professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Remembering a Friend and More

I miss my pal Martha every day. But on St. Patrick's Day, I feel the loss keenly. I would, more than likely, be in NY with her, standing and watching the parade in the city and then retiring to one of her favorite places for corned beef, cabbage, and green beer. One of my former students asked on Facebook why there was all this fuss over St. Patrick's Day even among her friends in the Rio Grande Valley where there are not many of Irish descent. I grew up back east, have a bit of the Irish in me, and love celebrating the day when I can (I am all in green today, including the shoes). I have been to the parade (there was only one in Martha's book) several times. I have stood and watched in snow storms, in tank tops, and under umbrellas. No matter the weather, there was always a little something for everyone. It just seems that on this day, everyone can claim a bit of the shamrock, a bit o' the green.

I like this idea of being a part of another group, another culture, for a day or longer if I prefer. We love going to Charro Days, to the Greek and German and Italian festivals in Houston. Even the Livestock and Rodeo Show allows us to try on a different persona for a short time.

You know what else can do that? A good book with characters from different cultures. That is sometimes tough to do as suggested by Walter Dean Myers in his NYT article yesterday asking WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE OF COLOR IN CHILDREN'S BOOKS? THE ARTICLE LEADS WITH THIS STATISTIC: "Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin." And it closes with this: "Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas of people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?"

So, on a day where I tink about my friend Martha, I honor her, too, by asking how can we show kids the rich diversity of our world unless we have books (and movies and TV shows, etc.) to share with them as well?
Tags: diversity
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