Submitter: Perhaps the most surprising thing of all about this book is that, despite being published in the year 2000, the author and editors decided that it was okay to name the book “The Jews”. My birthday is Pearl Harbor Day, and at the age of 5, my mom took me aside to talk about why my granddad saying that it was the day the “Japs bombed Pearl Harbor” was not okay for me to repeat when talking about my birthday’s significance. If a 5-year-old can comprehend that certain terms are racist, why is it so hard for this book publisher, author, and editors to comprehend it? Even more so, if the nonfiction section in my library was weeded semi-recently, why was this book not weeded earlier, or, even better, why was it bought in the first place? Perhaps additionally horrifying is that this book is also part of a series:
Fortunately, “The Japs” was not part of that series, although “The Africans” is. While the content of the books may be marginally okay, the titles demand immediate weeding. I’m horrified that this book was sitting in my library collection for almost a year before I discovered it.
Holly: This article from the New York Times has an interesting take on “The Jews” vs. “Jewish people.” This article from Business Insider talks about how using the article “the” in front of a group sets the group aside, excluded or called out from everyone else. It also implies that everyone in the group thinks and acts alike. In collection management, we have to make sure that our materials are sensitive to cultural terminology. These are children’s books, and children don’t know any better – and they’re not going to read the New York Times or Business Insider to learn about these terms.
Side note: the font choices for the covers are…interesting…
I know our dear readers will have strong feelings about this one way or the other. Please use your library voices and be respectful.