Lion of the Blogosphere

The new apartheid

According to NY Times op-ed, “Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people.”

Is this because book publishers are discriminating against black writers? I suspect that there are thousands of bobo whites who write children’s books hoping to get published, but that it’s not a popular hobby among black people. Just a guess.

According to the op-ed, this causes black children to have low self-esteem (because they don’t read any books where the characters are like themselves) and the result is all of the social problems we know about such as poverty, low test scores, crime, etc.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 20, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Posted in Biology, Bobos, Books

26 Responses

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  1. Regardless of the “why” I think the “what” does matter. Kids having characters in their stories that are like them doesn’t seem wholly unimportant. As the father of a daughter, I wish a lot more of these stories had female protagonists. It seems like maybe 10% of our collection does (maybe another 20% with a male-female team of protagonists like Cat in the Hat) and that’s with me looking for such stories.

    And, while I am saying things that are going to be unpopular here, I’ll also say that it is indicative of a cultural power imbalance. I remember reading a while back that boys and young men’s interest in a story drops off precipitously if a story has a female protagonist and the same is not true for girls and young women. Which points to the fact that if you’re not a part of the prime group, you simply /have/ to get used to the notion that the characters in the stories you read are not going to be like you while whites and men can avoid it.

    It’s not unlike politics in fiction, in a way. Liberals can dismiss anything with conservative themes because there are so many liberal movies and books to go around. Conservatives tend to be more open-minded about such things because they have to be. If conservatives refused to watch TV programs that appealed primarily to liberals, they’d barely be able to watch anything. If they merely avoided shows antagonistic to them, they’d still have to avoid a whole lot and just about any show that has to do with politics, including shows like 24 which liberals boycott because of how “conservative” it is and yet consistently has benevolent Democratic presidents and evil Republican ones.

    trumwill

    March 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM

  2. Hopefully they counted Dennis Rodman’s children’s book in their 93 number:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/01/30/dennis-rodman-childrens-book-nba/1878675/

    Camlost

    March 20, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    • Maybe he and the fat fool of North Korea, who is also known to dote on his daughter, can write a new book together for black, Asian and black-Asian biracial children.

      Colmainen

      March 20, 2014 at 2:46 PM

  3. Self-publishing is easy these days.

    Curle

    March 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    • As is publishing-on-demand. Along those lines, if I were doing children’s books, I would probably release multiple versions of the book with protagonists of various marketable stripes.

      trumwill

      March 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM

  4. Oh, so this explains why Indian children do so well in US schools — because there’s so many children’s books with little Indian kids as the main protagonist. Special thanks to the NYT for clearing up this murky mystery.

    Camlost

    March 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    • Little Black Sambo is South Indian, even (especially) in his “non-racist” reincarnations. (Little Golden Books has him as “Rajani”, and the book is called “The Boy and the Tigers”)

      Anthony

      March 21, 2014 at 6:56 PM

  5. Reading be white and sheeee-it.

    sciences with lisps

    March 20, 2014 at 11:09 AM

  6. 100 books a year, 10+ years, 1000+ books. Quite an issue the Times has here.

    steve@steve.com

    March 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM

  7. The ex-colonies of Britain in Africa (Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, etc.) have almost 300 million people, and supposedly a rising black middle class which speaks English very well. Do they produce no children’s books? If not, that’s probably an indictment of black reading habits in general. If they do, then if there really is demand in the US you could make money importing those books.

    Petr Akuleyev

    March 20, 2014 at 12:47 PM

  8. At our local library, controlled by SWPL and BOBO administrators (who would have thought?), if a children’s book isn’t about farming or farm animals, the suburban lifestyle, dump trucks and cranes, wild forests, or imaginary or fairy tale stuff, it tends to be about inclusion. To a point, this is a good idea. The suburbs and gentrified areas of cities are hardly inclusionary places. So far while being a new father I’ve seen pro hipster propaganda, pro gay propaganda (the main character was a flamboyant flamingo who broke all the rules like hanging out with other flamingos in flamingo clubs), and pro feminist propaganda on the shelves. I have seen books about how Latino children live in central America, but I haven’t seen a book how black children live in the inner city.

    Honestly, I have no idea what black people are into. One wouldn’t find out at my public library branch.

    read for social conditioning

    March 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM

  9. I’m not a big browser of children’s books, but it seems to me that with some exceptions (like “Nappy Hair”), race based children’s books seem to lack the whimsicality and lightness of the popular, classic children’s books like “Goodnight Moon” or “The Monster at the End of this Book” or the Captain Underpants series, so even young black bibliophiles may not actually enjoy them very much.

    Christine

    March 20, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    • The girl and her mom in “Corduroy” are black, and poor-ish (they live in a 4-th floor walk-up apartment; mom can’t afford the bear, so the girl has to save her money to buy him).

      Anthony

      March 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM

  10. I don’t believe the statistic to begin with. Note how they say only 93 were “about” black people rather than “included” black people. Because the “included” number is going to be way, way higher. And what, 93 books isn’t enough for a year? To say nothing of the hundreds and hundreds of already existing children’s books “about” black people?

