The professor is Melanie Koss of Northern Illinois University, just beyond the last suburban outpost of Chicago.
According to Koss, an associate professor in the NIU education department, 75 percent of the main characters in children’s picture books published in 2012 were white. Also, 45 percent of those children’s picture books showcased white culture — whatever that is — as the primary cultural milieu.
Koss, who as a college-level professor specializes in books written for children and young adults, explained that her research consisted of investigating the contents of 455 books for little kids.
She noted that she also found that 90 percent of the books’ authors and 83 percent of illustrators were white.
Koss, who also appears to be exceptionally white, said she believes that the authors of America’s children’s books must work to increase “consciousness and comprehension of the nation’s pluralistic fabric,” according to an NIU press release which was proudly featured on the front page of the taxpayer-funded school’s website as of Tuesday morning.
“People want to read about themselves,” Koss proclaimed.
“But if you never see yourself in a book, what does that tell you about how you are valued? You’re not,” the professor added. “We still have a long way to go. Seeing diverse populations in children’s literature needs to become the norm, not the exception.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the United States defines itself as either 77.7 percent or 62.6 percent white. In either case, the percentage of white main characters in children’s books is roughly in line with the actual white population in the United States.
Koss appears to be unmoved by these factual statistics, however.
“The forty-five percent is out of all of the books, and not just the books with humans in them, so the number is actually quite higher when looking at just humans,” she claimed in in an email to The College Fix. “When humans were represented, 75 percent of the main characters were White.”
Presumably, Koss capitalized the word “white.”
“I’m not sure there is a specific desirable percentage, per se,” she also wrote. “In my perfect world, seeing diverse characters (including religion, sexuality, gender, disability, etc.) would be more common and more culturally specific, without the books being issue books — books focused on the diversity as the issue rather than the diversity just being a part of the story.”
As the Fix notes, a campaign styling itself #WeNeedDiverseBooks has called for more children’s books for kids who are “including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural and religious minorities.”
Koss’s assertion that children’s books are racist is the latest foray in the never-ending list of claims that racism has seeped into every nook and cranny of American life. The long, long list includes superhero movies, the weather and the very air we breathe. (RELATED: The Daily Caller’s ALL-STAR GREATEST HITS Alphabet Of Racism)