Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ambassador Myers on the State of Multicultural Publishing

Our national children's book ambassador, Walter Dean Myers, has been a fierce advocate for equality and diversity in children's book publishing throughout his career.  He had this to say about the issue we have been discussing the past few weeks:
I have changed my notion of the obligation of the book publishing industry. While it does have the responsibility to avoid the publishing of negative images of any people, I no longer feel that the industry has any more obligation to me, to my people, to my children, than does, say, a fast-food chain. It's clear to me that if any race, any religious or social group, elects to place its cultural needs in the hands of the profit makers then it had better be prepared for the inevitable disappointments.
These words first  appeared in an editorial Mr. Myers wrote for the New York Times back in 1987. You read that right -- 1987.  For more than 25 years, we have been having this same conversation and nothing seems to really change. The entire essay, "I Actually Thought We Would Revolutionize the Industry," is well worth reading, and still sadly relevant. 

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