Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance, Diversity In YA and Reading in Color, especially Reading in Color. I enjoy being on this journey with Ari as she expands her concepts, as she grows! I do say that I work to promote literacy for teens of color. As we reach for the mouse or keyboard, for a book or ereader, as we increase the amount of information we take in about the world around us how can our world not become more diverse? How can we not begin, not only to see but to interact with people who have different beliefs or colors? To me, if we’re not growing in our understanding, tolerance, acceptance and inclusion of people of different colors, religions, sizes, sexual preference or income strata then how literate are we? No matter how well we can surf the net or how high our reading level I think we’re illiterate if we only see the world through mirror images. And, books are the safest way to do that!
A new resource to explore and become more diverse is the American Legacy Blog. I’ve added the blog to my Diigo account which I’m in the process of building so that it will have a plethora of resources that address literacy for teens of color.
Finally, new releases for April
21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago; Fantagraphic Books, 4 April graphic novel
Carmen by Walter Dean Myers; Egmont Books, April
You don’t have a clue by Sarah Cortez; Arte Publico; April
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor; Penguin Books, 14 April
The break up Diaries by NiNi Simone and Kelli London; Dafina, April
Boyfriends and girlfriends by Alex Sanchez; Simon and Schuster, April 2011
Bird in a box by Andrea Davis Pickney; Hatchette Group, April
Now is the time for running by Michael Williams,Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April
Huntress by Malinda Lo; Little, Brown, April
This thing called the future by J. L. Powers; Cinco Punto Press; April
Enjoy your week!