Dear David ...

30th May 1997 at 01:00
The TES is publishing readers' open letters to David Blunkett in an occasional series: Can you help us to re-imagine Britain, a Britain that is part of a multi-ethnic, multicultural world, that needs to learn the values of respect, justice, equality and interdependence for the 21st century? We haven't done too well in the 20th.

Can you enable us to create a truly culturally diverse national curriculum, one that recognises our historic diversity and relations over centuries with the wider world? Let us do away with lip service to humane values while still promoting narrowly defined notions of "our" and "other", "us" and "them".

As an author, I frequently visit schools where librarians say that many white children choose not to select books with black characters because they do not believe they will relate to them. Europe can be no better when European publishers acknowledge "whitening" front covers for the sake of sales.

My illustrations here are black and white, while the reality is obviously more varied and complex. But we have a problem and we need a national action plan.

Beverley Naidoo Author and Visiting Fellow School of Education University of Southampton

Have your say by writing to: Dear David co Newsdesk, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E12 9XY.

Fax: 0171 782 3200; email copy@tes1.demon.co.uk

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