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heartlikealion

Laura Ingalls & portrayal of POC

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50 minutes ago, Janeway said:

Her story is HER story. It is not the story of every single person of the day. Businesses were rare to be owned or run by women.  In fact, women did not even have inheritance rights until mid 1800's and also could not own property. In the TV series, it showed pretty much all the women working and leaving the kids to care givers that we never see. 

 

31 minutes ago, Janeway said:

Mid has to do with it because laws don't change and then public opinion changes immediately after. It was uncommon for a woman to go to college or to have a business. If women made money, it was generally limited to home making type things. Women did not routinely leave their children in daycare centers and go off to work.

 

Also, about Mary. Laura was a teacher as a teenager and had to give her earnings to help pay for Mary to go to blind school. But Mary never married or had children. She stayed living with her parents (or other family in the later years) after the blind school and died single with no children. She did not marry this wonderful blind man who had surgery to correct his blindness and became a lawyer.  The blind were mostly seen as defective and should be hidden from public view back in the 1800's. Showing her marrying and having children made for a nice tidy Hollywood story (although she did go to college, but that was rare for a blind person and for women in those days). But it is not what life was really like in those days. A lot was re-written. 

 

The TV show is so loosely based on the books as to be irrelevant to this conversation, especially since the author(s) of the books had absolutely nothing to do with the TV show. Have you read anything by Laura Ingalls Wilder and/or Rose Wilder Lane?

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Just now, KungFuPanda said:

This statement is scarier to me than offensive books. I’m not sure any books, no matter how repulsive, “need to go.” That’s how we get into book banning.  WHO gets to decide what gets eliminated?  

"Need to go" from our reading lists for our kids. I would distinguish that from banning. You can't read it all Even if you read aloud hundreds of books to your kids a year, you're still picking and choosing. If you're picking and choosing a significant number of books with racism and excusing it by saying that it's because you don't want to "ban books" and because "people back then were just like that, so it's okay because context" then I think you're fooling yourself.

I mean, Henty wrote an entire book about how great the Confederacy was (With Lee in Virginia). He wrote another about how great the British were when they defeated the scary natives of Africa (By Sheer Pluck). I don't think these belong on modern reading lists for children. All of his works are just relics - and there are other authors like that too. Even in his time, he was criticized for being xenophobic. Sometimes we can take a book and take out parts or change words and suddenly, okay, this book is no longer really problematic (Doctor Doolittle and Little Babaji/Little Black Sambo are good examples of this). 

I get really tired of people who are like, it's so important to talk about the context of these books, yada yada yada... and then they go read them to 8 yos. An 8 yo is firmly in the grammar stage. I'm not saying you shouldn't bring up this stuff about racism and changing times and so forth - you should - but are they going to come out of it with a nuanced understanding? Nope. Because the vast majority of 8 yos don't have nuanced understandings of anything. So if you read a book like the LH books... okay... maybe? If you balance it with other stuff. If you round out your list. But if you read By Sheer Pluck? I mean, what's the point other than to reinforce a view of Africa that is just plain offensive by today's standard. You're not giving them a lesson in how racism has changed - you're telling them a certain story. Stories are powerful.

Censorship is when books are removed from the library or bookshelves for their content. Book lists and reading lists... that's different. That's reflecting what we think is the best reading. I'm not willing to read a long list of books that are founded on a cornerstone of racism to my kids when they're young.

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I was so oblivious as I did not personally read the books. We own 3 and ds only read the first. I suppose we could keep them and have discussions about the issues. Ds is pretty quick to pick up on injustice and point it out so he’d probably tell me if he noticed something. He said “black beans” sounded racist and we had to explain that is what the beans are called. 

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15 minutes ago, heartlikealion said:

I was so oblivious as I did not personally read the books. We own 3 and ds only read the first. I suppose we could keep them and have discussions about the issues. Ds is pretty quick to pick up on injustice and point it out so he’d probably tell me if he noticed something. He said “black beans” sounded racist and we had to explain that is what the beans are called. 

