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thalassa
28 Jan 2014, 12:59
So...the title might be a little misleading (also am on the fone, so excuse the lack of proper grammar, punctuation & spelling)...but i read alot of older books with the kids--little house on the prairie, dr doolittle, etc... and dang, i never realized how un-pc they were! I'm pretty sure i would have remembered the more obvious parts (like mark twain's writings) but, i'm wondering if the versions i read as a kid were cleaned up a bit?

Anyhoo....in this situation, if it doesnt change the story line or tone, do you clean it up a bit or gloss over it? Or, do you read it as is and use it as a teachable moment? Because, while i prefer the latter, sometimes (like bedtime) its just an awkward time...and sometimes, i'm not sure if they are equipped to understand the context or why something would be written in a certain way when that is clealy not "right" and think it distracts and detracts from the larger story (but, sometimes they are).

What are some ways to approach this? And at what ages?

...just looking for different opinions

Rowanwood
28 Jan 2014, 13:10
I honestly thing I'd just read a different story until they are old enough to get it...and that would depend on the kid.

You're welcome for the total lack of help. ;)

Tylluan Penry
28 Jan 2014, 13:15
Anything I found un-PC when my children were young, I just stopped the story and we talked about how perhaps things would be different nowadays.
Of course, it took aaaages to finish a story, but still....

monsno_leedra
28 Jan 2014, 13:22
If I have the original story then that is what I would read without changing anything. I personally think it wrong to correct things to make them politically correct today when those ethics, morality, and word usage didn't apply to the time frame the things were written. We encourage critical thinking but then remove the items through pc police which I think removes the notion of critical thinking regardless of age.

Sad part is its not just stories that are changed. I've seen historical speeches changed because modern society doesn't like what is omitted or implied. Yet the speech then becomes not the historical speech that changed a period of time. One recently I saw was Patrick Henry's speech about "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their (Party) country!" that was changed to make it all good people. When I retired there was another Chief who retired and our Executive Officer changed his plaque as the speech he wanted read didn't meet her ethics so she changed a historical speech to make it politically correct. I know it pissed him off because the speech meant a lot to him and for her to change it because she didn't like it was wrong. She didn't like it because it was a Kennedy speech that referred to men only and she though that wrong for the then current military.

- - - Updated - - -

As an added though would you stop a classic movie or play your watching because it has politically incorrect things? Consider Shakespeare for instance, there is a lot that is politically incorrect today. The Wizard of Oz has a lot of non-pc stuff today but would you change the classic or forbid your children from watching or hearing it?

Rick
28 Jan 2014, 13:59
My favorite story books as a very small child? Little Black Sambo, and Brer Rabbit (from Uncle Remus). Even though "black" was in the title, in the story Sambo and his family were from India; I didn't care. A small child outwitted ferocious tigers, and the tigers looked hilarious wearing Sambo's clothes, and it served them right being turned into tiger butter cuz they were so mean. Brer Rabbit was a rascal and a rapscallion, and I loved him. He was brilliant. Again, no thoughts one might associate with racism went through my innocent little head. Because children have innocent hearts and minds, and don't understand such notions as racism until they are taught to understand. Children (who are treated kindly, anyway) are innately kind to everyone. Before beginning, remind them that things in the 'old days' weren't the same as today. Then read the story. Encourage them to ask about anything they don't understand (hopefully, that's something they are secure in, anyway). If a story feels iffy, skip it for later, maybe. But for my two cents, don't over think it. Kids are smart, they know a story is just a story.

thalassa
28 Jan 2014, 17:01
As an added though would you stop a classic movie or play your watching because it has politically incorrect things? Consider Shakespeare for instance, there is a lot that is politically incorrect today. The Wizard of Oz has a lot of non-pc stuff today but would you change the classic or forbid your children from watching or hearing it?

Maybe I explained this poorly (I was @ gymnastics lessons on my phone)...

