Contribution to Diversity

Use this forum to discuss the July 2018 Book of the Month "Toni the Superhero" by R.D. Base
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Zain A Blade
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Contribution to Diversity

Post by Zain A Blade » 06 Jul 2018, 12:21

I liked the portrayal of the book's hero as a black kid, it will no doubt appeal to children in the African-American community and the larger Black African community as a whole. But the book also showed Toni playing with children of other ethnicities, what subtle message(s) about social inclusion and cultural diversity do you think this book will relay to young children?

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Post by ereason » 08 Jul 2018, 05:22

I noticed that Toni had all sorts of friends, boys, girls, diverse cultures, and also that it wasn't just Mum=chores, friends=fun. I don't think very young children will be conscious of the message, but it will (subtly, as you say) show them that friends don't have to be identical. It turns it into a non-issue before they're old to realise that once upon a time it may have been an issue.

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Post by Storm+ » 08 Jul 2018, 17:12

I think that this book subtly makes it clear that social inclusion is important, and that a child doesn't have to have friends who are the same gender or ethnicity as them. The topic is obviously not explicitly addressed, but I think that the portrayal of different "types" of people getting along and living their lives helps subtly normalize acceptance and friendship without social or ethnic barriers.

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Post by CambaReviewer » 08 Jul 2018, 17:20

To be honest, this social inclusion message may be obvious to adults, but for children between the ages of 3 to 6, who I think are the target audience in this book, they will hardly notice. Usually at their age, unless someone has taken great pains to teach them discrimination based on race or gender, most children will just be children and will naturally interact freely and play with each other. It is a useful message though. I did not even think about it when I read the book.

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Post by Abdulsalam007+ » 08 Jul 2018, 17:46

Diversity is heavily connected to human existence as my perceptions of things would certainly be distinct from other members of these forums. However, cultural, religious and social diversities are often sung and echoed to the detriment of human race. As such, this book defies the negatives of diversities as it recognises and positively celebrates diversities for the betterment of human race.

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Post by holsam_87 » 08 Jul 2018, 17:52

It will definitely show that friends can come from all backgrounds.
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Post by Kendra M Parker » 08 Jul 2018, 20:51

CambaReviewer wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 17:20
To be honest, this social inclusion message may be obvious to adults, but for children between the ages of 3 to 6, who I think are the target audience in this book, they will hardly notice. Usually at their age, unless someone has taken great pains to teach them discrimination based on race or gender, most children will just be children and will naturally interact freely and play with each other. It is a useful message though. I did not even think about it when I read the book.
I agree that the target audience of this book will not likely even notice. The socio-cultural development of kids at this stage really doesn’t include race so much as gender. Kids begin to notice these differences as they get older. The subtle, almost hidden message here may be a positive influence for those later stages. Kids will read this book over and over and study the images, even if they don’t understand the “meaning” behind them yet.

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Post by julessawyer » 09 Jul 2018, 11:20

I think kids rarely see color but racism like all prejudices is learned. It will be good to teach kids at a young age about not fearing the "others" that don't look like him/herself.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 09 Jul 2018, 12:01

CambaReviewer wrote:
08 Jul 2018, 17:20
To be honest, this social inclusion message may be obvious to adults, but for children between the ages of 3 to 6, who I think are the target audience in this book, they will hardly notice. Usually at their age, unless someone has taken great pains to teach them discrimination based on race or gender, most children will just be children and will naturally interact freely and play with each other. It is a useful message though. I did not even think about it when I read the book.
I absolutely agree with you. I didn't even think about Toni or the other children's ethnicities/nationalities/races until these forum discussions began. I just saw a group of kids and the two women I assumed to be mom and sister. I think children will see this in the same light.

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Post by P Reefer » 09 Jul 2018, 15:39

Zain A Blade wrote:
06 Jul 2018, 12:21
I liked the portrayal of the book's hero as a black kid, it will no doubt appeal to children in the African-American community and the larger Black African community as a whole. But the book also showed Toni playing with children of other ethnicities, what subtle message(s) about social inclusion and cultural diversity do you think this book will relay to young children?
I think it will relay a positive message in a healthy society that aspires for equal treatment of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, gender or status.

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Post by Kibetious » 09 Jul 2018, 16:34

Diversity is a fact of life and we cannot run away from this reality. One thing that I am sure about is that the issue of race is not the only diverse thing or the difference between humanity. Within humanity, there are other factors that cause us to be different but the common ground is that we are all human beings. I believe that the kids may not mind much about the skin color of Toni. However, the author did a good job making sure that Toni had all sorts of friends. It is a great way of enhancing and promoting diversity.
​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy :techie-studyinggray:

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Post by Kibetious » 09 Jul 2018, 16:36

julessawyer wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 11:20
I think kids rarely see color but racism like all prejudices is learned. It will be good to teach kids at a young age about not fearing the "others" that don't look like him/herself.
This is very true. What matters most is how the kids are brought are up and the kind of messages they are exposed to, especially along the line of ethnicity. It will be good to teach kids to appreciate the fact that all people, no matter the differences, are human beings.
​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy :techie-studyinggray:

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Post by Britty01 » 09 Jul 2018, 17:04

It demonstrates cooperation and acceptance among ethnic groups in a subtle way. The positive messages hopefully will stay with them as they grow older.

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Post by ScoutWrites » 09 Jul 2018, 20:22

I think it's important that Toni's friends are different ethnicities, not necessarily because kids will notice this, but because I think they would notice if all the characters were the same. Maybe not consciously, but it would have a subconscious effect, and we definitely shouldn't be communicating to our children that they can only be friends with people who look like them.

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Post by julessawyer » 10 Jul 2018, 19:19

Kibetious wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 16:36
julessawyer wrote:
09 Jul 2018, 11:20
I think kids rarely see color but racism like all prejudices is learned. It will be good to teach kids at a young age about not fearing the "others" that don't look like him/herself.
This is very true. What matters most is how the kids are brought are up and the kind of messages they are exposed to, especially along the line of ethnicity. It will be good to teach kids to appreciate the fact that all people, no matter the differences, are human beings.
Yes! It is our responsibility as an adult to teach children that and celebrate individual differences!

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