Skip to content

Tag: neesha meminger

India Independence Day

India Independence Day bannerToday marks the sixty-seventh anniversary of India’s declaration of freedom from British colonial rule. It’s a time to remember the remarkable achievements of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, each of whom fought for independence using different tactics. It’s also the anniversary of the partitioning of India into two countries (later three) — areas in eastern and western India were appropriated to create Muslim-dominated Pakistan. Nevertheless, these recent developments in India’s history, however significant, are but the thinnest layer of India’s history, which stretches back to the Stone Age.

Six Blind Men and ElephantThere is an apt fable [.doc] that we can use to illustrate how difficult it is to fully grasp the essence of India. Six blind men hear that an elephant has come to their town. Since none of them have any knowledge of elephants, they rush to discover what it is like. Using their hands, they each touched a different part of the elephant, thus:

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.
“Oh,no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.
“Oh,no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

When they begin to argue, a wise man stopped to explain how they had all been partially right. The elephant is much like India. Some find it sprawling and messy, some find it highly spiritual, some see economic opportunity, some see disgraceful abuse of women. All of those things are true, but none of them are the whole truth.


Showing Our True Colors: YA Covers That Got it Right in 2012

Publishing companies aren’t putting out enough YA titles that feature protagonists of color. And when they do, some book covers try to hide or obscure the characters’ race by showing them in silhouette or in shadow, or at times whitewashing them completely. Even the most diverse library collections sometimes look homogenous when you just see the covers. Don’t believe me? Check out my post from last week: “It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers.”

The problem is insidious, but it’s not completely pervasive, as many of you pointed out in the post comments last week. There are a lot of publishers, authors, and books that have no problem putting people of color on the covers of their books. So I just wanted to take a moment to recognize and celebrate those folks who understand how important it is for everyone to be able to see their own identity validated on the cover of a book. Here are some books covers that got race right in 2012.

Ichiro by Ryan InzanaA.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division by Douglas RushoffNever Fall Down by Patricia McCormickBoy21 by Matthew Quick