 

Your child might be quick to pick up on injustice but he's still at a stage of immaturity wherein he thinks black beans sounds racist. He might need someone like a teacher or a parent to help him process the difficult issues in the books that he reads, especially since children - even the smart ones who are pro-justice - absorb ideas from their media intake.

I mean, I don't pre-read everything my children bring home from the library. But if I have bought the books or allowed them as gifts, or if I assign them for school, especially if I already KNOW there are issues, I take responsibility for the discussion. 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Farrar said:

"Need to go" from our reading lists for our kids.  

That’s completely fair. When there are real live homeschoolers who feel books should be outright eliminated it’s not always safe to assume. 

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In terms of renaming the award, I'm not keen.  It's an award for children's literature, she was the first recipient, and her books were in fact extremely important in terms of American children's literature - it's not even simply an honorary name it's intrinsically connected to the award.  I think there is something a little dangerous about the idea that every person of historical importance who has their name attached to something needs to be squeaky clean in terms of the sensibilities of the moment - and not just the sensibilities, but the way of thinking about the world.  As time goes on, these things change, often profoundly, they will presumably continue to do so in the future.  And yet the actions of these individuals have still been significant, influential.  

A much better approach I think is for people to simply disabuse themselves of the idea that they need to see people who are names as representatives in some way as heroes to be emulated rather than mixed, or sometimes controversial or even negative individuals.  One of the big buildings at our local hospital is called the Normal Bethune building.  Clearly a controversial figure, and most would agree today made some really bad decisions about what was right - and yet a lowering medical figure and in many ways a great man in the sense of being someone who was very much involved in his world in an active way- a great man of another time and place and way of thinking.  I don't think, going into that building, that I need to approve of everything, or even anything, he did.  

Anyway, I think of an award like this similarly - what I think of LIW isn't that relevant to me in terms of the name of an award of which she was the first recipient.

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4 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

In terms of renaming the award, I'm not keen.  It's an award for children's literature, she was the first recipient, and her books were in fact extremely important in terms of American children's literature - it's not even simply an honorary name it's intrinsically connected to the award.  I think there is something a little dangerous about the idea that every person of historical importance who has their name attached to something needs to be squeaky clean in terms of the sensibilities of the moment - and not just the sensibilities, but the way of thinking about the world.  As time goes on, these things change, often profoundly, they will presumably continue to do so in the future.  And yet the actions of these individuals have still been significant, influential.  

A much better approach I think is for people to simply disabuse themselves of the idea that they need to see people who are names as representatives in some way as heroes to be emulated rather than mixed, or sometimes controversial or even negative individuals.  One of the big buildings at our local hospital is called the Normal Bethune building.  Clearly a controversial figure, and most would agree today made some really bad decisions about what was right - and yet a lowering medical figure and in many ways a great man in the sense of being someone who was very much involved in his world in an active way- a great man of another time and place and way of thinking.  I don't think, going into that building, that I need to approve of everything, or even anything, he did.  

Anyway, I think of an award like this similarly - what I think of LIW isn't that relevant to me in terms of the name of an award of which she was the first recipient.

ITA

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3 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

I have a really hard time with all the judging of books outside of their historical context in time and finding them lacking next to our modern standards.  Every work of literature has a time, place, people, and perspective it captures, and there is definite value in reading and understanding those perspectives.  That isn’t the same as endorsing the viewpoints as correct, and castigating an author for being a product of their generation is very short sighted.

 

Context is everything.  And I think a little sensitive teaching and discussion of the themes of books like HF and LH goes a long way.

Arctic Mama took the words right out of my word.  I personally think it's ridiculous to judge by today's standards. 

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

Mid has to do with it because laws don't change and then public opinion changes immediately after. It was uncommon for a woman to go to college or to have a business. If women made money, it was generally limited to home making type things. Women did not routinely leave their children in daycare centers and go off to work.