I'd never forbid my kids from reading anything (or from watching a movie based on a book, or from watching most movies on an age appropriate basis)...actually, I'm pretty sure I'm be way more lenient with what my kids can read than what they can watch (which is how I was raised). But, I'm also assuming that by the time they can read and plow through certain material on their own, they can handle it--I read Faulkner, and The Color Purple, and The Confessions of Nat Turner in middle school because I had a mother that required me to read at least one book off the ALA's banned book list every week during the summer (I've been reading at about 125 (papberback-sized) pages an hour since I was a kid). Honestly, with the exception two of his comedies and some of his poetry, I hate Shakespeare...but I also figure that by the time they can read Shakespeare, they'd be able to understand the historical context...or Les Miserables, or Hemingway, etc.

But...my kids are pre-k and first grade, and we are reading stuff that is a couple years ahead of their reading skills--within their grasp, but not necessarily within their full comprehension. I fully believe in not lying to my kids--Chickadee knows where babies come from and how they get there and even (very vaguely) that there are ways to prevent them from getting there, and even what a period is, etc. Its not that this isn't too sensitive of a topic...its more that...well...topics like this either mean we take our 20 minutes of bedtime reading and turn it into an hour (or longer) discussion (which has happened more than once already).

I'm one of those people that love books. Love them. Adore them. I've only a few times met a book I didn't finish (and I can remember every single book, it is that rare), and only twice started a series I didn't see to the end. I have tattered, old, dog-eared, falling apart (should really be tossed) books, in boxes, like long lost museum stock, only because I find the idea of throwing a book away to be as bad a burning one. I have books that I felt compelled to buy (at the thrift store or church bazaar), simply because I thought they were awful and didn't want someone else to pick them up (this one, specifically (http://www.babble.com/mom/to-train-up-a-child-teaches-punishment-that-kills-kids/)), but then couldn't get myself to get rid of it, because that's book abuse (its not the book's fault that the author is flawed!) (the hubby went behind my back to get rid of it, lol). Seriously...my book addiction is that bad.

So, when I say that I've considered *skipping* part of a book, or changing it, its not something I'm considering at whim...its just that I don't think its necessarily conducive for a 5 and 6 year old to be having complex history discussions when they are supposed to be catching their zzzzzzzzzzzzzz's. And, I'm not sure that, developmentally, its necessary for them. Like...I just want them to like the story that counts, I don't want to turn every night into history lesson time (we have a story book specifically for that purpose already!). I'm just sort of at the point where reading the story and skipping the racially or whatever charged commentary (because only rarely is it contributory to the story), so that they can enjoy the story without it becoming a lecture sounds like a good idea (for which I feel vaguely guilty for doing a disservice to history)...and then letting them rediscover that on their own when they are able to read it themselves, and discussing it then.

monsno_leedra
28 Jan 2014, 17:25
Maybe I explained this poorly (I was @ gymnastics lessons on my phone)...

Probably more on my end with all the pain pills I've been sucking down today and prior this week. That coupled to the fact I have a horrible problem of reading into things vice just reading things. Sorry part of the signals analyst training and practice I did through most of my Naval Career.


I'd never forbid my kids from reading anything. But, I'm also assuming that by the time they can read and plow through certain material on their own, they can handle it--I read Faulkner, and The Color Purple, and The Confessions of Nat Turner in middle school because I had a mother that required me to read at least one book off the ALA's banned book list every week during the summer (I've been reading at about 125 (papberback-sized) pages an hour since I was a kid). Honestly, with the exception two of his comedies and some of his poetry, I hate Shakespeare...and I also figure that by the time they can read Shakespeare, they'd be able to understand the historical context...or Les Miserables, or Hemingway, etc.

I can appreciate that. I was always encouraged to read anything that I got my hands on. Granted some of it i'd rather have dental work done than try to get through it ever again. I agree about Shakespeare as well, some of his stuff I find interesting and a good read, other parts, well lets just say except for a college class I haven't touched it again.


But...my kids are pre-k and first grade, and we are reading stuff that is a couple years ahead of their reading skills--within their grasp, but not necessarily within their full comprehension. I fully believe in not lying to my kids--Chickadee knows where babies come from and how they get there and even (very vaguely) that there are ways to prevent them from getting there, and even what a period is, etc. Its not that this isn't too sensitive of a topic...its more that...well...topics like this either mean we take our 20 minutes of bedtime reading and turn it into an hour (or longer) discussion (which has happened more than once already).

