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How can reading make you an advocate for Human Rights?

January 20, 2019


How can reading make you an advocate for Human Rights?


Students today are bombarded with visual images and changing trends in social media, often confronted by bias and stereotype.  This development is a  challenge for teachers. Although students may be exposed to the world, do they really think about what they see? Do students embrace cultural diversity or are they moving too quickly to appreciate the world and the cultures around them?


Reading world literature could be the key.  When students are exposed to literature that has been translated from the original language to their spoken language, something unique happens.  The students are immersed into a new culture.  


Our awareness of the intricacies of language and its use, promotes an acceptance of an intercultural world.  Translated texts emphasize this. Students experience a talented writer's ability to make an expression or a word harsh or delicate revealing the culture's understanding of the word or expression.  The differences in style, technique and diction provide the unique perspective of the cultural context of the novel.


Bringing the world into the classroom requires research by teachers and students to gain insight into the era and understand the attitudes of the time period. Understanding the belief systems of a culture fosters an openness for diversity. It teaches them appreciation, tolerance and broadens their mind. Exposing students to other cultures through literature provides the platform needed to stimulate open minded students as they make their own way into the world.    


As we observe Martin Luther King Day, consider being an advocate for human rights not only within your classroom but in your life using reading as your guide.  Promote literature from all over the globe to influence change and acceptance of cultures in the microcosm. Plant the seed and watch it bloom. Go to Center for the Art of Translation for lists of literature.


“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.


Do you break the narrow confines of individualistic concerns? How?


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