Terminology nearly always figures into diversity discussions, especially when White people are involved. We want to say the right thing -- and the right thing always seems to be changing. Other times I've noticed that White people will latch onto a discussion of terminology to divert the real discussion. I can't tell you how many university meetings I've had to sit through where we've spent an hour trying to define diversity so that we don't actually have to talk about it.
The writers on this blog talked a lot about word choice before we launched so that we'd all be on the same page. Do we capitalize the B in black and the W in white? Latino/a or Latin@? What term do we use for American Indians or Native Americans? (Our friends and fellow bloggers Debbie Reese and Cynthia Leitich Smith advised us to use First/Native Nations.) We all agree that it's important to let people self-identify and name themselves. Words are important.
There's one term that always trips me up: non-white. I know, I know, it's a quick and easy term that designates everyone who's not white, who doesn't benefit from White privilege. etc. But I feel uncomfortable calling anyone a "non," defining people by what they are not.
I've been called a non only once that I know of. Back in 1989-90, I served on the Coretta Scott King Award Committee in one of two slots designated for a non-Black member. So for two years I was a non-Black on the committee. I can't say it bothered me. In fact, it was really more of a novelty for me to be a non. But it did make me have to stop and think about my own race, something I don't usually have to do on a daily basis. It placed me in an "other" category where I am not used to being. I'm not sure how I'd feel if I'd had a lifetime of being other, or of being a non, of being defined in contrast to something I'm not. I reckon it might wear on me.
Read These Folks First, Then Read Us Afterwards If You Still Have Time
- A Year of Thursdays
- American Indians in Children's Literature
- Brown Bookshelf
- Cotton Quilts
- Cuatrogatos Foundation
- De Colores
- Disability in KidLit
- Hijabi Librarians
- Indigo's Bookshelf: Voices of Native Youth
- Latinxs in KidLit
- Medal on My Mind
- OurStory (from We Need Diverse Books)
- Research on Diversity in Youth Literature
- Rich in Color
- See What We See: Social Justice Books
- Teaching For Change
- Vamos a Leer
- We Need Diverse Books
- We're The People Reading Lists
- YA Pride