Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tolerance versus Acceptance

At a recent panel discussion with wonderful authors Dana Levy and Susan Ross, I spoke about tolerance versus acceptance. I've started writing an essay on this topic, but here are some quick thoughts:

We often expound on the virtues of tolerance, but really, don't we want to do more than merely "tolerate" those whom we deem to be different from us in some way or another? To tolerate someone implies that we're irritated by them or that we dislike their views - but despite this deep-rooted sense that they aren't quite right, we do our best to co-exist with them. It's a live and let-live policy.

To accept someone is to embrace them - or at least to warmly shake hands with them - although we mayn't agree with them. Acceptance implies equality. I think that if we're truly to promote diverse books, we need to accept one another, taking a step or two beyond mere tolerance.

At a workshop later, I also mentioned diverse books that I've read and enjoyed. In some cases, I can't judge authenticity; all I can say is that I liked them. I also mentioned some websites that I think serve as extremely useful resources: Cynthia Leitich Smith's Blog; Deb Reese's Blog; The Primary Source Website, The Global Library; Disability in Kid's Lit, and of course, the We Need Diverse Books website. The books I mentioned were:

Novels on the Disability Experience: 

The Sound of All Things
Out of My Mind
The Black Book of Colors
Challenger Deep
The War That Saved My Life
Me and Rupert Goody
Tending to Grace
On the Edge of Reason
El Deafo - a marvelous
 graphic novel 

Authors writing from outside a culture:
The Language Inside
A Path of Stars
The Good Braider
22 cents: The Story of Mohammed Younis
The Red Pencil
Many Stones

Authors writing about their cultures and diversity within a culture:
First Nations - Joseph Bruchac, Deb Reese, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Shonto Begay
Cuban-American - Margarita Engle, Alma Ada Flor, Richard Blanco
African-American Authors whose work is remarkable but for some reason don't seem to be read as widely and as often as I'd expect: Brenda Woods, Nikki Grimes, Marilyn Nelson (despite a Newberry and a National Book Award, her amazing work for children and young adults seems relatively unknown)

Intersectionality: When Reason Breaks, God Loves Hair, The Memory of Light

Global Narratives: Tofu Quilt, Little Green, Yellow Star, Like Water on Stone, Dust of Eden