 

Also, about Mary. Laura was a teacher as a teenager and had to give her earnings to help pay for Mary to go to blind school. But Mary never married or had children. She stayed living with her parents (or other family in the later years) after the blind school and died single with no children. She did not marry this wonderful blind man who had surgery to correct his blindness and became a lawyer.  The blind were mostly seen as defective and should be hidden from public view back in the 1800's. Showing her marrying and having children made for a nice tidy Hollywood story (although she did go to college, but that was rare for a blind person and for women in those days). But it is not what life was really like in those days. A lot was re-written. 

You are neglecting a big piece of American history.  Between the 1840s and 1880s there was the Westward Expansion (where people often died) and the civil war.  Men were not exactly in plentiful supply and in the case of westward expansion, it could mean the difference between life and death for a family if not all skills were used.  In times of survival, traditional norms are replaced more quickly than in times of peace.

As far as the tv show, of course Mary and the rest of them didn't follow the books!  They had a handful of character backgrounds to work with, and many of the plotlines followed either the Ingalls or the Olsons.  That doesn't mean that that the show didn't have plenty of widowed, spinster, or married stay at home women.  It just didn't focus on those very often.  Laura's friends all had stay at home moms, Laura herself until the family was older and Ma went to help at Nellie's/Caroline's.  Mrs. Olson of course ran the hotel & store with her husband, and Nellie followed into the business.

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39 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

 

Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser goes into detail about how LIW and RWL changed aspects of the story to the point of fictionalizing the Ingalls' story in order to promote their anti-FDR, anti-New Deal agenda. It's a fascinating book and I second Sneezyone's recommendation.

My question wasn't about FDR though, it was specifically about racism. 

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12 minutes ago, Robin M said:

Arctic Mama took the words right out of my word.  I personally think it's ridiculous to judge by today's standards. 

 

Except that people have been questioning the racism of this book series since it was written. They were judging it by the standards of their own day and many of them still found it wanting.

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To me, it doesn't even make sense for this award to have the name of an author.  I read some of the Wilder books with my kids keeping historical context in mind with discussion.  I would never discourage someone else from doing the same.  And by the same token, I absolutely think it could be uncomfortable and  may not work well in a diverse school classroom with young kids.  

This is a book award ALSC runs and awards annually.  I think it's up to the board to decide.  Kind of like it's up to me to found and name an award if I want.  Or name my cat, my children, or my car.  You might not like the names I pick.  And you can complain.  But oh well.  

http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/wildermedal

Note that the woman who won the award for 2018 is a woman of color.  Now imagine handing the Wilder award to an author whose race is treated poorly in Wilder's book.   Awkward!  I would not want to be in charge of an award the is potentially inflammatory to some racial groups.  Another organization can start their own book award and honor any controversial figure they want with the name.  And people can complain about it because that's how free speech works.  

Changing the name of this award does not change history or white wash anything or diminish the Wilder books.  No one is burning or banning them.  This is an award no one knew or cared about except a very small lit community until this was announced.  I just do not get that it's any kind of controversy at all.  If you don't like it, don't donate to the ALSC.  But it turns out that very few people who care actually support this organization anyway.  

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15 minutes ago, Robin M said:

Arctic Mama took the words right out of my word.  I personally think it's ridiculous to judge by today's standards. 

It depends on what you're judging the book FOR though. When I judge which books to read or value for my kids, I do think about what values I want to impart to them, and then it IS about today's standards for me. Sometimes books that are "problematic" have other values that make them worth reading anyway. But if we're not deciding what to read to our kids based on "today's standards" then I'm not sure what we're deciding it based on.

In judging Wilder herself or how her family interacted with Native Americans and whether it makes them "evil", then that's a different issue.

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Nellie own the restaurant. And she married a Jewish man. These are not real facts, just things put in the TV show. In the TV show, she had twins, a boy and a girl, and they decided to make one Jewish like the dad and one Christian like the mom. Also, you listed off every single adult female character as working.

