Recently I was in Hawaii on vacation and one of the things I noticed right away was how Asians are the majority of the people living there. In the city of Honolulu on Oahu, street signs are in English and Japanese. Generally rice, and even miso soup, are served with all meals, including breakfast. I learned from attending a luau that immigrants from Japan, China, and the Philippines make up a big part of Hawaii’s cultural diversity. When I got back home, a quick web search revealed that Hawaii is the only state in the United States where whites are not the majority of the population.

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Paying Homage to Duke

Duke statue
Duke statue

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Video Thursday: Difficult Conversations

These children, honestly answering questions about race and racism, illuminate some of the problems we have talking about race in America. We know that children as young as 6 months old respond to skin color, so when the kids at the beginning of the video don’t know the words race, ethnicity, or racism, that’s a problem: they don’t know how to address their own reactions and experiences. They’re not having the conversations they need to understand the complicated culture in which they live.

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Dear Olympics, I love you but…

I LOVE the Olympics. I’ve spent many (er, too many) hours over the past week mesmerized by ice dancing, ski cross, super-giant slolom, half pipe. . . these athletes make it look like somebody literally turned off gravity in Vancouver for the week and the laws of physics no longer apply.

Still, it’s hard not to notice how white the US Olympic Team is. If this is a team sent to represent one of the most diverse countries in the world, well, it doesn’t look all that representative. Take a look at this year’s 218 Team USA members and you’ll see what I mean. I could count the number of African Americans on one hand. Out of 218! What about Latinos, Asian Americans? Some…but not that many.

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This Week in Diversity: Biases in a Weird Universe

Welcome back for another week of links!

Valentine’s Day can make a lot of us see red, but even more so with Time Magazine‘s looks at racial preferences—or biases—shown on online dating sites.

Meanwhile, America Ferrera—the Latina star of Ugly Betty—gave an interview in which she talked about race and casting in Hollywood. The whole interview isn’t available online, but Jezebel has some highlights.

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Video Thursday: “Every time they called me some name, I hit it farther.”

On The Daily Show, baseball great Willie Mays talks about being the only black man on his baseball teams, and how he responded to racism:

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Poll of the Week: The Olympics

The best kind of winter only comes once every four years: the kind with the Olympics! What’s got you excited?

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Black History Month Book Giveaway!

In addition to giving away signed copies of Janna and the Kings on the main site, we’re giving away three sets of six books each on this here blog at the end of February. Why a Black History Month giveaway at the end of February? Because Black History is still worth teaching all year long!

Here’s how it works:

  • You enter the contest by midnight, February 28th, 2010. There are four ways to enter:
    • Tweet/ReTweet it on Twitter (make sure you include @LEEandLOW).
    • Comment on this post, telling us your favorite Black History Reads or why you want to read these books.
    • Subscribe to this blog (make sure you tell us in comments, so we know it’s you).
    • Post about this on your own blog (if you’re not hosted by WordPress, make sure you tell us in comments).

    You get one entry per action—do all of the above and you have four chances to win.

  • We randomly pick three winners.
  • We send each winner one of the three sets of books, shown below.
  • The winners use these awesome Black History books all year round.
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This Week in Diversity: The Power of Words and Languages

This week we’re starting close to home: from the New York Times, an article on the lack of diversity at top New York City Schools—and a reminder that a lack of diversity doesn’t mean that everyone is white.

A long but very interesting paper looks at the role parents’ English ability plays in the juvenile justice system.

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February Break

It’s a dreary, snowy day outside the office windows—the kind of day that makes me want to curl up with a book (or two or three) and a steaming mug of hot cocoa. And is that book (or two or three) something new and provocative, something I’ll need to think about and stretch my mind around?

Nope. Not a chance.

That book (or two or three) is comfort reading. Pulled from the stack of books that I reread over and over. They are dogeared, their spines are broken, many show water damage or the covers have fallen off. They are well loved and comfortable. They are old friends.

I asked around the office; here’s what some of us at Lee & Low turn to on snowy days, sick days, and other days when comfort reading is just the right thing to do.

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Exploring Children's Books Through the Lens of Diversity