About the Numbers
Of the small number of books that depict bi/multiracial and mixed race characters at all, more than half do not make race, ethnicity or culture a part of the plot (Any Child).
Stories that depict multiracial characters as “everyone everywhere” may allow multiracial children to imagine themselves beyond the everyday limits to and demands on how they self-identify (i.e. “What are you?!”). However, an overemphasis on these kinds of books may also have the effect of suggesting that multiracial children do not desire and cannot or should not form strong or unique racial, ethnic, or cultural identifications.
We argue for nuanced and balanced portrayals that show the rich diversity and complexity of the racial, ethnic and cultural identifications and experiences of multiracial people.
We invite you to consider the other meanings and effects these numbers may reveal.
Of the 184 books featuring Bi/Multiracial/Mixed Race characters:
|56% are books in which race, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, culture, im/migration, and/or religious, sacred, or origin stories ARE NOT CENTRAL to the story. These elements may be present, but they are not essential to the plot and could be changed without altering the storyline. We call these Any Child Books.|
|17% are books in which race, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, culture, im/migration, and/or religious, sacred, or origin stories ARE CENTRAL to the story. These books explicitly focus on the diverse expressions of human experience, depending on these elements to drive the storyline. We call these Beautiful Life books.|
|17% are Biographies, featuring the life of a particular person or group of people from a historical or contemporary perspective.|
|16% portray relationships between named characters across racial or cultural difference. We call these Cross-Group books.|
|2% are Folklore books, featuring tales, proverbs, songs, or legends and myths that transmit the values, knowledge, traditions, practices and rituals of a people.|
|1% feature a racially diverse cast of non-primary characters or a white or animal main character(s). We call these Incidental books.|
|4% present factual information (with or without a storyline) that does not always have to do with difference. These books may be encyclopedic. We call these Informational books.|
|9% are about group-based injustice and/or struggles for justice. We call these Oppression & Resilience books.|
|10% explore and/or compare specific aspects of human difference, inviting readers to consider varying perspectives related to race, ethnicity, culture, or tribal affiliation. We call these Concept books.|