Not sure which books your speaking of here so its sort of guessing against what I'd read to my grandchildren. Yet take the story of the Little Mermaid, my gdaughter loves the Disney story but it was a bit uncertain about telling her the story version where she turns to sea foam at the end. So it's one we haven't read but it's also one she hasn't really expressed an interest in. Yet she loves the SONG OF THE SOUTH movie Disney put out and understands, well I think she understands, the historical usage or certain words and why we don't use them today.


I'm one of those people that love books. Love them. Adore them. I've only a few times met a book I didn't finish (and I can remember every single book, it is that rare), and only twice started a series I didn't see to the end. I have tattered, old, dog-eared, falling apart (should really be tossed) books, in boxes, like long lost museum stock, only because I find the idea of throwing a book away to be as bad a burning one. I have books that I felt compelled to buy (at the thrift store or church bazaar), simply because I thought they were awful and didn't want someone else to pick them up (this one, specifically (http://www.babble.com/mom/to-train-up-a-child-teaches-punishment-that-kills-kids/)), but then couldn't get myself to get rid of it, because that's book abuse (its not the book's fault that the author is flawed!) (the hubby went behind my back to get rid of it, lol). Seriously...my book addiction is that bad.

I can relate to the love of books, It's a sad situation I think when you consider how many will not make it to being published today because books almost seem to be a thing of the past and no one wants to read from a book.


So, when I say that I've considered *skipping* part of a book, or changing it, its not something I'm considering at whim...its just that I don't think its necessarily conducive for a 5 and 6 year old to be having complex history discussions when they are supposed to be catching their zzzzzzzzzzzzzz's. And, I'm not sure that, developmentally, its necessary for them. Like...I just want them to like the story that counts, I don't want to turn every night into history lesson time (we have a story book specifically for that purpose already!). I'm just sort of at the point where reading the story and skipping the racially or whatever charged commentary (because only rarely is it contributory to the story), so that they can enjoy the story without it becoming a lecture sounds like a good idea (for which I feel vaguely guilty for doing a disservice to history)...and then letting them rediscover that on their own when they are able to read it themselves, and discussing it then.

I used to think maybe you could skip parts or change it but then I though about the author who actually wrote the work. Most carefully choose the words they select because of any number of reasons and what it conveyed to their audience. Granted some things have not withstood the passage of time and seem wrong by today's standards. Yet if we respect the purpose of the book and the story that is being told I think we have to keep the old words. It's like Edgar Rice Burroughs used many despariging words for blacks in his works yet to try and remove them really does a dis-service to his story and his times. Yet I also ponder as a writer do I want the works I do today to be torn apart and changed because the ethics and morality of society will change in the future? My words, the current and energy of my writing will reflect the energy of my times, whether it be good or bad which is what those earlier writers have passed to us.

I think many times we hang upon words or situations in a story that our children never notice for they cling to the greater story being told to them. So certain words, concepts, etc will be passed right over unless we do something to make them take notice of it. It's usually the stress of my own voice that makes them trigger on a phrase or though not the words themselves. Granted somethings simply do not belong in books aimed at certain age groups and we probably do need to be proactive in ensuring they do not find their way into them. But in the end I suppose most of it will revolve about what type of books and stories are being read to the children.

Sorry if this makes no sense, it seems right in my head but not sure it is coming out right on the cyber page.

Ophidia
28 Jan 2014, 17:29
For bedtimes, I think I'd stick to more modern stuff. Or books you know are relatively safe, like a chapter of The Princess Bride or The Never-Ending Story. Maybe even make up stories, or build them from fairy tales & folklore. Leave the heavier, more provocative lit for earlier in the day.

I'm not a great example - my mother stuck Stephen King in my hands when I was 7.

Rae'ya
28 Jan 2014, 17:42
I tend to agree with Perz... if it's the conversations and extending out bed time that you're worried about, I'd keep those books for some reading earlier in the day, or perhaps start earlier.

As for whether it's appropriate or not... I'm the kid who was reading Flowers in the Attic on my own, at about eight. I was reading books to my mum at four, rather than the other way around. And like Perzephone, Stephen King was a favourite author in primary school. If I can grasp and cope with incest at eight, I'm fairly certain a well read six year old can figure out some slavery and racism comments. Kids understand and grasp a lot more than we give them credit for. I don't think that sanitizing things does them any favors.