 

Well, yeah, but that's because in real life Nellie didn't exist. She was a composite character made up of three girls the grown-up Laura hadn't liked as a child. Real Nellie didn't exist to marry anybody.

But some Christians and Jews did intermarry back then. It was generally frowned upon by both communities, and often caused a great deal of problems for the married couple, but it did happen.

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The books were written so she could bring in some money during the depression.  She was writing the stories of her life.  She and her daughter collaborated to develop the books into something that they hoped would sell.  None of that was done to tell people that they should be thinking and feeling a certain way. That was not the goal of the stories at all.

 

You are wrong. This is well-documented. The books were carefully edited to present objectivism, yes, encourage the readers to think and feel (and vote) a certain way.

And when racism just "creeps in", the author may not have been consciously tapping her fingers together and cackling with glee, but the effect absolutely is to approve of and normalize bigoted attitudes and behavior.

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This change has been a long time in the making (I can't read the linked article due to region-lock, but I have read a statement on this that it was part of larger changes to their awards and wider organization) and while I agree another woman writer would have been a more interesting name for an award, going the universal route does save them doing it again as few authors have long-lasting appeal both to the public and to values of such an organization. I think the organization has every right to not use a name that they don't feel well represents them. Changing the name doesn't erase the works or the people involved or history - most are easily available - it's just people of the organization work choosing how their organization works. 

I read the series (and the spin-offs for Rose, Caroline, Charlotte, and Martha) repeatedly. My mother collected all of them. For me, they were good comfort reading but as an adult I've never felt a desire to pick them up for myself or my kids. If I saw them in a charity shop I might for nostalgia. She is a big part of American Children's Literature - and many others have made far more off of her memory and the US's love of her - but I don't see any reason anyone should be stuck with her name on their award if they don't wish it. Whether their choices are linked to the ideology or racism present in the texts or declining recognition and popularity of Wilder or any other reason, it's their award. 

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11 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Except that people have been questioning the racism of this book series since it was written. They were judging it by the standards of their own day and many of them still found it wanting.

 

7 minutes ago, Farrar said:

It depends on what you're judging the book FOR though. When I judge which books to read or value for my kids, I do think about what values I want to impart to them, and then it IS about today's standards for me. Sometimes books that are "problematic" have other values that make them worth reading anyway. But if we're not deciding what to read to our kids based on "today's standards" then I'm not sure what we're deciding it based on.

In judging Wilder herself or how her family interacted with Native Americans and whether it makes them "evil", then that's a different issue.

 

To me it's all about context and not all books can be judged by today's standards or our own personal standards because they weren't the standards of the day back in the 1700's 1800's, 1900's, etc.  We can't change or rewrite history or people and how they thought.  But they do make us think,  which is very important and we can't always be shielded from the past or change the past.  We don't all think alike.  What's good about these books is that they do lead to discussion of the mores of the past, versus the attitudes of today.  As homeschooler's we've all (I'm assuming)taught our kids that the context in which they were written need to be taken into account.   I look at the story as a whole, then break it down as we go teaching and discussing historically, culturally, emotionally.  

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21 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

 

You are wrong. This is well-documented. The books were carefully edited to present objectivism, yes, encourage the readers to think and feel (and vote) a certain way.

And when racism just "creeps in", the author may not have been consciously tapping her fingers together and cackling with glee, but the effect absolutely is to approve of and normalize bigoted attitudes and behavior.

So you genuinely believe the purpose of the books was to advertise racism?

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Wow, it's almost like you didn't read my comment at all!

Let me see if I can dumb it down for you: INTENT IS NOT MAGIC.

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23 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Wow, it's almost like you didn't read my comment at all!

Let me see if I can dumb it down for you: INTENT IS NOT MAGIC.

Ok, so you don't have to call people dumb, seriously.  

