A millionaire property developer has been cleared of raping a teenager after claiming he accidentally tripped and fell on her. Property developer Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was accused of forcing himself on an 18 year-old-girl who had slept on his sofa in his Maida Vale flat after a night out drinking. CLICK HERE for details. The businessman…
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Why Are There So Few Minority Characters In YA Books?By Allyn Farach
Representation in all walks of life has been in the spotlight recently. And one area that is full of controversy is what young people are exposed to in books that often help inform them during some of the most important years of their lives.
A study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that out of the 3,400 books that they received for 2015, 106 were by Black authors and 269 were about Black characters, and 58 were by Latino authors and 82 were about Latino characters.
Malinda Lo, a YA novelist, has been following the uptick in LGBT+ YA.
According to Lo, “In 2014, mainstream publishers published 47 LGBT YA books. This is a 59% increase from 2013, when only 29 LGBT YA books were published by mainstream publishers.”
Yes, these statistics look optimistic, but they are still not what they should be.
So what is the damage done when proper representation can’t be ascertained?
All groups suffer because such lack of representation fails to encapsulate the differences between different people; essentially, one person is not the whole.
“I think the tendency has been to reduce Latino characters as this one thing or Asian characters as this one thing, Muslim characters as one thing, and the fact is that we’re people,” Meg Medina, a Cuban-American writer of YA books and an Advisory Chair for the group We Need Diverse Books, said in a interview with RISE NEWS. “And all of those very specific identifiers and experiences shape how we move. It’s what makes us people.”
Read More: #IfMenHadPeriods Is Well Intentioned But Also Very Flawed
The effects of poor representation of minority groups are not limited to people of color.
Alex Gino uses the singular they pronoun and wrote George, a YA book about a trans girl that won the 2016 Stonewall Book Award.
“It’s important to remember that each trans experience is unique and different the way that each cis experience, the way that each trans experience, the way that each gay or queer experience is unique,” Gino said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “And so I wouldn’t even say that one trans story can cover it, or one gay story would cover it. There’s nothing quite like finding someone like yourself in a book.”
Leaps and bounds have been made in representation, however, despite this work, there are still advances to be made.
For example, Lo estimated that 1.9% to 2.4% of YA books published in 2013 had LGBT+ characters or dealt with LGBT+ issues.
“There is a lot of work to be done. I think that we only started to drill down into the many experiences that make up being a young person,” Medina said. “I think there are lots of questions in publishing now, like who’s writing these stories? Are they authentic, are they not authentic, are they written from sort of an outsider point of view, people imagining what it’s like to be x y or z, are they generally writers of color? I think when we have many people at the table with many points of view, the books that get published are richer, are more nuanced, are truer stories of real peoples’ lives.”
Gino seemed to agree with that sentiment.
“I think that we are scratching the surface of the stories that are available to be told, and the stories that are available to read,” Gino said. “I think that we need more books by diverse people and we also need more diverse groups of people publishing the books, so that stories that are being picked have more things to offer.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Amber McKinney/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 1,194
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LIVE Coverage: Ole Miss Student Senate Votes To Remove State Flag From CampusBy Staff Report
This is live coverage of a meeting of the student senate of the University of Mississippi where the body will decide whether to pass a resolution supporting the removal of the state flag (which contains the Confederate battle flag) from campus.
For more context, read this: Ole Miss Students Want To Take Down Racist Mississippi State Flag
10:35 PM EST- Ole Miss student senate votes to remove state flag from campus by a vote of 33-15-1.
10:28 PM EST- Motion to have a roll call vote fails.
10:27 PM EST- Debate ends.
9:18 PM EST- Watch the Senate Debate here
9:11 PM EST- So its sort of a tough debate.
As the flagship university, we should keep the state flag and honor the citizens of Mississippi. – Senator Soper
— Ole Miss Senate (@OleMissSenate) October 21, 2015
8:58 PM EST- 30 minutes for debate starts now. 8:54 PM EST- Student Senator Andrew Soper started a Change.gov petition opposing the resolution. Over 500 people signed on to it. 8:45 PM EST- Motion to extend debate has passed. Debate will continue for 10 more minutes according to the Daily Mississippian. 8:43 PM EST- Greek student senators indicate hostility to resolution.
