The liberals (i.e. socialists) have their sights set on Laura Ingalls Wilder. There was some obscure literary award which bore her name, but which was recently renamed due to the fact that her books contain “‘expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values’ based on Wilder’s portrayal of black people and Native Americans.”
As I sit here, writing this, I wonder if I actually have the energy or inclination to slog through the layers of bullshit that are being slung here.
The truth is, not really. However, I am also highly annoyed, having been a young fan of these books myself.
Note that they don’t appear to be flat-out claiming that Laura Ingalls Wilder herself was a racist or a bigot, an allegation which would be more contentious. They are instead focusing on depiction of racism and stereotypes in the books. My guess is what they find most objectionable is in relation to “Indians.” Laura’s mother was definitely not a fan of Native Americans at all, and more than once (as I recall) insisted that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Even in the relatively racist 1970’s when I first read these books, I remember feeling a bit shocked at that statement. What I also remember, though, is that it was presented in the context of a debate between Laura’s parents, where her mother was firmly anti-Indian, but her father took an opposing view. Furthermore, since he was also the person who actually spoke with them, on the rare occasions when there was any direct interaction at all, his viewpoint inevitably comes through as the more credible of the two. Laura never advocated her mother’s opinion, although she did report on it. I’m guessing, though, that this is part of the problem: Liberals don’t even want people to know that, at one time, such a completely shocking opinion was held by ordinary, respectable, likeable people like Laura’s mother–even though the fact that many people clearly felt that way at the time actually supports the liberal narrative in the first place!
There were undoubtedly some other things relating to Native Americans that liberals find objectionable too, but the above example is the most flagrant one, so, as such, it serves well enough to illustrate the point.
As for what they are complaining about in reference to “black people”, well, that’s a little harder to suss out. There was, as I recall, one black character in the entire series of books, a doctor, who treated the family for malaria in the second book. Obviously, the libtards are not complaining about him, right? A black doctor in the early 1870’s is about the most progressive thing you can come up with, I would think, especially since he was a real life guy and people have identified who he actually was. So what could the problem be? Reading about this issue on another blog, one commenter remarked that, perhaps the objection is to the following:
They were probably referring to “Little Town on the Prairie,” where Laura’s father and two other men don blackface and sing and joke as ‘darkies.’
That could be it. I, myself, had totally forgotten about that section. Of course, people used to do that. (I even remember it myself as late as 1984 or so, when students in my high school put on a production of the musical “Showboat.” One of the featured songs in that musical is “Old Man River,” sung by a black character. Well, my high school only had one black student in the entire school, and he wasn’t a singer, so they put a white student with a baritone voice in blackface and had him sing the song. The response of the student body was a bit of mild laughter because, frankly, the guy looked silly in the makeup, especially with the spotlight on him, which made the makeup look a sort of comical blue-ish color. But, no one there thought there was anything offensive about what was being done. From what I recall, condemning the practice of white actors in blackface started in the late 1980’s as a means of attacking fraternities on college campuses, not because black people were objecting to it themselves. But, I could be wrong.)
I suspect, though, that the major issue that the libs have with these books is simply the fact that here are all these white people out on the frontier, not only surviving under really harsh conditions but building a new nation in the process, without any black people around at all, and they even dare to do it without personally slaughtering any Native Americans or anything. That, of course, runs exactly counter to the narrative that libtards want people to believe, namely that there was no aspect of the development of America in which African Americans did not play an essential role, and, of course, throughout all of this, whites were engaged in continual massacre of Native Americans at all times. Nope – Heaven forbid that any young people should be exposed to an account of some stuff as it actually happened.
This gets to a more fundamental point about what’s going on here, and about liberalism itself, which is this: What liberals, being socialists, probably find more threatening than anything else about these books is that, due to the fact that Laura Ingalls Wilder is a primary source, meaning she wrote about historical events that actually happened to her, these books can be considered a reliable reporting of history. Not only that, but the “Little House” books have always been popular with children, i.e. people at an age when their lifelong opinions and beliefs are still being formed. Liberals hate all of that, because primary sources are hard to refute, and they certainly don’t want to risk having young people form their own, non-liberal-approved beliefs. What liberals, i.e. socialists, want more than anything is to be able to impose their own made-up version of history on people, as a means of instilling Marxist beliefs in everyone. Having a series of popular children’s books out there which is actually accurate represents a real problem to them. The books can’t be discredited on historical grounds, so instead they have to be discredited on the grounds of racism. In a world without primary sources, there would be no obstacle to crafting a completely new, socialist-approved “history.” That’s what this is ultimately about.
There is an irony in this, of course. I’d actually been thinking recently about the Little House books, but in the sense of how effective they were at promulgating a feminist viewpoint in children of my and my parents’ generations. I believe they actually played a major role in that, for quite a lot of people. That means, however, that the current changes also serve as a good example of the ongoing deterioration of the liberal coalition, and, in that sense, I suppose the downgrading of these books to verboten status can be considered good news. I suppose. I still don’t like it, though.