(I'm also the person who will answer my three year old nephew's questions with honest and full answers. He usually gets it. And if he doesn't, he stops the 'why' and changes the subject.)

But I agree there's a time and place for those discussions. If bedtime is a worry, chose another book and read those at another time.

Tylluan Penry
29 Jan 2014, 00:28
I think Roald Dahl hit the nail on the head when he said that children cope with far more than we realise... and he never had a problem with happy or unhappy endings.

Regarding films... I might not stop the film in the middle to explain something, but my family were always in the habit of discussing them afterwards. And not just for Non PC content, but even for things like casting, dialogue and editing.

I love books and films. And I prefer reading the real version to a child and not some bowdlerised one. Sometimes my versions are worse than the original... as anyone who has ever seen me reading Room on the Broom (complete with hidden, finger puppet dragon) can testify...

DanieMarie
29 Jan 2014, 06:01
I think I'd just explain it. I read a lot of stuff when I was younger that wasn't that PC and I don't think it affected me. I don't think I ever really connected the worlds I read in books to the real world.

Also, Little House on the Prairie? I totally don't remember that! I'm positive I read the originals though. My parents never bought me edited or abridged books.

Rowanwood
29 Jan 2014, 06:15
I have to agree with the bedtime vs. rest of the time too. My babyshark is just going to be 3, so trying to explain anything, especially to a tired kid is pointless at best...but during the day I would be more willing to explore difficult content...though at the moment, I'd have to sit on her for anything other than a short tale.

Right now with stick to I'll Love You Forever, and I just cry a little while I read it....

Shahaku
29 Jan 2014, 12:11
What about writing down any questions/concerns that you come across or the kiddos don't seem to get right away to discuss in the morning or some time the next day? Or just choosing less charged books for at night.

thalassa
29 Jan 2014, 12:13
Also, Little House on the Prairie? I totally don't remember that! I'm positive I read the originals though. My parents never bought me edited or abridged books.

Oh, yeah...go back and read the part about "Injuns" Mine didn't either...but, I checked plenty of books I didn't own out from the library.


I have to agree with the bedtime vs. rest of the time too. My babyshark is just going to be 3, so trying to explain anything, especially to a tired kid is pointless at best...but during the day I would be more willing to explore difficult content...though at the moment, I'd have to sit on her for anything other than a short tale.

Right now with stick to I'll Love You Forever, and I just cry a little while I read it....

Lol...the problem is that bedtime is really the only time (at least during the week) we have that isn't hectic, so its perfect for reading.

thalassa
29 Jan 2014, 12:28
First off...thanks guys. I was mostly looking for other perspectives to see if others have thought about this stuff, and what they thought. I find it sort of interesting an interesting quandry from a more intellectual standpoint, not just a personal parenting one.


What about writing down any questions/concerns that you come across or the kiddos don't seem to get right away to discuss in the morning or some time the next day?

This would probably work. Its something we do anyhow, like in the car or at the store, when they think of things they want to look up.

When I was a kid, I had a huge set of Encyclopedia Britannica books (the really nice, leather bound and gold leafed ones) at home that my parents sent me to look stuff up in...my kids call it "The Google List"...


Or just choosing less charged books for at night.

So, here's the thing...usually its one scene or two (and generally not essential to the book overall) or a word or three, or a sentence or five. I'm not reading The Color Purple to them, lol!!



I used to think maybe you could skip parts or change it but then I though about the author who actually wrote the work. Most carefully choose the words they select because of any number of reasons and what it conveyed to their audience. Granted some things have not withstood the passage of time and seem wrong by today's standards. Yet if we respect the purpose of the book and the story that is being told I think we have to keep the old words. It's like Edgar Rice Burroughs used many despariging words for blacks in his works yet to try and remove them really does a dis-service to his story and his times. Yet I also ponder as a writer do I want the works I do today to be torn apart and changed because the ethics and morality of society will change in the future? My words, the current and energy of my writing will reflect the energy of my times, whether it be good or bad which is what those earlier writers have passed to us.

This is sort of my qualm too.


But for my two cents, don't over think it. Kids are smart, they know a story is just a story.

This is very true too... And I'll admit, sometimes I struggle between being laid back and over thinking it as a parent!

