White Adults Sometimes Think That if a Black Child's on the Cover It Is Perhaps Not for Them, Really?


West Yorkshire, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/08/2013 -- In an article in the Daily Mail, June 04, Malorie Blackman, the new laureate of children’s literature is quoted as saying ‘… white adults sometimes think that if a black child's on the cover it is perhaps not for them’. Did she really say that? Could someone in her esteemed position really make such a gross generalization? As a writer of ‘inclusive children’s literature, I was shocked to read such a statement. White people buy my Amara Para, Global Friendship books (which celebrate diverse characters from around the world white, black, brown and yellow) as much as people of color. They purchase my books because they love the concept of Global Friendship and find the content and characters cute, interesting and educational. They want their children to learn about the world and different cultures.

Such generalizations are not only offensive but do not facilitate intercultural dialogue and exchange. How can you invite people from different cultures to exchange ideas about diversity and global culture if you are quoted as making gross generalizations about a specific cultural or ethnic group? There are numerous reasons why white people whether they are English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, American, French or Russian might buy books. Unless, scientists develop some new super machine that allows us to read the minds of every white person on the planet we will never know who avoids buying books with black faces on the cover. In simple terms, one can never measure such a thing. It is absurd.

What we do know about white people’s buying habits in the US and UK pertaining to black artists is this; White people buy more music produced by black artists than black people do! Is this because white people think that if a black musician or singer is on the cover of a CD, magazine or website his or her music is perhaps not for them? Obviously not!

It is far too simplistic and ignorant to stereotype group behaviours without sufficient facts. If Malorie Blackman as the new laureate of children’s literature in the UK wants to address the issue concerning the challenges of publishing or selling books by people of colour she should offer positive and productive ways to address that. Don’t accuse every white person of ‘sometimes thinking that if a black child's on the cover it is perhaps not for them.’

As a writer, I believe Malorie Blackman is in a fortunate position to use her voice to inspire and educate aspiring writers and readers alike. However, statements such as the one quoted in the Daily Mail June 04, will only serve to alienate her from the majority of people in UK society.

H Aitoro Author of Amara Para book series, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK