Setting diplomacy aside, where do I stand right now, January 29, 2009, when it comes to the discussion about the Coretta Scott King Awards taking place on Roger Sutton's and Esme Raj Codell's blogs?
The reality is that racial classification still exists in the minds of kids and teens. And North American kids who consider themselves African-American are still dealing with white majority default most of the time.
I remember the hordes of kids who browsed books at the Kennedy Center during the Multicultural Book Festival. For once, ALL the covers featured faces resembling theirs. They glanced up from the books to check out the authors, who also ALL mostly looked like them. For once, they were in the majority when it came to children's books.
That's why the CSK awards is still a wonderful vehicle for kids to (1) discover great stories featuring heroes they think of as being like them, and (2) meet awe-inspiring famous authors who they see as grownup versions of themselves.
That being said about WINNING the CSK award, I'll fight to the end for NO APARTHEID in WRITING.
Anyone who reads this should feel totally free to write a story about a Bengali-American girl sneaking out to a fire escape with her diary. Because I, too, plan to create characters, plots, and places without barriers or boundaries. In fact, look out for my novel starring a small-town Texas cowboy who dreams of winning Top Chef. Just kidding ... but wait ... that sounds kind of interesting ...