Learning about Diversity Through Books


Over the past year and a half, the idea of “equity” has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. Watching movies, listening to marginalized peoples’ experiences, and reading books is a way to understand other peoples’ perspectives in our problematic country. 

Bethany Wilcox, a Social Studies teacher at Leesville Road Middle School and a member of the LRMS Equity Team, helped create a book club around the idea of learning about equity and diversity.  

Reading stories about different cultures and backgrounds can have a major impact on those listening. 

This year the club will read Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy by Emmanual Acho. The book is for non-black parents don’t know how to answer [questions, and] help… dismantle racism in our youngest generation.”

This book choice allows Wilcox, as a white woman, to address larger topics about a community she isn’t a part of without overstepping any boundaries. 

“As a white woman, especially one who has the opportunity to host a book club, my role is to ask, listen, learn, and help other people whose race is the same as mine to better their understanding,” typed Wilcox over email. Using this book the LRMS Equity Team can uplift stories from the black community, without being black themselves.

“We acknowledge and believe that racism and discrimination still impact our country, state, and school, which means that we are accountable for being a part of the solution,” typed Wilcox. Reading about other people’s experiences and perspectives, can humanize them and fix many issues in our community. 

By choosing storybooks over informational books, readers can feel more connected to the characters and empathize better than they would just reading informational text. “[Stories] aim to bring the events to life for readers, making it three-dimensional as opposed to simply stating the facts,” said The Pen and Pad

When you connect to the character, you can understand their experiences in the book and therefore understand real-life experiences that resemble them.

Having these tough conversations about books that then can be brought into the real world gives readers a different understanding of the discrimination and hardships minorities face. 

If you are part of the Leesville family and have any interest in joining the Leesville Equity Book Club, then please email bwilcox@wcpss.net.


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