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Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:37 PM

Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award


https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/association-removes-laura-ingalls-wilders-name-from-award/2018/06/24/bd258926-77c5-11e8-ac4e-421ef7165923_story.html?utm_term=.d7668595dec2

"A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilderís name from a major childrenís book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans."


I cannot agree with this decision. Wilder's books have been beloved by generations. I read them out loud in speech therapy (made the therapist mad because I would always burn through them when not in therapy because they were so interesting). My wife absolutely loves her. Her books are a product of her time.

I think this decision just throws red meat to the Trump base.

51 replies, 5149 views

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Arrow 51 replies Author Time Post
Reply Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award (Original post)
exboyfil Jun 2018 OP
madaboutharry Jun 2018 #1
exboyfil Jun 2018 #3
Sophia4 Jun 2018 #51
treestar Jun 2018 #2
Bettie Jun 2018 #32
treestar Jun 2018 #37
sinkingfeeling Jun 2018 #4
3catwoman3 Jun 2018 #6
3catwoman3 Jun 2018 #5
no_hypocrisy Jun 2018 #9
Trek4Truth Jun 2018 #7
peggysue2 Jun 2018 #8
Wounded Bear Jun 2018 #11
peggysue2 Jun 2018 #15
treestar Jun 2018 #36
lame54 Jun 2018 #20
Tipperary Jun 2018 #24
madaboutharry Jun 2018 #26
lame54 Jun 2018 #38
Bettie Jun 2018 #33
treestar Jun 2018 #34
LeftInTX Jun 2018 #43
exboyfil Jun 2018 #13
peggysue2 Jun 2018 #17
sweetloukillbot Jun 2018 #46
exboyfil Jun 2018 #10
JI7 Jun 2018 #12
csziggy Jun 2018 #14
DeminPennswoods Jun 2018 #25
csziggy Jun 2018 #42
WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2018 #16
Orsino Jun 2018 #44
fishwax Jun 2018 #18
WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2018 #19
Loki Liesmith Jun 2018 #31
WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2018 #39
Loki Liesmith Jun 2018 #41
Exotica Jun 2018 #21
Raine Jun 2018 #22
betsuni Jun 2018 #23
quickesst Jun 2018 #27
exboyfil Jun 2018 #30
quickesst Jun 2018 #35
MaryMagdaline Jun 2018 #28
exboyfil Jun 2018 #29
WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2018 #40
fishwax Jun 2018 #45
sweetloukillbot Jun 2018 #48
sweetloukillbot Jun 2018 #47
BannonsLiver Jun 2018 #49
sweetloukillbot Jun 2018 #50

Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:50 PM

1. Your link is bad.

This is not a new issue with literature. The original Nancy Drew books were grossly racist and anti Semitic. Gone With The Wind is a racist screed. William Shakespeare gave us Shylock. Charles Dickens gave us Fagen. The list of racist stereotypes of Blacks in literature is a thousand miles long. Asian women cringe at the way they have been portrayed in literature, usually as sex workers, Geishas, and concubines.

It is a dilemma.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:52 PM

3. Thank you

I fixed it.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 26, 2018, 01:51 AM

51. Learn and teach history.

 

Those who understand history can put ideas in their historical context.

The Romans had many slave. They also built aqueducts and did admirable things.

History teaches us to strive to improve society, but also to appreciate the progress we have made on many social issues.

When I was a child, most mothers did not work and were economically in some cases and cruelly dependent on their husbands. Many professions were completely barred to women.

Times have changed. We should not judge our mothers and grandmothers but rather be proud of the progress we have made as a society.

Most important, we should remember that we cannot judge ourselves as the future will judge us. On many issues including healthcare and access to education and continuing education, history will judge us harshly because we are very backward in those and other areas of our lives.

And what we are doing to our environment?????

The impact of our burning fossil fuels on future generations (if mankind survives) will make Laura Ingalls Wilder look like a saint.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:52 PM

2. She lived in her time

And descriwhat she observed. And you would think we donít want to forget about it.

