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Bigotry and Intolerance: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Kathlyn Gay

Bigotry and Intolerance: The Ultimate Teen Guide  By Kathlyn Gay
Bigotry and Intolerance: The Ultimate Teen Guide By Kathlyn Gay
Photo contributed by Kathlyn Gay

Title: Bigotry and Intolerance: The Ultimate Teen Guide
Author: Kathlyn Gay
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Publish Date: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8108-8360-4

Tell us a little bit about your writing and educational background

Kathlyn: I've been writing professionally since the day my daughter was born, selling my first article after I got out of the hospital. Now with over 120 books published, including first readers, middle grade and young adult books, encyclopedias, teacher manuals, and portions of textbooks, I still find my life enriched by writing nonfiction work focusing on social and environmental issues, culture, and history.

What is your book about?

Kathlyn: Bigotry & Intolerance is the culmination of many years of following events in this country in which Americans (from diverse backgrounds) have displayed overt bigotry, intolerance and hatred for people different from themselves. I believe in the value of cultural and religious diversity in the United States and perhaps through a book like mine readers will come to accept that same value.

My book covers topics about and includes numerous quotes from teenagers/YAs who have experienced bigotry, intolerance, and racism and also those who have worked to prevent intolerance. In the first chapter diverse people explain what bigotry means to them, and an important discussion examines the difference between bigotry and racism. Other chapters discuss types of bigotry from religious bigotry to homophobia to bullying to the violence of hate groups.

Each chapter covers types of actions that fall under the categories of bigotry and intolerance, and unfortunately, these actions represent only a fraction of the many incidents that occur each year in the United States. This has been most apparent in the harsh and sometimes hate-filled political divide that this country is experiencing currently. On the positive side, numerous individuals and groups that advocate tolerance and appreciation of cultural diversity as well as their programs are described in this book.

Why should readers read your book?

Kathlyn: Readers of Bigotry and Intolerance will find numerous examples of how people cope when they are victims of discrimination, verbal insults, and outright physical attacks. Perhaps those examples can be a catalyst for action to be more inclusive in one’s relations with others.

Did you have any obstacles while writing this book? What were they?

Kathlyn: The obstacles for me were personal—that is, I found it hurtful to hear, read and write about discriminatory and hateful acts that people have endured. Sometimes that had a depressing effect on my day. On the other hand, it was uplifting to write about the numerous individuals and groups who advocate tolerance and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Is this the first book you have ever had published? If not, please share with us what other books you have previously had published.

Kathlyn: I have published more than 120 nonfiction books.

Are you working on any projects right now? Tell us about your upcoming book.

Kathlyn: My new book project is Activism: the Ultimate Teen Guide (working title) to be published by Scarecrow. Activists are vigorous advocates for a cause. They appear in varied age groups, ethnicities, and geographic locations, and take on such social and political issues as abortion, civil rights, global warming, human trafficking, toxic waste, and other causes. Many U.S. activists are young people, ranging in age from early teens to college students in their twenties.

Volunteering and activism seem to be the same thing, but there are differences. I’m quoting University of Southern California Professor Nina Eliasoph, author of The Politics of Volunteering (Polity Press, 2013), who explained: “volunteers can become activists when they confront a problem that requires more than changing the world one person, light bulb or diaper at a time.” The author pointed out “Many early 20th century social reformers…began as volunteers, but painfully discovered that to help young children whose parents took them out of school to earn money, just helping each child one at a time was not enough. If the kid stopped working, the family might go homeless. The volunteers had to become political activists when they realized that if they pushed for legislation to raise the minimum wage and outlaw child labor, parents would make enough money, their kids wouldn’t have to leave school at age 10 and could enjoy America’s promise as the land of opportunity.”

What is your advice for writers wanting to turn authors out there?

Kathlyn: Persistence! I have a t-shirt with the slogan: “Even if it’s crap, just get it on the page.” Another slogan is on a coffee mug: “Write, Revise, Repeat” All good advice I think.

What made you become a writer?

Kathlyn: Being an author was always my goal from early childhood. I’ve never been a gregarious person and writing has been a wonderful way to express myself—and get paid for it.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Kathlyn: I don’t have a “favorite.” I try to appreciate the efforts and sometimes excellence of all the authors I read.

Anything you would like to add?

Kathlyn: I would encourage people to read (and I mean read not just listen to TV or radio comments) about many different viewpoints not just opinions and writings with which one agrees

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