ERIC Number: ED234425
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Image of the Child in Contemporary Black Literature: The Child in Its Environment, North vs. South.
Reid, Margaret A.
As black children are portrayed too often in literature with negative images, it is understandable why they suffer from low self-esteem. In addition to being described as impoverished, black children are shown to be ugly (according to European standards), semiliterate or illiterate, poorly dressed, and malnourished. Northern settings also frequently include such negative features as drug addiction, prostitution, sexual aberration, and other crimes. Stories by Diane Oliver, Ernest Gaines, and Louise Meriwether are representative of contemporary black literature with negative images. This does not mean, however, that teachers, writers, and parents must dwell on the negative side of reality. Writers must continue to produce more books and stories that will help black children develop positive self-concepts, individuality, pride in their heritage, and a sense of their potential and self-worth. They do not need books that foster antagonism, self-hatred, or feelings of inferiority and ugliness. Children's attitudes toward blacks are determined not by physical contact with them but by contact with prevailing attitudes toward them. Therefore, the negative portrayal of children in contemporary black literature must be changed. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Community; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (34th, Detroit, MI, March 17-19, 1983).