Friday, August 24, 2012

It's Not All Black and White

It's Not All Black and White: 
Multiracial Youth Speak Out
St. Stephen's Community House
Annick Press

This is a fascinating look into the world of those who aren't easily "labeled" as one race or ethnicity. I realized in reading it just how much I think in terms of racial or ethnic categories--not because I'm trying to ostracize one group or favor another, but because it seems easier to lump books and people into particular categories. Maybe it's the teacher and librarian in me who likes to know how to classify a book so that I could fit it into a lesson plan or match it up with a student. But this book shows readers that all is not black and white. There are many people in our country who don't easily fit into one ethnic or racial group.

The book is a series of reflections by multiracial youth; some write poems, some write memories of growing up, some reflect on the different social or cultural groups with which they've tried to identify themselves. The overwhelming conclusion seems to be these kids are never fully comfortable in one ethnic group if it means ignoring another part of their heritage.

By turns gritty or heartwarming, this would make a terrific addition to a study of culture or simply as a discussion starter for high school kids about how our culture defines us and limits or expands our potential. How does our own cultural background shape how we think about and treat those around us, particularly when they look different? How often do we make snap assumptions about someone's cultural background based on the way they look, or the group they hang out with regardless of whether that particular person even looks like the group? And what does Scripture say about how we treat others? (There are LOTS of passages that apply here!!)

Due out in September, this book is a short, interesting read that's geared towards high school students/ young adults.

Thanks for my Advance Reader's Copy from Annick Press via netgalley; cover image from goodreads

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