Parents, if we simply rely on Disney and Mattel to decide what images reflect today’s children, we may be waiting a long time for diverse offerings. Many organizations, including Little Proud Kid, have realized that providing multicultural toys and media will require us to become the change we need in order to provide a more immediate solution.
Having diverse characters reflected in books, toys and animated series is important; children who don’t see themselves reflected in these mediums may wonder, “Am I important? Am I beautiful?” On the other hand, white children who are predominately reflected, won’t consider those questions and in turn may show indifference for anything outside this presented image. It is an alarming cycle and one that can be broken by supporting an organization that hopes to teach our children something beyond what has been shown to them thus far.
According to Lee & Low, a children’s book publisher specializing in diversity, on average only 10% of children’s books published each year are by or about people of color. They explain that most of the publishing gatekeepers and decision-makers are generally white and so the experiences of those from other backgrounds are not promoted. Lee & Low says, “Publishers have usually put the responsibility on readers for the lack of diverse representation in books. The extremely dated adage that ‘diverse books do not sell’ has become a belief that has reached mythical proportions. While it’s important for readers to support diverse books with their dollars and voices, it’s equally important for publishers to self-reflect on how they can do better on their end. We must acknowledge that one factor contributing to the lack of diverse books is the lack of diversity among the people who edit, market, review and sell the books”.
This tremendous responsibility to change the publishing, toy, television and movie industry (!) has fallen on all of us who know this is imperative for our children. It is daunting; however, we are not alone and the passion each organization and individual shares more than makes up for the immense challenge we face. Organizations such as We Need Diverse Books “advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people”. Further still, The Brown Bookshelf presents a myriad of African American voices for young readers and even celebrities like Taye Diggs has published a children’s book with a message of difference being beautiful. Diversity initiatives are there; it is up to parents and grandparents to make the decision to stand with us.
Supporting these organizations, including Little Proud Kid, that support the mission of generating diverse products that our children consume, means taking an active role in creating change. It means you want your child to see a reflection of themselves or a reflection of the actual world we live in today. This is something that all parents from every race, culture and background can get behind. Will you take the lead with us? In October 2015, Little Proud Kid will launch a Crowdfunding campaign as the first step in changing how minority and multicultural children see themselves in the world. Visit our website at www.littleproudkid.com and sign up to receive updates on our upcoming campaign.
Little Proud Kid
A place to celebrate all people… one people. We focus on bringing an array of multicultural toys, books, resources and more to help you teach and celebrate the uniqueness in each and every child.