To Ban or Not to Ban: Little Black Sambo
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I wouldn't choose to buy Little Black Sambo for a 2-year-old. But if an older child with opinions of her own wanted to buy it, or check it out, then I hope I would do the same I would with any book: encourage their exploration, help them understand that the book conveys a particular set of values, and reiterate that my values are antiracist.
Oddly enough, those old-time conventions about drawing black characters (what the article author called "pickaninny figures") are well and alive in some unlikely places (at least I'd have thought they'd be unlikely). I was surprised by them in Cuba, but I didn't discuss it with anyone there. As far as I could tell, most of the souvenirs were made locally (not sure about T-shirts). Moreover, there were such masks and costumes used in a huge fiesta, by the black participants. In New Orleans, the Zulu parade features participants in blackface, but this felt entirely different, entirely un-self conscious.