What if fraternities fly the flag? Well, their houses are on campus, Coon says. You can guess how the rest of that went. — Sierra Mannie (@SKEEerra) October 21, 2015
8:31 PM EST- Vote moves closer. Authors of the resolution are now being questioned for the next 15 minutes.
Authors of the resolution 15-13 giving defense, mentioning KKK appearance on campus last week pic.twitter.com/JkBmwRDuJ3 — Royce Swayze (@royce_swayze) October 21, 2015
8:24 PM EST- Read the resolution up for debate tonight below:Post Views: 909
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Is This South Africa’s Tiananmen Square Moment?
Bryce Swerhun had spent most of his time in Johannesburg safely away from the sounds of explosions near the University Of The Witwatersrand (Wits).
But something drew him to the campus on October 10 as scores of angry students gathered in a large protest for the elimination of college fees across the country.
What Swerhun, a Canadian who is in South Africa doing field work for his PhD program at City University of Hong Kong, saw there was nothing short of government sanctioned violence against young people on a scale rarely seen in liberal democracies.
Student organizers of the so called #FeesMustFall movement warned private security gathered on the steps of the Great Hall at the center of Wits’ campus that some among their number may start hurling stones at them unless they opened the doors to the building.
By the time Swerhun entered through the visitor gate and walked upon the scene, some protestors were indeed throwing stones at the security guards.
Then the police got involved.
“I saw the water cannon truck shoot up and spray the students below,” Swerhun said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
Swerhun said that “several hundred” student protestors were in the area around the Great Hall at the height of the clashes and that police were being very heavy-handed in the way in which they were breaking up the group.
Tear gas canisters leaving trails of smoke as they hit the ground. Rubber bullets thumping through the air. People yelling. People running.
Through the chaos in front of the Great Hall, Swerhun said that he saw one scene that reminded him of the troubling racist past of South Africa.
A white police officer had a group of black protestors cornered while allowing other students to freely pass. When a group of white students walked behind the officer without being stopped, the cornered black students started to argue how unfair it was.
This is what has become of Wits, one of the world’s top universities. Sad no? pic.twitter.com/3ja1OfCV0g
— Sure Kamhunga (@SureKamhunga) October 11, 2016
At a certain point, Swerhun decided that he had seen enough and that he wanted to get back to the safety of his hotel room.
He walked behind the Great Hall, where he spotted a church where some students seemed to be gathered.
He thought that he could escape from the campus by going through the church.
“The priest then slumped over and then the blood was pouring out. They shot him because he defied them.”
What follows sounds like it is straight out of movie.
“There was a significant moment that reminded me of Tiananmen Square,” Swerhun said.
When he reached the church, most of the students in the area where gathered in a parking lot. There he saw a priest in white robes standing in the entrance.
“He [the priest] seemed to be making a statement, that he was there and it was a place of refuge,” Swerhun said.
But then a massive armored police vehicle started racing towards the church.
“It was moving at quite a speed and everyone is running away,” Swerhun said. “When I get behind a parked car, I see the priest put his arm and the vehicle backed up and left.”
Joy swept through the crowd but it was a short-lived feeling.
“Another armored vehicle came and started shooting rubber bullets at random, Swerhun said. “The priest then slumped over and then the blood was pouring out. They shot him because he defied them.”
Swerhun said that the shooting of the priest had a profound impact on the people who witnessed it.
“Some people got really angry and I saw someone say ‘call up the people with the petrol bombs.'”
“This was nothing but a brutal show of state force,” Swerhun said. “Those police in the vehicle were not in any danger.”
The priest was then brought into the church were he was tended to by private paramedics.
Despite being shot in the face with at least one rubber bullet, he was able to walk out of the church to a waiting car.
While the violence has largely been ignored by the world’s media, it shouldn’t be.
The issue is unlikely to go away even though things are starting to calm down on the streets.
Sure Kamhunga, a political commentator who has a large Twitter following said in an interview with RISE NEWS that the government should do more to end the clashes.
“Meet the student body. Listen to their demands. Offer a solution that paves way for mutual understanding,” Kamhunga said in way of advice to President Jacob Zuma’s government. “Students have already proposed a funding model and that is a good start to reach a common understanding and solution.”
Calling Young South African Writers, Journalists And Leaders: Tell Your Story And Make A Difference
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 1,043
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