Marley Dias is like a lot of 11-year-olds: She loves getting lost in a book.
But the books she was reading at school were starting to get on her nerves. She enjoyed Where The Red Fern Grows and the Shiloh series, but those classics, found in so many elementary school classrooms, “were all about white boys or dogs … or white boys and their dogs,” Marley says.
Black girls, like Marley, were almost never the main character.
Last fall, Marley decided to do something about it. She set a goal of collecting 1,000 books about black girls by the beginning of February, and #1000blackgirlbooks was born.
She has far exceeded her goal, with almost 4,000 books and counting. Now, she wants to set up a black girl book club and pressure school districts to change what books are assigned to students. Morning Edition’s David Greene spoke with Marley about her campaign and how she’s handled her success.
“I keep expecting more from the plotline than what’s currently here,” one publisher wrote. “What if it was about sisters who were twins, and one had Charcot-Marie-Tooth and one didn’t? That would create a more important conflict.” Another said that Mia Lee’s character didn’t seem suited for a lighthearted story. Finally, my agent told me, “I just don’t think people are ready for this type of story for this type of character.”
What she meant is that Mia Lee, my sassy, YouTube-loving heroine, differed too much from the convention of what a disabled kid is supposed to be like. There are very few stories about kids in wheelchairs, and there are even fewer with a disabled person who is cheerful and happy. Disability is always seen as a misfortune, and disabled characters are simply opportunities to demonstrate the kindness of the able-bodied protagonists.
Great discussion on IGN’s Anime Club show with Host Miranda Sanchez, discussing diversity & representation in TV animation & anime. Also talking with the AC crew about Crunchyroll, our favorite shows and my experience being an independent westerner creating/working on Anime in Japan. Super deep discussion and informative for aspiring artists!
Julie Andrews has a new show on Netflix that came out this month called Julies Greenroom. Its about a group of kids (muppets) who are a part of an acting group with Julie as their mentor. Each episode has a guest star who also teaches them about theater!
Spike- black kid with an afro who has a word bank and writes big words Julie uses with definitions down so he can use them later
Fiz- Latina who actually has like 3 last names lol she also has curly brown hair and lighter brown skin
Peri- Unspecified asian (im only on episode 1 lol) who is the theater queen aka rachel berry lol shes adorable tho
Hank- white kid with a disability that has ended him up in a wheelchair
Riley- baby gay, she has glasses, uncombed red hair, a blazer, doesnt want to act wants to be in tech, knows about plumbing lmao
Hugo- A geese/duck bc as Julie says “the theater never discriminates”
And Julie has a helper named Gus (not sure what the race is im guessing white?) He is super cute and chill
Julie- omg of course she kills it. She sings too!!
The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it is lifting its ban on transgender boys joining the organization, saying that it would abandon a policy that determined eligibility by using the the sex listed on birth certificates.
“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,“ Effie Delimarkos, a spokesperson for the scouting group with more than 2 million members, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
She added that the group’s previous "approach is no longer sufficient” given different community expectations and laws.
Okay, but can we talk about the Japanese Sun&Moon commercial / ad? It’s honestly the most precious thing ever????
A Japanese kid is moving to Hawaii with his mother and loves Pokemon.
He stays up with his mother practicing his English so he can communicate with the new environment around him, it seems he isn’t completely fluent.
The next day he introduces himself in his, still budding, English and the other children don’t seem very responsive to his efforts or taken off-guard somewhat?
Out of the blue one child starts clapping for him to show some kindness and the whole class joins in on celebrating his introduction.
He wants to join the other kids at lunch but seems to feel awkward about it?
He spots the kid who showed him kindness at the Pokemon Sun and Moon release. He plays the games for a while in his mom’s car and he later spots the same kids from school vibing together.
In the end he feels encouraged about going up to approach them and introduces himself.
They pick out starters together and become friends, they play the games in different languages.
It’s very, very cute. It’s a beautiful message to send that you can reach out to another person if your true and Pokemon was a push toward that, it really did a good job conveying how important friendship is. You can be friends with someone if you try, it’s just important you try to forge a bond with them and sometimes it can just happen naturally over anything. There’s something very touching and humanizing about this commercial, the music is very good vibe-ish and uplifting. The group of children is very diverse, once again showing people from many walks of life and colors uniting together to smile and have fun.
I don’t read much of what other people write. I wish I could. I wish I tried more. But it’s hard. I go through the fiction in the library, looking for characters that suck me in. And I find some pickle of a writer who thinks that ‘the gays’ or 'the blacks’ or 'the psychos’ are a great way to spice up his story.
People are not your angst factor. And when you put it that way, that’s how we’re seen. So what if I’m 'triggered’ because I don’t like cardboard cutouts of characters? That’s not getting triggered. Triggers make me punch my pillow, sobbing, sleeping in the middle of the day to hide in my nightmares.
I have it good. I’m white, we’re well off with money, and I’m gifted. For most of my young life I read books with only white characters, there were only white people at my church, and I constantly heard people making fun of different people. Why wouldn’t I join in? According to my books, the Latino people were custodians and people who were depressed were just there for extra drama. Girls fought back with their purses and their 'pink power’ and men who dressed like woman were jokes. I didn’t know what trans was, or gay, or bi poly pan ace or aro. I didn’t know anything.
I blame the books. I blame the culture. I blame myself. I am still blind to all of this. I’ll walk among a store and not even blink when all there is are white skinny models. When the only movies are about white heterosexuals. They aren’t bad movies or bad models–but I don’t notice the lack of diversity unless I try.
So why does it still happen? Why do people still think that we’re jokes? Why did I have to become part of a minority to start to notice things? Being LGBT doesn’t give me an excuse. I’m internally racist still. I’m internally sexist. I’m internally homophobic. I’m inherently ableist. But at least I try. Why can’t authors? Why can’t people?
How did it take me thirteen years to start to notice how unfair life was to people? I saw the signs. I was at a school where people didn’t have homes and people were trapped in poverty. By all accounts of a racist, I wasn’t racist or sexist or ableist at all. I was a girl. I had friends of different races and people who were disabled. I treated people the same. What I just wrote is absolute BS. Having different friends doesn’t make me a better person. And books I read should’ve alerted me to that, instead of telling me all I needed was to accept that one different kid and 'gift’ them with my friendship. Maybe I was just unaware. Maybe I ignored it. But token characters don’t do anything but make people treat minorities like token people.
It just ticks me off. That’s my rant. Why am I on this path now? Did it really take a psychotic break, hospitalization, a crush on a girl, and gender dysphoria all together just to start noticing what’s around me?
It disappoints me. I took so long to realize how prejudiced I was. And maybe if there were more books that faced it head on, instead of deciding that LGBT characters, POC, and mental illness were too 'old’ for children, they could include them. It’s not the reason why I’m prejudiced.
“Those kids who are hungry for books aren’t always going to be straight, able-bodied, white males. And they want books that reflect that. Just as we need black students graduating top of their class at Harvard and brilliant female astronauts as our role models, so do we need our diverse literary heroes to remind us that the world is a playground for all, no matter who you are.” -Jacob Hood in huffingtonpost