Thursday, July 02, 2009

Changing Children's Literature and Hopefully Children's Lives

As soon as I get some money together, I am bent on buying the book Dottie the Sock: How I Found My Pair by Christine Gayle. I don't exactly know how it pans out, but the basic premise is that Dottie is a sock who is desperately searching for her pair. She asks everyone she knows but doesn't realize who her pair is until she looks inside herself, and apparently, discovers that her pair is another female sock. Now, apparently some (overly conservative, probably religious) parents are angry because they don't want to be reading their kids a story about "gay socks," but personally, I would be incredibly excited to read this to my (possibly future) kids (at least I think so... I need to read it first myself, of course - something those critical parents should have done as well.)

It's really inspiring though that a straight woman is creating a book addressing the issue of accepting homosexuality through a children's book... for several reasons. Let's face facts: there are many straight people who couldn't care less about gay rights or hate crimes or anything related to that. Many people in life are just happy it's "not them" and go on their merry way. If there's one thing I learned in my first semester at UM, it's that those who are least oppressed are the ones who tend to see things from a much narrower perspective, and those who are most oppressed tend to be able to empathize more with the plight of others. Gayle says she got the idea for the book after reading about the tragic suicides of four grade school children who were teased for being different. I've heard about kids in highschool committing suicide because they were teased to the point of despair. But holy shit, GRADE SCHOOL CHILDREN?? What kind of a fucked up society are we living in that little kids... maybe 10 or 11 years old hanging themselves because some ignorant classmates thought it was funny to make fun of them because they were (or were perceived to be) gay?! It's sick and it's sad that we live in this kind of world.

But Gayle is doing something about it in her own way, and honestly, it inspires me to perhaps do something similar someday. I've always toyed with the idea of writing a kids book, and this is definitely a much better way of going about it. Obviously, there are children in pain and in need of knowing that it's not worth ending your life because someone makes ignorant comments. And these uneducated bullies need someone to tell them that this kind of behavior is NOT okay and that they need to learn to understand and respect others.

So do yourself a favor and go check out this book and read it to your kids and teach them about accepting one another (and not taking the criticisms of the ignorant too seriously.) I know I wish there would've been more books like this when I was growing up in silence.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Gay socks are wrong just like interracial shoes. When will you learn. I'm just kidding.
It is a fact you have to start kids young. Especially when it comes to destroying persecution of people simply cause they are different.