Here was my first post..

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Racism existed in the time that Laura was going up.  It was a fact of life.  The fact that it exists in the books she wrote doesn't mean she was promoting racism any more than the fact that child murder exists in The Hunger Games means that Suzanne Collins was promoting child murder or that JK Rowling was promoting witchcraft in writing Harry Potter

Here was a question I posted later

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So, basically what you are saying is that Rose's purpose in collaborating with her mother was specifically to advertise racism?

I don't think it's crazy to ask for clarification if you are actually answering that question.  And certainly not something to be calling people dumb for.  Sheesh.

 

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I already answered your question. Twice. You quoted me answering it in order to ask it again.

But you're right, I don't think you're dumb. I think you're JAQ'ing off. Let me ask YOU something: Why do you think it matters whether or not she was deliberately trying to make kids bigots?

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JAQ'ing off?  Have I royally p!$$@d you off in some way?  Did I steal your first born or something?   I am trying to have a reasonable discussion here and you are throwing around insults.

The reason I think it matters is because her name was removed SPECIFICALLY because of her portrayal of blacks and native people.  And I think that if that portrayal was accurate to the attitudes of the day and specifically the attitude of her family....the people she grew up up....then I think that portrayal is an important part of history.  If she was deliberately enhancing the racism to advertise and promote racist attitudes, if her books had a specific purpose of advertising racism, then they are propaganda and not literature.

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They had the specific purpose of promoting objectivism.

They also had the specific purpose of promoting the idea that the westward expansion (that is, the theft of Native lands by white people) was a net positive. That's an inherently racist narrative. There is no way to sugarcoat this fact. The narrative was racist. So whether or not she felt in her heart that there are no good Indians or that blacks are inferiors or whatever, she was promoting a racist view of history. And even back when she wrote them, people called out some of the explicitly racist things she said in those books.

If I want to tell my kids that laws and society in the 1800s were racist as heck, I can do it through a history book. I don't need to do it through a storybook written by the very people who profited from the structural racism of the time.

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I feel like I've read a completely different series than some of you in this thread.  I came away from the books thinking that she actually helped fight racism.  She wrote about how different people and people groups weren't actually bad like people often thought back then.

 

* I did not read whichever book talked about Pa getting into black face and putting on a show.  Which book was that?

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I feel like I've read a completely different series than some of you in this thread.  I came away from the books thinking that she actually helped fight racism.  She wrote about how different people and people groups weren't actually bad like people often thought back then.

 

The noble savage narrative is also racist. The view that those poor Indians just had to be swept away by the rising tide of progress and history is racist. Statements like "the land belongs to the people who farm it" (rather than the people who have lived there for countless generations) are racist, especially when those statements cannot be plausibly questioned in the story because the entire series is about people going to live on those lands and forcing the native inhabitants off. Racism is not just saying "The only Indian is a dead Indian", it's the whole picture.

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13 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

They had the specific purpose of promoting objectivism.

They also had the specific purpose of promoting the idea that the westward expansion (that is, the theft of Native lands by white people) was a net positive. That's an inherently racist narrative. There is no way to sugarcoat this fact. The narrative was racist. So whether or not she felt in her heart that there are no good Indians or that blacks are inferiors or whatever, she was promoting a racist view of history. And even back when she wrote them, people called out some of the explicitly racist things she said in those books.

If I want to tell my kids that laws and society in the 1800s were racist as heck, I can do it through a history book. I don't need to do it through a storybook written by the very people who profited from the structural racism of the time.

So, the answer to "do you believe that the purpose of the books is to advertise racism" is yes, you do believe that.    Is that correct?  Again, this is clarification so please don't hurl insults again.

The reason I am asking for this clarification is that.......if you believe this, if you believe the book is propaganda like that, then I can understand how you might feel that removing her name from the award is appropriate.  I still disagree...........but I can understand.  That's the purpose of my line of questioning.  Which isn't worthy of insults.  