    Second, how about taking a look at the books assigned in schools? Textbooks are chock full of the progressive rainbow (missing only, possibly, a straight white man). And children’s books are a spikey business. The “hot” books sell orders of magnitude more than the rest of the books. But there isn’t likely to be a “hot” book featuring a black kid, because the audience is too small. Would the Harry Potter books have done as well if it was Hosea Potter and all the characters were black? Probably not.

    And finally, why do white people have to read all about other races all the time, but other races are encouraged to read about themselves? Never mind, we know the answer.

    peterike

    March 20, 2014 at 4:07 PM

  11. So I go to Amazon. And I click down through Children’s Books > Geography and Culture > Multicultural Stories > African American and sure enough, there aren’t any books!

    Oh no wait. There are 100 “best sellers” listed immediately. There are 30 “hot new releases.” Then when I did a full search on “Children’s African-American Story Books” it came up with 2,986 books. That’s some dearth.

    peterike

    March 20, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    • Posted too soon. Under “New Releases” — 67 in the last 90 days. How does that add up to 93 in a year?

      Once again, I think that number is entirely suspect because ALL numbers from the professional grievance industry are suspect.

      peterike

      March 20, 2014 at 5:16 PM

  12. This is just odd. Have you been to a Barnes and Noble lately? In the kids’ area there is usually a section dedicated entirely to black children’s books: biographies for children of the usual people (Tubman, Douglass, Obama, Carver, et al.), winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, etc. Besides, even if there were only 93 black children’s books published, are you going to read all of them? At some point the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

    Gilbert Ratchet

    March 20, 2014 at 7:51 PM

  13. Any depiction of a black in children’s book illustration style is going to be called racist.

    They had Tintin, but it was racist and they banned it. There was Golliwog, but it was racist and they banned it. There was one book with blacks, but it was racist, so they changed it to Ten Little Indians.

    Disney had black cartoon characters in Song of the South and it was called racist and it was banned. The crows in Dumbo were racist. Moral of the story: never make any black cartoon character.

    You can have, say Raggedy Ann and Andy , which depicts red-hair (Irish?) whites. For the purpose of a caricature, you exaggerate notable features, in the case of a red-head, you depict the hair with a mop-head of bright-red yarn. The ruddy complexion of gingers (gross) is represented with big red circles on the cheeks and a red nose.

    If the Raggedy Ann universe had a black friend in the same style, how would it look? Would it have black yarn for hair? Would it have a black face? Then it would look like a golliwog, which would be racist.

    From the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia:
    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/index.htm

    Golliwogs are grotesque creatures,
    [or maybe cute children’s book characters]

    with very dark, often jet black skin,
    [black skin on a black character is racist]

    large white-rimmed eyes,
    [white eyes are racist]

    red or white clown lips,
    [the ruddy complexioned don’t complain about clowns with red cheeks and red balls on their noses]

    and wild, frizzy hair.
    [afros on black characters are racist]

    Toad

    March 20, 2014 at 8:22 PM

  14. If there was apartheid, there would be self-contained black society with black bookshops selling black-authored books depicting black characters. Its absence of apartheid that causes them to be exposed to white society and its books with white characters.

    Toad

    March 20, 2014 at 8:48 PM

  15. I wonder what effect the growing popularity of anime is having on white children’s self-esteem. And then there’s pokemon. And the Italian Mario-Brothers.

    Toad

    March 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM

  16. “I suspect that there are thousands of bobo whites who write children’s books hoping to get published…”

    i remember an article in forbes where the husband and wife agreed his wife could quit her job to concentrate on writing children’s books after he made only 75k. that was more than a decade ago, but they lived in the bay area.

    so what is a bobo really?

    i heard zbigniew brzezinski say “in regards to” the other day. is his uber hot milf daughter a bobo?

    jorge videla

    March 21, 2014 at 12:00 AM

  17. Anyone can write a book on their smartphone, save it as kindle and upload it to Amazon which is the largest book retailer in the world. They even have an “african american” category. If there were really a dearth of children’s books for blacks then the few that were published would be highly ranked because all the black parents would gravitate to them. The fact they’re not highly ranked suggests either blacks parents don’t like black authors or they’re not reading to their children.

    destructure

    March 21, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    • I couldn’t write a book on smartphone, i couldn’t imagine typing even a few paragraphs on a smartphone virtual keyboard.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 21, 2014 at 6:24 AM

      • I couldn’t write a book on smartphone, i couldn’t imagine typing even a few paragraphs on a smartphone virtual keyboard.

        Are you an iphone user? Android phones have larger screens and support an external keyboard.

        destructure

        March 22, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    • yes. i just called you a jive turkey. but more likely you’re just an aspie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAVoQ2kshN8

      jorge videla

      March 21, 2014 at 10:33 PM

  18. Black folks don’t buy books for their children. Aren’t we told that right and left? They don’t talk to their children. Aren’t we told that right and left? There are certainly blacks who could write children’s books, but who is going to buy them and read them? Nobody. So why waste your money and time writing them? Compromise. Get an illustrator to re-illustrate white children’s books to turn them black. Then the magically become black books. Make a black version of “Fun with Dick and Jane” for starters since so many of them cannot read.

    Conan

    March 21, 2014 at 11:47 PM


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