NauenThen

Laura Ingalls Wilder

July 20, 2018

Tags: Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Ingalls Museum in De Smet, South Dakota.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was ours, we South Dakota kids. DeSmet was an hour away & we would go their sweet hokey pageant in the summer. I was startled that Hollywood made a TV show—startled that people other than us were interested or had even heard of her. She described the natural phenomena that we observed, & she connected us to a pioneer past & made it mine.

Now the Association for Library Service to Children has stripped her name off a prestigious award for children's literature. I do see both sides: not wanting to support racism (she no longer jibed with their values of “inclusiveness, integrity and respect”) vs keeping the historical record warts & all. I can find only articles & op-eds that agree that the only important fact about LIW is her supposed racism & those of us who love her books "know they are racist but don't care."

So many questions of censorship & self-censorship, the feeling of it not being worth it to go against the prevailing wisdom, the value of outrageousness vs. the value of protectiveness. The day they purge all the misogyny of the past will be the day I'm OK with imposing retroactive purity...