Before we start, I'd like to reflect on the term "people of color," because I'll admit that it makes white people sound bland and colorless. A 1988 New York Times essay by William Safire puts the term in a historical and cultural context:
As we speak, however, the English language seems to lump the colors together and treats white — the noncolor — as a race and a word apart ...
It strikes me, then, that people of color is a phrase often used by nonwhites to put nonwhite positively. (Why should anybody want to define himself by what he is not?) Politically, it expresses solidarity with other nonwhites, and subtly reminds whites that they are a minority [on the planet.]
When used by whites, people of color usually carries a friendly and respectful connotation, but should not be used as a synonym for black; it refers to all racial groups that are not white.I hope that helps if you're uncomfortable with the term. I've been wondering if the Jersey Shore craze reflects a desire within white young America to claim some color, but that's for another post.
So, booksellers, educators, librarians, gatekeepers who serve young readers, could you share a few 2008-2010 titles that feature people of color as protagonists and have been relatively popular in your communities?
I'll also look through Goodreads and LibraryThing to find titles that show up in a lot of shelves, and showcase those covers that appear to have worked. Please leave the title, author, publisher, and date, as well as a snapshot of the racial/ethnic demographics you serve in the comments. Thanks!