Friday, April 17, 2009

maybe rethink the "morality of the country" bit

i stumbled upon this article about the magic of children's books, about the function of reading as a child, etc etc.

and yes, i agree. reading is important and potentially awesome however, the article lost me at this point when the author cites Megan Kelso, who has apparently written children's books:

"They're such moral books," Kelso says of the Little House series. "There's so much in them about how a good family should be, how communities help each other, the pioneer spirit, and the morality of the country." 1

errr... is she talking about the little house on the prairie books? because they're kind of racist.

i don't know, maybe we just have different ideas of what "moral" means here.

so in the book when laura asks her 'ma' why she doesn't "like Indians" and ma replies "i just don't like them; and don't like your fingers laura" is the moral part the part about not liking Indians or not licking your dirty fingers?

when laura sits by and listens to her ma and mrs. scott talk about the genocide of indians and theft of their land by the settlers and mrs. scott calls this "common sense and justice" because the indians are "wild animals" who "roam around over this country" and that "treaties or no treaties...the land belongs to folks that'll farm it" that's moral?

or maybe kelso's favorite moral lesson from the book is when mrs. scott says(in front of laura) that "the only good indian is a dead indian"?

i don't know, it just seems like a bad idea to ignore this kind of racist and imperalist shit in children's books and pretend that it's somehow neutralized by the magic awesomeness of reading.

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