Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights
Why this book?
Who gets to claim “childhood innocence” and the protections that come with this designation? Certainly not Black children in nineteenth-century America, according to Robin Bernstein. They were instead pictured as “pickaninnies”—comic figures who felt no pain, whatever mischief befell them. This book won a slew of awards for good reason: reading the racial ‘scripts’ in seemingly innocuous cultural products like children’s picture books, dolls, and knickknacks, Bernstein reveals how race-making hides in plain sight.