professornana (professornana) wrote,

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THOSE people

Sometimes words divide, create false dichotomies, separate us from each other. As I was listing to some politicians respond to the horrific events of late, I have heard "those" people used all too often. And I referred to this phrase in my own Nerd Talk earlier this week. I used it in reference to GATEKEEPING, not adding a book to the collection because either it is would be potentially inflammatory or because, as the rationalization goes, "we don't have those kids here."

THOSE kids, THOSE readers, THOSE people: convenient, too convenient. Why don't we have a more diverse collection? We don't have THOSE kids in this school. Why don't we have LGBTQIA books? We don't have THOSE kids in our district. Of course, this ignores the point that books should be mirrors AND windows (and doors). It also causes me to pause and wonder how some ignore what the statistics tell us about kids.

A quick search netted statistics like these ( In 2014, state agencies found an estimated 702,000 victims of child maltreatment, but that only tells part of the story. This number of kids would pack 10 modern football stadiums.

Drug use and abuse continues to be a problem: More than half of students have used alcohol, more than a third used marijuana (

Consider the stats on child poverty found here: More than 16 million kids live below the poverty line. That figure is 22%.

I include these stats to counter that, "we don't have THOSE kids" argument. The fact is, I don't know what my kids face outside of the classroom unless they share that with me. I fear that anyone who asserts that they don't have THOSE kids would likely not be the person kids might share their situations with. I would not have done this.

We need to remove blinders, to stop asserting we don't have THOSE kids, and instead add all manner of books to what we offer kids.We need to remember that having books as mirrors is crucial. But books as windows is just as important. If we are to create a generation, a new generation of people who will not use words that separate and divide, perhaps more books are the answer.

P.S. Take a moment to read Kylene Beers' post on why we should read literature:
Tags: books, gatekeeping, reading
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