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Response to treestar (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:29 AM

32. It also makes a good jumping off point

to talk about these attitudes then and how they are still around now and how each of us can work toward changing that.

My kids say I talk too much about the books they read.

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Response to Bettie (Reply #32)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:40 AM

37. So true. It is tougher to find these attitudes today

well maybe less so since Orange Idiot, but still.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:53 PM

4. I agree with you. Just like Mark Twain. They wrote as things were at the time.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:54 PM

6. GMTA.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:54 PM

5. And how about Mark Twain?

This is ridiculous.

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 07:00 PM

9. + 1

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:57 PM

7. And how was she supposed to portray them? nt

 

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 06:58 PM

8. Don't agree to banning books . . .

any books. We need to learn our own history, the good with the bad. So that we can make the future better. Plus, one step from banning books is the of burning books.

And we all know where that road leads.

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Response to peggysue2 (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 07:05 PM

11. I don't see how this is a "book banning"...

Changing the name of an award is hardly thowing her works in the fire.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 08:59 PM

15. Not throwing her books in the fire . . . yet

Anytime you censor, demote a book, limit its access, you are banning the written word. When a book's material is found objectionable for whatever reason, you are, in fact, banning particular thoughts, words, attitudes, etc. You're basically saying what she wrote in her time, her experience is bad, unacceptable.

It's called censorship and the act is bad regardless of what the reason. It is antithetical to the creative effort of any age or any mindset.

We desperately need to learn from our past--the good, the bad and the ugly. We cannot do that if we 'clean things up,' sanitize to a particular sensibility or a particular time. If the material is offensive, let it stand as it is, ribbons and awards complete and allow readers of today, tomorrow and in the future judge it for what is and what it is not.

That is the true test. That is the only test.

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Response to peggysue2 (Reply #15)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:39 AM

36. It does get absurd

The only reason Shakespeare isn't a problem is that he had no exposure to Native Americans to even write about them.

If we extended this reasoning to women, all of the Great Books would come under fire.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 01:15 AM

20. I've never heard of her so...

My first impression is she is racist
Others here think otherwise but their opinions are limited to this board
Her legacy will be tainted with this
Their decision will diminish the chance of new readers checking her out

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Response to lame54 (Reply #20)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 05:57 AM

24. You really have never heard of her?

Wow.

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Response to lame54 (Reply #20)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 06:04 AM

26. She was the author of "The Little House on The Prairie" Books.

You never heard of the television series based on her books starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert? It was on tv for 9 years.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #26)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 09:43 AM

38. of course i've heard of the show...

but i never had an interest in it so I don't know the details

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Response to lame54 (Reply #20)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:31 AM

33. She was born in 1867

and wrote about growing up as her family moved West.

So, yeah, she was a product of her time.

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Response to lame54 (Reply #20)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:35 AM

34. But then you didn't read the books

Also, women in her books were quite limited and she did not complain. So maybe she should be stripped of awards for that, too.

I don't recall her portrayal of Native Americans as particularly negative. I believe they were mistakenly granted land in Kansas and actually left peacefully when it came out it was a mistake and the land still belonged to the Native Americans.

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Response to lame54 (Reply #20)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 11:45 AM

43. She was a pioneer woman

She was born in Wisconsin, but traveled west with her family.

She lived in numerous frontier type towns.

I believe she began publishing her books in 1932 at request from her daughter. I think Laura saw the world changing drastically and wanted to record how it was before there were telephones, cars, radio etc. Her books are easy to read children's books.

Laura became a teacher and she writes about the requirements for becoming a teacher in the late 1800's. It was very different than 1932 standards.

I've read most of her books.
The one that impressed me the most was, "The Long Winter". They were living in South Dakota and had run out of winter food supplies. The trains were snowed out for months. The family was starving.

I was also impressed with the crazy math that she had to memorize to become a teacher. I believe she had to memorize a bunch of square roots etc. I believe she had to be able to do long division in her head without paper and pencil.

I read her books when I was adult, so I read them for a historical perspective.

I don't remember her interactions with Native Americans, mainly because I wasn't focused on that aspect of her life. I was interested in her day to day life more than anything.