 

How you choose to teach your kids about the social attitudes of the 1800s is up to you.  I have never suggested that you should use particular books or documents.  That doesn't mean the books or documents that you choose not to use are not useful to other people.  

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* I did not read whichever book talked about Pa getting into black face and putting on a show.  Which book was that?

 

Little Town on the Prairie.

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THE ANSWER IS THAT IT IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

It's not an insult to say you're JAQ-ing off, it's a plain fact. You keep "just asking questions" when I have told you, again and again, that those questions are ABSOLUTELY beside the point. I have told you, repeatedly, that I DO NOT CARE if she wrote it thinking "mwa ha ha, go bigotry!" and cackled wildly as she did so. You either are being deliberately obtuse or you have the reading comprehension skills of a gnat.

I don't know why you're so hung up on this matter of intent. I am not The Shadow. I do not know what evil lurks in the hearts of men. I also don't care. I don't care, I don't care, I don't care! What I care about is results, and the result of this line of narrative - which is explicitly racist whether she realized it or not! - is to embed racist attitudes in young minds.

INTENT IS NOT MAGIC.

INTENT IS NOT MAGIC.

INTENT IS NOT MAGIC.

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5 hours ago, iamonlyone said:

Here is a quote from an editorial with a different perspective (one I don't totally agree with, but it had—I thought—some balancing thoughts):

The Washington Post, The New York Times, and many others have pointed out that in the third book in Wilder’s series, Little House on the Prairie, two characters state, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” They also report that Ma often expresses fear of Indians. 

What not one of those outlets mentions, however, is that far from endorsing such bigotry, Pa, the obvious hero in little Laura’s life, repeatedly contradicts his neighbors’ ignorance. “He figured that the Indians would be as peaceable as anyone else if they were let alone,” records Laura. She ends the chapter simply: “No matter what Mr. Scott said, Pa did not believe that the only good Indian was a dead Indian.” 

As for Ma, her husband’s simple admonitions display more goodhearted prejudice-busting than any graduate-level criticism: “‘They are perfectly friendly,’ said Pa. He often met Indians in the woods where he was hunting. There was nothing to fear from Indians.”

https://world.wng.org/2018/06/a_slanderous_charge

 

And it would not be the first time that fear and ignorance have triggered judgment and defensive thoughts / actions. It seems though that there is a gradual shift perceptible in the books. Either way, I agree with those who said most books need to be read in context of history / time and can as such provide fertile ground for discussion.

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1 minute ago, Tanaqui said:

THE ANSWER IS THAT IT IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

It's not an insult to say you're JAQ-ing off, it's a plain fact. You keep "just asking questions" when I have told you, again and again, that those questions are ABSOLUTELY beside the point. I have told you, repeatedly, that I DO NOT CARE if she wrote it thinking "mwa ha ha, go bigotry!" and cackled wildly. You either are being deliberately obtuse or you have the reading comprehension skills of a gnat.

Seriously.  Like, Seriously.  

I am trying to understand your thought process here.  I am trying to be reasonable.  You are hurling insults and it doesn't seem that you are making any attempt to understand me.  

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And you know what else I don't care about? I don't care what they call this award. I bet hardly anybody on this thread even knew it existed before they heard this news story! If you care so much about it, start issuing your own award and use that name again.

 

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If you were trying to understand my thought processes, you would read what I wrote.

The fact that you keep on and keep on and keep on harping on that same tired, silly issue of what she may or may not have intended to do when she wrote the books proves that you're not doing that. Sing a new song already. That one's all worn out. Neither you, nor I, nor anybody here knows what was in her heart at any part of her life. So it doesn't matter. I can keep explaining this fact to you, but I can't understand it for you. You're going to have to expend a tiny little bit of effort and do it for yourself.

(And you know what? I don't care for your projection either. I understand you just fine. You're the one who isn't trying to understand me.)

