About the Numbers
Of the small number of books that depict biracial and multiracial characters at all, nearly half do not make race, ethnicity or culture a part of the plot (Any Child).
Stories that depict bi/multiracial characters as “everyone everywhere” may allow bi/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 bi/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 biracial and multiracial people.
We invite you to consider the other meanings and effects these numbers may reveal.
Of the 71 books featuring Bi/Multiracial/Mixed Race characters:
|48% do not make race, ethnicity, or culture part of the plot. We call these Any Child Books.|
|25% take readers into the everyday world of characters in countries around the world, with specific cultural components such as language, food, celebrations, traditions, and/or other elements. We call these Beautiful Life books.|
|13% are biographies.|
|14% portray character interactions across racial or cultural difference. We call these Cross-Group books.|
|1% introduce readers to traditions, activities, languages and experiences, and includes all types of retellings and adaptations of traditional folktales. We call these Folklore books.|
|3% have a white protagonist. We call these Incidental books.|
|3% are nonfiction books that may not have a story line and do not always have to do with difference. These books are factual and may be encyclopedic. We call these Informational books.|
|3% are stories of prejudice, mistreatment and discrimination based on race, ethnicity or culture. We call these Oppression books.|
|8% invite readers to consider new perspectives related to racial, ethnic, or cultural commonalities and differences. We call these Concept books.|