Larix
27 Oct 2014, 21:31
If I have the original story then that is what I would read without changing anything. I personally think it wrong to correct things to make them politically correct today when those ethics, morality, and word usage didn't apply to the time frame the things were written. We encourage critical thinking but then remove the items through pc police which I think removes the notion of critical thinking regardless of age.

Sad part is its not just stories that are changed. I've seen historical speeches changed because modern society doesn't like what is omitted or implied. Yet the speech then becomes not the historical speech that changed a period of time. One recently I saw was Patrick Henry's speech about "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their (Party) country!" that was changed to make it all good people. When I retired there was another Chief who retired and our Executive Officer changed his plaque as the speech he wanted read didn't meet her ethics so she changed a historical speech to make it politically correct. I know it pissed him off because the speech meant a lot to him and for her to change it because she didn't like it was wrong. She didn't like it because it was a Kennedy speech that referred to men only and she though that wrong for the then current military.

- - - Updated - - -

As an added though would you stop a classic movie or play your watching because it has politically incorrect things? Consider Shakespeare for instance, there is a lot that is politically incorrect today. The Wizard of Oz has a lot of non-pc stuff today but would you change the classic or forbid your children from watching or hearing it?

All this reminds me of Orwell's "1984"

You know, when history got changed all the time according to the whim of those dictators.

Political correctnes has become a simular dictatorship.

anunitu
28 Oct 2014, 01:38
One large problem with "non pc" story line,that at times gets a book banned,is these attitudes did exist when a lot of older books were written. One big problem is that banning a book for its reflection of the times is,we take away a collective memory of how things used to be,and try to whitewash our past to fit our present. I think we need to remember these things,no matter how painful they might seem,or for many shameful...

thalassa
28 Oct 2014, 02:42
All this reminds me of Orwell's "1984"

You know, when history got changed all the time according to the whim of those dictators.

Political correctnes has become a simular dictatorship.


All history is changed according to the perspective of those that write it.





One large problem with "non pc" story line,that at times gets a book banned,is these attitudes did exist when a lot of older books were written. One big problem is that banning a book for its reflection of the times is,we take away a collective memory of how things used to be,and try to whitewash our past to fit our present. I think we need to remember these things,no matter how painful they might seem,or for many shameful...


Actually, a number of books on the ALA's Banned Book List have been banned or challenged from schools because they ARE politically correct, in that they value diversity and plurality over WASPy monoculture. I can't even tell you how many books get nixed because of the sexuality or religion or whatnot of a carachter these days...when I was a kid, there was a school in Oregon that banned The Lorax (by Dr Seuss) because the school was located in a logging town where most of the people worked for the logging industry.

thalassa
03 Jun 2015, 10:55
I'm working on a list of books (or maybe I'll stick with my mom's parenting technique of requiring my kids to read a book a week off the ALA Banned Book List every summer) to buy for the kids to read, and I came across this fabulous WSJ piece by author Sherman Alexie (written in resonse to this bozo (http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303657404576357622592697038)):



Almost every day, my mailbox is filled with handwritten letters from students–teens and pre-teens–who have read my YA book and loved it. I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book. To the contrary, kids as young as ten have sent me autobiographical letters written in crayon, complete with drawings inspired by my book, that are just as dark, terrifying, and redemptive as anything I’ve ever read.
And, often, kids have told me that my YA novel is the only book they’ve ever read in its entirety.

(snip)

Teenagers read millions of books every year. They read for entertainment and for education. They read because of school assignments and pop culture fads.
And there are millions of teens who read because they are sad and lonely and enraged. They read because they live in an often-terrible world. They read because they believe, despite the callow protestations of certain adults, that books-especially the dark and dangerous ones-will save them.
As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.
And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.

the rest of it: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/06/09/why-the-best-kids-books-are-written-in-blood/

B. de Corbin
03 Jun 2015, 11:30
Thalassa, you are an outstanding parent. I want to meet your kids in 20 years, and see what they have become - it will be something marvelous, I bet...

G.K Chesterton, maybe, expressed this idea best:

Tremendous Trifles (1909)

The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.
Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.

kalynraye
03 Jun 2015, 12:38
I would love to just hug that man.