Racism in children’s books | Opið samtal

We met with Achola Otieno, Bára Bjarnadóttir and Miriam Petra Ómarsdóttir Awad to discuss how the library could fight racial stereotypes. The library is a democratic platform that can support children to make sense of what they see, challenge ideas, and recognize problematic storytelling. But what kind of work would that include?

Working with communities and experts on the issues on confronting racism, spotting colonialism not only as a historic fact but also a mindset and raising awareness on the institutional elements of structural racism. Furthermore, the cultural programming would profit from a critical approach on how the library selects it´s project partners. The library can support new ways of storytelling to raise awareness of how whiteness and structural racism influence our everyday lives. Storytelling in books can influence identity building and confidence in children.

Where are the books where non-white characters get to be individuals? Where are the examples of black excellence? How do we spot white saviorism in narratives?

There is a need to acknowledge the issue and its relevance to our work. Anti-racist training with the staff could equip us better in recognizing racist content and how to respond to it. 

Thank you for the interesting conversation. 

We are open to new ideas on how to create a platform for active citizenship and democratic discussions. 

What is Opið samtal? A conversation platform for an open discussion about issues relating to rights, active citizenship and equity in access to society.
Programm of Opið samtal

Further information
Dögg Sigmarsdóttir
Project manager | Civic Participation
dogg.sigmarsdottir@reykjavik.is