Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Challenge Day 20: A book you would share with and ignorant person

This prompt was actually titled "A book that you share with and ignorant/racist/prejudice person to try to change their mind".  Being ignorant, racist or prejudice is a very personal choice, and you cannot change the mind of someone who does not want their mind changed. However, I am an educator and I spend a lot of time educating children who aren't prejudice on purpose. They are ignorant of how the words they use can hurt others. This is why I love teaching this book:

Charley's journey, which is told in diary form (which I normally hate, but works in this story), is compelling. My students' are appalled at the treatment Charley endures at the hand of his "friends".  As he gains his intelligence and begins to comprehend the prejudices he has endured,  the students share in his anger and despair. By the time we have finished the book, they understand why the word "retarded" is offensive. They see how their use of this word effects their classmates who struggle with developmental disabilities. I am not implying that they never use the word again or are perfect, but their perspective on the how the words they use changes and that helps make the world a better place.

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