NEW YORK —A week ago, writer Carolivia Herron was informed she couldn’t visit a school in Brooklyn. This week, she was informed she wasn’t wanted at a school in Queens.
The cause of the rebuffs? They’ve related to “Nappy Hair,” her book about only a little dark girl’s unruly locks. Herron is touring colleges and libraries here to explain the history that has been the target of a tough conversation among academics, experts, and writers about racism for the last few months.
In “Nappy Hair,” the 51-year-old Herron, who’s dark, tells how her dad has shown her to observe her hair–and her culture. The controversy shocked her since Herron doesn’t respect “nappy” or frizzy as negative.
But four months ago, a group of parents named teacher Ruth Sherman a racist for examining the book to her third-grade school at PS 75 in Brooklyn. She was physically threatened. She called for a transfer. Now teaching at PS 131 in Queens, Sherman claims she still thinks bitter.
And neither school allows Herron, at the least, for the time being, to come calmly to explain.
“I’m prohibited in New York Town,” Herron says.
Not so, counters Felicita Santiago, principal of PS 75. She describes that the school is too active today, choosing a curriculum for next year, introducing that Herron can visit later in the year. Santiago, who does not know whether the award-winning book can participate in her curriculum, claims a visit by Herron today could be disruptive.
PS 131 in Queens hasn’t responded to issues about why Herron can’t visit. Sherman claims it is basically because the school area did not need any more controversy. (Its superintendent was fired later for unrelated reasons.) “Almost any attention is bad,” she says.
Critics charge that maintaining Herron away from these colleges illustrates an attitude toward multicultural books perpetuating the controversy. “The decision lacks feeling and ethical courage,” claims Roni Nov, a British teacher at Brooklyn College, who invited Herron to speak to her class. “They may have created a learning opportunity out from the situation.”
And by managing what occurred to Sherman as an isolated event, the critics say, school authorities are preventing the unpredictable conditions that “Nappy Hair” has evoked. The controversy is all about more than the book, they add. It is all about the types of books utilized in colleges and how they are used.
Myra Zarnowski, teacher of primary and early childhood training at Queens College, said educators are usually reluctant to use controversial books. Research indicates that educators tend to refuse opinions different from their particular and refuse books they believe might frighten kiddies, Zarnowski says. “The actual issue is just how much data are we ready to share with kiddies fairly, and just how much time are we ready to decide to try to demonstrate to them just how to study it.”
Cheryl Willis Hudson, a publisher of Just People Books, an unbiased black-owned publishing home, claims that the scarcity of multicultural books in curriculum causes this concern since the rare book shown becomes an anomaly. “If there are many books that portray African-American Americans and kiddies of color in a myriad of scenarios, there could be less controversy about one specific book,” she says. “Black persons may have the right hair, nappy hair, kinky hair, and curly hair, and so can bright people.” If educators provide different images to kiddies, Hudson claims, they will probably grow older without evaluating persons by their skin tone and bodily features.
Herron tells a story. Once, she studies “Nappy Hair” at a fifth-grade school that had only one dark child. When she achieved a point in the book about slavery, the kid set his head down on his table in shame. “If I had not had the opportunity to have that young boy to remain upright, proud and tall, in his seat, I could have ended the history,” she claims, “because it’s not worth it to damage the people for whom the book was prepared and out of whose tradition it was written.”if you want more information Click Here