The Interracial Family in Children’s Literature

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2012-01-29 20:40Z by Steven

The Interracial Family in Children’s Literature

The Reading Teacher
Volume 31, Number 8 (May, 1978)
pages 909-915

Margo Alexandre Long

Books about interracial families have just recently begun to reflect America’s pluralistic society.

A Discussion of the interracial family (a family unit in which members are of various racial backgrounds) in American children’s literature must begin with a brief historical account of the interracial family in the United States. Lystad states (1977, p. 238):

Children’s books reflect the attitudes and values of a people, as older generations go about educating younger ones to the ideals and standards they feel are most important… Changes in book content over the decades… reflect changes in people’s feelings about what is significant in their world and what is to be prized in human relationships and achievement.

In any given society, then, children’s books generally reflect the values and attitudes of those who dominate that society.

Race mixture has occured extensively throughout history. Yet many sociologists and anthropologists have stated that intermarriage is one of the strongest fears of many Americans, and indeed a great motivator for maintaining segregation. Myrdal (1944), for example, used a sociological survey to demonstrate White Americans’ fear of intermarriage as far back as 1944. Zabel (1965) suggested this trend in his review of the legal literature which prohibited interracial marriage, and Henriques (1975) substantiated this from a historical perspective. Most recently. Stember (1976) cited novelists, pollsters, psychoanalysts. Black leaders, and segregationists in postulating that “presumed sexual consequences are the biggest threat to integration.”

The U.S. has a tradition of miscegenation legislation specifically aimed at prohibiting marriage between Black and White. The first was…

Purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,