EDU 330 Topic 7 Analyzing Content for Cultural Competence
Using “Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism,” select a piece of children’s literature, young adult literature, informational article, or textbook from the library or your own collection to evaluate for bias.
In 250-500 words, conduct a text analysis using the 10 guidelines mentioned in the article to identify bias in your selected material. After you complete the analysis, in 250-500 words describe where you think the text falls on the Cultural Competence Continuum and why. Submit both written portions as one assignment.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
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Analyzing Content for Cultural Competency
The book that I chose to analyze for this assignment is Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborn. I chose this book to analyze because it is the first book in a long running series of chapter books for elementary school students. It was published in 1992 with books still being published in this series today. I’ve witnessed children of all cultures read and enjoy these books. I will be analyzing the content of this book according to the article “10 Ways to Analyze Children’s Books” (Derman-Sparks, A.B.C. Task Force, 2012) and where I feel this book falls on the cultural competence continuum.
This part will cover my analysis of the book according to the 10 ways discussed in the article. Step one is to analyze the books illustrations (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). Upon looking over the illustrations, they depict two white children, a brother and sister, and various pictures of dinosaurs. This is not offensive or stereotypical since the book is about a set of siblings who are white. Step two is check the story-line (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). The story line does have some cultural biases about the older sibling versus the younger sibling. On page 38 of the book, Jack, the older brother, demeans Annie, the younger sibling, by stating “You have to use your brain” (Osborne, 1992). Step three is look at the lifestyles (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). The only lifestyle depicted in this book is that of a white family with two children. Step four is weigh the relationships between people (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). The only relationship present in this book is that between siblings. The older brother seems to get annoyed with the little sister on a few occasions. Step five is note the heroes (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). In this book both siblings save each other. The older brother saves the younger sister from being attacked by a mother dinosaur. The younger sister then saves they older brother from being eaten by a T-rex by sending a flying dinosaur to save him. Step six is consider the effects on a child’s self-image (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012).
This book depicts the younger female character as the adventurous one. Which is good for the self-image of young girls. The boy is the studious, rule following character. The traditional roles have been switched in this book. Step seven is consider the author’s or illustrator’s background (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). This book doesn’t have anything that would be culturally biased because of the author’s or illustrator’s background. Step eight is check out the author’s perspective (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). The author is a white woman from the New England area. She wrote the book from a white cultural standing. Step nine is to watch for loaded words (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). There are no culturally loaded words in this book. Step ten is to look at the copyright date (Derman-Sparks, et al., 2012). The copyright date is 1992. This means it was written in a more cultural aware time frame. My overall opinion of the book is that it is not incredibly or blatantly culturally biased.
The books place on the cultural competency continuum is culturally competent. This book is not being written solely for a specific culture or race. It never specifically states that the main characters are white. The only indications are the illustrations and traditionally white names. The author is well versed in the culture because it is her own. She does not downplay or write off other cultures. This is wonderful adventure book for young readers to engage in learning and reading. The series is a long-standing series spanning almost 30 years. If these books were not culturally competent, they would not be as popular as they are. I have personally witnessed children of all cultures, ages, and skin colors read, engage, and fully enjoy these books. These books are not written to make the whites look superior. This series of books spans many, many cultures and historical places. Each book is meticulously researched to ensure accuracy. There are several “research guides” that partner with this series to explain the research that went into writing the book. If this book were anything but culturally competent, the author would not put so much time and effort into researching the material. I would recommend these books to any aspiring student. The roles are reversed on traditional male and female roles. The female is seen as the adventurous one, while the male character is the obedient role. This is a stride forward in the right direction towards cultural competence.