Odd, I agree, and uneventful. Have never read AB books, but after reading this excerpt I will pass her over at a bookstore or library.Thanks for the enlightening post!--hopeful_one
honestly, i have no idea what racist overtones you see. it seems perfectly harmless to me. but what i see totally racist and won't allow my child to read or in my kindergarten classroom is curious george books. those are totally about the slave trade in my opinion. white man goes to africa, gets a monkey, takes him home, etc, etc. Ugh. hate those books!
As a child (maybe 6-7 years old) AB books were my favorite precisely because of the play on words. Racist? Nope.
I see your point. Black kids join in the "fun" and toss the tent into the bushes instead of putting it up? Mind you, I've never read an AB book, but if making neer-do-well behavior and bad decisions look like fun is the ongoing theme, I think I'll pass. And personally, I don't find Curious George to be racist. I mean, the monkey *did* sneak onto the boat to follow the nice man in the yellow hat (at least in the movie). We don't read the books, which might be wildly racist.
No. All the children, light, dark, or purple, get into a bit of mischief in those books. I also loved these books as a kid, because they made fun of the ways language works.
I don't remember AB books well enough, but if I'd had the same experience as you in terms of the first children of color being the only ones who engage in mischief, I'd no doubt jump to the same conclusions. e.g. the thing with my cabbage patch pillow case.The Curious George thing seems an interesting one. I was kind of suspicious of those books, but couldn't figure out why. We have them in Spanish.Does anyone else think Curious George is latent racism / colonialist or conversely benign?
I'm not sure. I just know that AB books annoy the crap out of me. The authors of Curious George were holocaust survivors.
I would wonder if Anonymous is right - do all the kids get into mischief like this, or only these brown ones?I am ambivalent about Curious George...I let Elfe watch the PBS episodes, but I am always on the alert for any racist overtones we might have to discuss...
I haven't seen this Amelia Bedelia book but we've read others and I have found them out of date but Quinn loves them. He loves anything where an adult is not acting 'in the know.' I don't know if I would say it was racist or not but I don't think it is a either/ or proposition. I think there is a continuum and each thing falls somewhere on it. I have a good friend, who is Jewish, who really dislikes Curious George (the monkey is always getting in trouble for ... acting like a monkey) but who likes Roald Dahl (whom I dislike.) I actually don't mind Curious George but I can see how they can be viewed as having a subtext that is racist. This is where books are incredibly difficult. We've taken a stand (after a lot of discussion) that we don't personally ban any books from coming into the house. We do however, bring up these subjects (Quinn is in 2nd grade) and talk about how we feel about some of our reservations. We would not have done that in kindergarten however.
Peggy Parish wrote the Amelia Bedelia books and others illustrated them for her. She may have never even met or got to collaborate with the illustrators at all. The illustrator may have just wanted to incorporate some diversity into the skin color of the characters. I don't see anything racist from this excerpt. I've always loved Amelia Bedelia and hope others will not pass them over.
I loved AB books growing up- she cracked me up. I have found them difficult to read to and with my English language learners, but only because of the language comprehension necessary to "get it." In regards to the possible racist tone... I personally don't think so. From what I recall, all of her characters did stuff that was goofy and in the whole wide world of things, not harmful.
I don't see the racism. I read quite a few AB books growing up. I always thought she was just a twit! And yes, the kids in the book always go along with what she is doing because it's like they are getting permission from an adult to do something they typically wouldn't be allowed to do.
The jump from curious george to slave trade is a leap to me. I don't dress my kiddo in monkey gear or costumes, but I wouldn't go so far as to make that connection. As per Amelia, I would have to agree with anonymous: all the kiddos in the books get in on her antics because they know she's not that smart. I loved them in 2nd grade and thought they were funny as as kid, but they are seriously outdated and I was disappointed as an adult that they are just annoying.
I never got a weird feeling from reading Curious George. Amelia Bedelia books are just not very clever. They're very annoying, however.
I've never read the AB books, so I'm being totally objective. I didn't sense any racist overtones at all. The boys asked if she wanted help, she asked for help, they helped, they noted that the tent was in the bushes and should be righted, AB said to leave it. The end.One day, I will tell you the story of Carter's first trip to Disneyland, the zoo-themed train and "The Monkey Cage" car that I loudly refused to ride in. I told Carter that I'd explain that decision to him when he got older. Well, he's older, but not old enough for me to feel comfortable explaining to him why I made us wait for the next train even though that one car was empty.
I don't remember reading them. I tried one with my ELL 8 year old and scrapped it. The puns and idioms are impossible to explain and make following the story way too hard. Even Junie B is stretch for us. There is way better stuff out there for reading and race!
Maybe I'm in the minority. I used to like the AB books when I was younger. In fact, I admit that I still chuckle at the thought of AB "drawing" the curtains. It's a play on words. And again, maybe it's just me, but I think those boys were being helpful. And yes, in the books it is all sorts of kids "helping" Amelia. I also never knew about the Yellow man in the hat picking up George from Africa. Maybe I missed that part. I do not and have not seen any slavery tones in that show/book.
This story isn't what I'd call racist either, but for Black children and other children of color you must be mindful of messages they receive even from seemingly innocent stories like this one. There's a dearth of Black characters or other characters of color on television and in movies. Some of you may disagree because quite a few shows or movies have a Black/non-White character. I'm sorry but the token, sidekick, or background Black/non-White character isn't much of an improvement. Anyway, it's not difficult for a child of color to come to the conclusion that people of color aren't as smart, noble, adventurous, good, funny (without being the butt of the joke) etc. as White people because they see so few of them and overwhelmingly when they do see them they're not exhibiting these positive qualities. So, you have to really think hard about what your child of color is exposed too. You don't have to filter out everything that isn't positive, but make sure that the representations are balanced. The media doesn't seem think so, but people of color are just as complex as Whites.Finally, speaking of balanced representations, I stumbled upon another adoption blog that contained some very disturbing images. The post was meant to stir up feelings of "thankfulness" in the readers. There were a number of pictures of Ethipion children wearing dirty rags for clothing or who were shoeless or whose shoes could barely be called shoes. Finally, there were a few pictures of starving, skeletal, and nearly dying children. The poster also showed pictures from the country of her other adopted children. There were no pictures of crushing poverty or starving, near death children. I know for sure that those conditions exist in that country. My point is that, even well-meaning adoptive parents need to be careful of the images or stories they relay to their children about their country of origin. Again, based on what you see in the media and even from some of the adoption blogs, African countries are nothing but poverty stricken, genocidal, civil war having hell holes. I know for sure that isn't true of all African countries or even all areas of one country. Seek those out and show those places to your children, adopted and bio, too.
To me, the racist undertones in AB are not from the children of color, but from the portrayal of Amelia, a Spanish named woman, who is a maid, and whose lack of English language skills drive the whole story and all the jokes. She is not as smart as the others, makes mistakes and is the butt of the jokes. how is this NOT racism and language oppression?