Should 8-Year-Olds Be Reading Stories That Glorify Rape?

Often assigned Junior Great Books stories found to be loaded with bias.

After her 2nd grader was assigned a story that glorifies rape and extols whiteness as the standard for beauty, a mother tackles bias in elementary school literature head on.

Not all of the book’s stories are horrible in an anti-bias sense, but the social norms conveyed by the text as a whole are. A third of the stories with human characters have female leads, but men—their virtue or their needs—actually dominate all of them. Further, nearly all women and girls are referred to as “wife,” “mother,” or “daughter,” and that is understood to be the genesis of their power, standing, or importance. Men and boys, meanwhile, are presented in a multitude of ways. Finally, the volume’s portrayals of poverty and its supposed causes ... are troubling, as is the recurring theme of obedience to the powerful.

Tags: Junior Great Books, class bias, racism, sexism

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