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Clearly, we have different definitions of trying to understand.  Mine involves asking questions.   Yours seems to involve hurling insults and typing in all caps.  

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Seriously, how hard would it to have been to say, "I don't think she was deliberately trying to promote racism, except inasmuch as all pioneer/expansionist action and thought is inherently racist, but I also don't think it matters whether she intended it."

 

It took me all those posts to understand wth you were talking about too - is "intent is not magic" some sort of code phrase or meme or something that I should have known about?  Because it's a lot easier to say, "I don't think intent matters."  I couldn't figure out what magic had to do with the conversation.

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The time period that these books were written is significant.  There were huge social problems yet to be addressed during the time when Laura was a child (and an adult).  Many of these horrific social injustices are still being adressed today. 

We cannot ignore the time period and the history.  How else can we see how far society has come and how far it still needs to go.  Prejudice existed then and was more accepted.  Of course that is awful.  Prejudice of any kind should never be tolerated.  But pretending it didn't exist or preventing a discussion of the history is also not something we should do.  How else can we fix something if we don't acknowledge it? 

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8 minutes ago, HollyDay said:

The time period that these books were written is significant.  There were huge social problems yet to be addressed during the time when Laura was a child (and an adult).  Many of these horrific social injustices are still being adressed today. 

We cannot ignore the time period and the history.  How else can we see how far society has come and how far it still needs to go.  Prejudice existed then and was more accepted.  Of course that is awful.  Prejudice of any kind should never be tolerated.  But pretending it didn't exist or preventing a discussion of the history is also not something we should do.  How else can we fix something if we don't acknowledge it? 

 

I agree with what you've written, but how does renaming this award equal "pretending it didn't exist" or "preventing a discussion"?  

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6 minutes ago, HollyDay said:

The time period that these books were written is significant.  There were huge social problems yet to be addressed during the time when Laura was a child (and an adult).  Many of these horrific social injustices are still being adressed today. 

We cannot ignore the time period and the history.  How else can we see how far society has come and how far it still needs to go.  Prejudice existed then and was more accepted.  Of course that is awful.  Prejudice of any kind should never be tolerated.  But pretending it didn't exist or preventing a discussion of the history is also not something we should do.  How else can we fix something if we don't acknowledge it? 

Can someone tell me how changing the name of an award is somehow changing history or disallowing discussion of it?  

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For me, changing the name of the award is basically saying that the literary work that the award is named for is no longer worthy of the award.  For me, this specific case is asking...is the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder worthy of this award, it is it simply a piece of propaganda.  

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

For me, changing the name of the award is basically saying that the literary work that the award is named for is no longer worthy of the award.  For me, this specific case is asking...is the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder worthy of this award, it is it simply a piece of propaganda.  

They haven't stripped her of the award.  Just her name from the award.  

http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/wildermedal/wilderpast

Why should it be named after her more than any of the other authors on this list?  Doesn't make them any less worthy of an award either.  

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2 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

They haven't stripped her of the award.  Just her name from the award.  

http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/wildermedal/wilderpast

Why should it be named after her more than any of the other authors on this list?  Doesn't make them any less worthy of an award either.  

Right, I get they didn’t strip her of the award.  But....it was NAMED for her and she received it first.  I think everyone receiving the award should be worthy of having their name on it.  But specifically removing the name, it’s like the person body of work just isn’t good enough, because it’s not perfect.    

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3 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

 

Your child might be quick to pick up on injustice but he's still at a stage of immaturity wherein he thinks black beans sounds racist. He might need someone like a teacher or a parent to help him process the difficult issues in the books that he reads, especially since children - even the smart ones who are pro-justice - absorb ideas from their media intake.

I mean, I don't pre-read everything my children bring home from the library. But if I have bought the books or allowed them as gifts, or if I assign them for school, especially if I already KNOW there are issues, I take responsibility for the discussion. 