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Response to peggysue2 (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 07:07 PM

13. I don't think any rational person is proposing

banning them, but the question is whether she deserves the honor of being included on the name of an award. My answer would be yes, and I recommend that they hyphenate the award with a more modern author's name as well who reflects more diversity. A lot of children in the last 80 years have developed a love of literature from her books. They are also important for an understanding of her time and place in history. She was a gifted writer.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #13)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 09:16 PM

17. I wouldn't expect any rational person to ban any book, ever

Yet it has happened throughout history.

Censorship of any kind is bad, unacceptable and a gargantuan slippery slope. If she deserved the honor in the moment then stripping the honor now is pointless. The written word is far too important to subject it to the ever-changing attitudes of one time frame to another. We can only learn from the past if there is an accurate record of attitudes--good, bad and ugly--from which to learn. Fictional accounts are an excellent record, filled with the habits, mindsets, materials, manner, colloquialisms of the day.

The books, any books, will sink or swim on their own merit. If they are deemed irrelevant, thoroughly objectionable in the future, they will go out of print. Poof! Gone of their own accord with the exception of second-hand book dealers or book fetishists.

That's the fate of most books and writers. Only the exceptional survive.



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Response to peggysue2 (Reply #17)

Tue Jun 26, 2018, 12:35 AM

46. Changing the name of an award isn't censorship

Libraries aren't pulling her books. They're saying she was a racist and shouldn't be honored with her name on an award. In fact most articles I've read are saying the books SHOULD be studied because they are a great jumping off point for discussions about racism and prejudice against Native Americans.

The same thing happened with the World Fantasy Award a couple years ago. It used to be a bust of HP Lovecraft, who was a horrible white supremacist. Nnedi Okorofor commented that it made her uncomfortable to have his bust on her bookshelf, and after much arguing about literary legacies, cries of censorship and other excuses, they changed the award trophy.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 07:03 PM

10. I can only think this is an example of academic group think

Who was actually pushing for it. I looked up the Board, and they are librarians and professors.

A better solution would have been making a hyphenated award that would contain Wilder's name as well as a more recent author whose work reflects better diversity.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 07:07 PM

12. Agree, we need to do both

 

Consider the times and at the same time use that to show how those things last even today.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 07:16 PM

14. The American Library Association is still giving acknowledgement to Wilder

AS another DUer said above, they just removed her name from the award:
About the Children's Literature Legacy Award

At its meeting on Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Association for Library Service to Children Board voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilderís legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSCís core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.

In the weeks following the ALA Annual Conference, these award webpages will be revised to reflect the new award name.


About the Award

Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. Winners are announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and are honored at the Annual Conference in June. The recipient receives a bronze medal and presents an acceptance speech. The award may be given posthumously.

The first award was given to its namesake in 1954. Thereafter, the ALSC Board established an ongoing award to recognize the lifetime achievement of a childrenís author and/or illustrator.

Between 1960 and 1980, the Wilder Award was given every five years. From 1980 to 2001, it was awarded every three years. As of 2001, it was awarded every two years, and since 2016 the medal has been given annually.

More: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/wildermedal/wilderabout


The ALA is not calling for Wilder's books to be removed from libraries. They just do not want to honor Wilder's heritage any longer by using her name for one of their awards.

I believe the best practice would be to keep the books but introduce some context about the period they are set in and the period in which they were written - the same as should be done for Mark Twain's books and many other American writers of the 19th century.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 06:01 AM

25. The new name is more reflective of what the award actually is

to be fair.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #25)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 11:09 AM

42. Yes, and I am all for it

The ALA has honored Wilder for over sixty years. It's time the award was not tied to a particular person or world view.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 09:06 PM

16. I don't have an issue with this. "Products of their time" shouldn't be held up as examples for the

present. Books can be both beloved and problematic at the same time, and reconsidering the name of an award does nothing to diminish LIW's work.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #16)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 12:00 PM

44. And Wilder's work has been an example for a long time.

It needs to be replaced by better examples, just as any author's might, or at least taught with plenty of context.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 09:22 PM

18. The naming of a top ALA award after her was also a product of its time, and times have changed

The books themselves abide.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2018, 09:30 PM

19. Dismantling institutional oppression means looking at our heroes critically, as well as our enemies.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #19)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:10 AM

31. Look at her books critically, keep the name on award

That was easy.

