same shoes

What a great way to start the week—Amanda over at The Zen Leaf has posted a really thoughtful review of Wish.  Writers of color often have to work overtime to convince white educators and librarians that our books can resonate with readers of all races.  As soon as some people hear that Genna lives in “the ‘hood,” they assume her story isn’t theirs, isn’t “universal.”  But I appreciate the way Amanda connected with Genna’s struggles:

The book isn’t written in a way to only show one sort of discrimination, though. The feeling of being discriminated against is one that many people have felt, and not just because of skin tone. A Wish After Midnight is written in a way that you can sympathize and understand Genna based on your own experiences. As I read about Genna walking around feeling self-conscious, like everyone – black and white – was looking at her and judging her, I could empathize. I’m very overweight, and I know that feeling of being either stared at or completely ignored because of the way I look. I know what it feels like to have my every move scrutinized, and to be cast aside or thought of as less than human because of my weight. It was really nice to read a book that showed how multi-faceted the subject of prejudice and discrimination can be.

For me, it was a combination of my untameable hair and acne—I couldn’t stand having my picture taken, and even crossing the street was tough because I felt like everyone in the stopped cars was staring at me.  Often we think we need to take off our own shoes and walk a mile in someone else’s, but sometimes we just need to reflect on our own journey to self-acceptance—all of us know how it feels to be on the outside.  It’s not always—or only—about race.

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~ by elliottzetta on December 13, 2010.

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