On June 16, Rush Limbaugh devoted a long segment of his show to tell his listeners that Teaching for Change is racist for featuring children’s books by and about people of color at their bookstore in Washington, DC. In the days that followed, Limbaugh's listeners called Teaching for Change with hateful messages and threats, including "drop dead."
These were outweighed by hundreds of calls and emails from people who support their commitment to diversity.
As a virtual scholar for Teaching for Change, I assisted with the media inquires. Here is the message I shared:
We need to use this occasion to help clarify ideas that are commonly misunderstood or misrepresented in our society. One of the things that we have to make clear is that racism is about power and the ability of one group of persons, based on their race, to control institutions like publishing and marketing.
What Teaching for Change is doing is reversing trends of racism by ensuring that people of color have a voice and that their lives are represented in children’s literature.
Dropping dead is the last thing we are thinking of doing when it comes to promoting books by and about people of color. We are getting them into the hands of as many children and young people of all backgrounds as possible because they touch the spirit and open the mind to a wider world.