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Response to Loki Liesmith (Reply #31)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 09:52 AM

39. There's also the part where the organization that issues the award started having a discussion

about what it means to name an award after someone, reassessed how that person's work matches with the organization's mission, and decided to rename the award to more clearly include all young readers.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #39)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 10:58 AM

41. Yes. I don't agree with that part.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 01:21 AM

21. I agree with the ALA. nt

 

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 02:49 AM

22. I don't agree with this at all

it's wrong!

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 02:53 AM

23. I don't think they're that bad.

I remember "Little House on the Prairie" being the worst about Native Americans, but from then on (as far as I remember) it was the mother who hated them, not anyone else in the family, and in "The Long Winter" it was a native who warned the settlers of the bad weather to come. An embarrassing black face show in a later book. But Laura never seemed nasty about anything. Why not just edit those objectionable parts out in later editions?

I love Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I" (where the Ma and Pa Kettle movie characters came from), but she hates the tribes of the Olympic Peninsula and is really disgusting about it. Much worse.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 06:36 AM

27. My opinion is...

... if anyone living today including the majority here on Democratic Underground had lived the life and times that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived, they would more than likely have embraced the same views that she did, and recounted there stories in the same manner. My proof is in the fact that no one called her on it until 2018. People judging from a modern viewpoint is not really valid, especially since that viewpoint at that time was rare indeed., and I dare to venture, not widely accepted. If Laura Ingalls Wilder had lived and wrote in modern times chances are good that her outlook on race would be completely different.

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Response to quickesst (Reply #27)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 06:58 AM

30. Yes I have to wonder where it will stop

Like for example I would be perfectly ok with a public statue of Robert E. Lee in St. Louis recognizing his work as a US Army engineer on the Mississippi River.

By modern standards Abraham Lincoln was a racist. If you want to kick around awards how about the Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Awards. He was a retrograde racist in the White House going backward from Teddy Roosevelt.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #30)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 07:37 AM

35. Exactly

Applying modern morals and standards to people and events of the past without taking into consideration the morals and standards of that time will result in a flawed analysis. One might believe, in their opinion, that they are a good person with high morals and standards now, but, one thing they cannot do is state emphatically that they would have been the same person then.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 06:41 AM

28. Don't worry

Trump voters donít read

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Response to MaryMagdaline (Reply #28)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 06:51 AM

29. They listen to and read Fox News

and they read Wilder books. I am kind of on the periphery of the home schoolers in my area (I home schooled my daughter for two years in Social Studies and English because I resented the Baseball coach teaching 7th and 8th grade English). I really question if this is the time to be kicking around Wilder's legacy. I proposed hyphenating the award to include a more modern author who was more inclusive.

Fox News has already started using this decision in the red meat culture war.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 09:53 AM

40. Nothing is lost by renaming this award to more clearly and explicitly include all young readers.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #40)

Mon Jun 25, 2018, 12:50 PM

45. +1

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #40)

Tue Jun 26, 2018, 12:46 AM

48. Hell, I bet most of the people complaining the loudest had no idea the award existed.

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Response to exboyfil (Original post)

Tue Jun 26, 2018, 12:45 AM

47. DW Griffith was an incredible, pioneering filmmaker

He also made Birth of a Nation.
Should he have an award named after him?
Oh, wait, he did, and they changed the name because he was a racist.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #47)

Tue Jun 26, 2018, 01:12 AM

49. Not even remotely analogous

Wilder was writing through the eyes of a small girl (herself). DW Griffith was a fully developed adult when he made Birth of a Nation.

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Response to BannonsLiver (Reply #49)

Tue Jun 26, 2018, 01:25 AM

50. Racism is okay in children?

Not to mention that she wasn't a child when she wrote the books.

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