Certainly! I just meant that we’ve already discussed slavery and he’s read things on the topic and we took him this year to the new civil rights museum in Jackson, MS. If there was something really objectionable in the first book I would hope it would come up but since I am aware about others I can either remove them from our reading list or be sure to discuss it in advance. 

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4 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

This statement is scarier to me than offensive books. I’m not sure any books, no matter how repulsive, “need to go.” That’s how we get into book banning.  WHO gets to decide what gets eliminated?  

Yeah, very dangerous waters. 

The books don't need to be banned. Although I agree with the renaming of the award, I do think this will lead to a back door banning of them in schools. I really hate the idea that librarians might even consider book banning, but yeah, this is what happens when you don't stick to the middle path.

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After reading some of the ALA reasons for the award name change it seems more sensible to me. I probably would have voted with the unanimous majority after all  

However, even having a mixed POC family background, what still comes through in my memory of the books primarily has to do with hard work and pitching in with the chores. Maybe because those are struggles in my present family situation and I wonder if more emphasis on that in our early reading might have helped  

 

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I can't get into conspiracy theories around the books being written explicitly to brainswash young children into racism. That's just nuts. 

Just wanted to shoehorn in a book recommendation though, to read alongside or before LH books.

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich...my kids loved it, read it!

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3 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

JAQ'ing off?  Have I royally p!$$@d you off in some way?  Did I steal your first born or something?   I am trying to have a reasonable discussion here and you are throwing around insults.

The reason I think it matters is because her name was removed SPECIFICALLY because of her portrayal of blacks and native people.  And I think that if that portrayal was accurate to the attitudes of the day and specifically the attitude of her family....the people she grew up up....then I think that portrayal is an important part of history.  If she was deliberately enhancing the racism to advertise and promote racist attitudes, if her books had a specific purpose of advertising racism, then they are propaganda and not literature.

Is that a common spelling? I mean, I urban -DICtionaried it bc I've never seen it spelled like that. I'm ASSuming it is about pleasure of the do-it-yourself kind. I th ought that was spelled jack.

there is the western Pennsylvanian "jagoff"...which sounds similar but basically means jerk. But people get confused bc sometimes they don't hear jag with off, they hear jerk with off. 

and so we are back where we started...

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I saw JAQ standing for Just Asking Questions on Urban dictionary so I guess it was meant in that context but with the “ing” + “off” it sounds crude. 

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8 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

Is that a common spelling? I mean, I urban -DICtionaried it bc I've never seen it spelled like that. I'm ASSuming it is about pleasure of the do-it-yourself kind. I th ought that was spelled jack.

there is the western Pennsylvanian "jagoff"...which sounds similar but basically means jerk. But people get confused bc sometimes they don't hear jag with off, they hear jerk with off. 

and so we are back where we started...

My belief is that the specific “jaq” combined with “ing” is meant to imply that I am asking purely for sh!+s and giggles instead of what I specifically said I was asking for.      

 

IOW getting my kicks off of trolling internet boards.  

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9 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

My belief is that the specific “jaq” combined with “ing” is meant to imply that I am asking purely for sh!+s and giggles instead of what I specifically said I was asking for.      

 

IOW getting my kicks off of trolling internet boards.  

 

That is exactly what it implied. You're not the first person to be crudely called a troll by that poster in the last 24 hours. She seems to be having a bad day.

Rise above.

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3 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

And you know what else I don't care about? I don't care what they call this award. I bet hardly anybody on this thread even knew it existed before they heard this news story! If you care so much about it, start issuing your own award and use that name again.

 

Well, I sure did! But I'm a weirdo who is strangely into all the YALSA and ALSC awards. ? It's possibly I've livestreamed them, like watching the Tonys. 

Since it's a lifetime achievement award, I'm not sure who it would be right to name it after if they chose someone. Beverly Cleary won it in 1975. She's still alive (which, holy crap). I'd be good with putting it in her honor.  But I'd have to think about it more. I do sort of care. But it's not high on my agenda.

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