I admit it. I’m not a huge William Shatner fan. In fact, I usually think of him as a caricature of himself these days. It is as if he took his over-acted Captain Kirk character and did his best to become him sans the spaceship. But I have to give it to him today. He not only spoke with eloquence, as well as one can on Twitter, about ALCS’s decision to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from the award NAMED FOR HER but he managed to put those responding in their place.
Basically, ALCS (Association for Library Services to Children) decided Wilder used language that was “anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work”. It didn’t matter the language was indicative of the time in which her books were written. It didn’t matter that our country has moved beyond — and is still moving beyond — those sentiments. Oh no, we have to protect out babies from this evil woman and so we will remove her name from a literary award .
Shatner basically said it all in the following tweet:
Did you hear about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award being renamed over negative lines on the indigenous people of America? Laura changed the lines in the 50’s. I find it disturbing that some take modern opinion & obliterate the past. Isn’t progress @ learning from our mistakes?🤔
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 1, 2018
His last comment goes straight to the heart of the issue, not only when it comes to removing Wilder’s name from the award but to the removal of books from reading lists, etc. By removing these works of literature in order to “protect” our children, we aren’t teaching them about our past. We aren’t showing them how far this country has already come and we are risking sliding back and repeating the very same history the so-called progressives are trying to hide away in the closet.
But just the thought of our children reading what Wilder wrote, has some folks up in arms — as does Shatner’s comment.
NOWHERE have I said don’t learn from past mistakes. The Wilder Award was awarded for substantial & lasting contributions to children's lit. Just because we have evolved & can recognize prejudices in viewpoints of 1867 pioneers should not negate the reasons behind the award. https://t.co/oCD8vdTevD
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 3, 2018
Here’s the thing, footnotes could help but what would really help is discussion. Let the kids read these books, don’t remove Wilder and others who were instrumental in developing the genre of children’s lit, etc., and talk about why they might not be as influential today or why the language they used isn’t appropriate today. Teachers should be free and encouraged to discuss the past, warts and all, so our kids learn about it and don’t wind up repeating it. Parents should read the books with their kids and discuss not only the work but its impact and how things are different today.
But that’s the problem. Too many parents don’t want teachers to have the freedom to teach the good and the bad of our country’s history. These parents don’t want their precious little babes subjected to anything that might be hurtful. What the hell do they think is going to happen when their babies grow up and they get out in the real world? These special little flowers will learn they aren’t the best at everything they want to do. They are going to have their toes stepped on, literally and figuratively, and they will learn real life isn’t always nice. This approach to sanitizing history and making sure our kids are never hurt or offending or whatever is doing them no favors.
Instead, they make assumptions that they know everyone else’s history and background. They become this person on Shatner’s feed and they let him have the last, and perfect, word.
Sweetheart I’m Jewish so go play victim to others. 🙄 https://t.co/FN5U5QSQJf
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 3, 2018
Yes, slavery was horrible. Yes, the way the Native Americans were treated sucked big time (and yes, I know what I’m speaking about because my great-grandmother was born on the Trail of Tears after her family was forced from its home by the government and moved to the Indian Territory). But they weren’t the first to be treated that badly by a government or colonizing group. Nor were they the last. Does it make it right? By today’s standards absolutely not. But it didn’t happen by today’s standards and our kids need to know that just as they need to understand why that is no longer what this country stands for.
So grow up, grow a set and learn some history — ancient and modern.
In the meantime, well said, Mr. Shatner, well said.
Now for a bit of promo. Fire from Ashes, the fourth (and next to the last in this story arc) book in the Honor & Duty series is now available for download. The print version, along with new print versions of the other books in the series, will be available in approximately two weeks.
At war with an old enemy, betrayed by a supposed ally, Fuercon is a system on the brink of disaster. All that stands between it and defeat are its Space Navy and Marines – and the fact the betrayer does not yet know its secret plans have been discovered. But will that be enough to turn the tide of war?
Honor and duty.
Honor and duty have guided Colonel Ashlyn Shaw’s life for as long as she can remember. Honor kept her sane when she was betrayed by those she had fought beside. Duty gave her reason to trust again once the betrayal came to light and her name, as well as the names of her fellow Devil Dogs, was cleared. Now she and the Marines under her command are once again asked to risk their lives to protect Fuercon from its enemies.
Family and the Corps.
They are why she fights. She knows what will happen to them should Fuercon fall to the Callusians. Their lives are worth any sacrifice she must make to help keep their homeworld safe.
The not-so-secret driving force of Ashlyn’s life. Four years ago, someone betrayed her and her command. That person now works to betray Fuercon. Ashlyn is determined to discover who – and why – and bring them to justice.
The storm clouds of war gather and time is running out. Will Ashlyn and the Devil Dogs be able to turn back the enemy and unmask the betrayer before all is lost?