Saturday, January 16, 2010

Let’s Read About Ruby Bridges By Ruby Bridges and Grace Maccarone

Martin Luther King Day is the day that we righteous Americans celebrate the time MLK said, “I’m MLK, and I’m here to recruit you,” as well as when James Earl Jones shot him for saying such a thing. These events both happened on the same day; thus, most people take the day off.

In honor of this day and man, I will be reviewing Let’s Read About Ruby Bridges, co-authored, perhaps coincidentally, by Ruby Bridges herself, the least known of the Bridges family. While her brothers Jeff, Beau and Todd became great actors, Ruby became a hero in the black community, a la Kool Moe Dee and Jaleel White.

Bridges co-wrote the book with Grace Maccarone, author of such wonderful children’s books as Three Pigs, One Wolf and the Seven Magic Shapes, Mr. Rover Takes Over, and Classroom Pet. Maccarone got her name, incidentally, after her father Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap.

We all know Ruby Bridges’ story. In the early 60s many American schools that taught nothing but white children begged Bridges to come and matriculate at their facilities. But she wouldn’t. She would only attend black schools, until one day she agreed to go to a mostly white school.

Yet, this book tells a different story. It insists that it was the whites who kept Bridges out of their schools. Of course Bridges herself would tell the story this way more than forty years later, but how are we supposed to believe that Mr. Rover really did take over if Ms. Maccarone is revising history like this?

Thus, innocent white children everywhere are reading Let’s Read About Ruby Bridges today and looking at their parents with shame. These parents can only say, “Dude, I wasn’t even born yet. And, besides, my school was part of the bidding war for Bridges. We wanted her. She turned us down.”

But the children won’t believe it. Not when they hold the story told by Bridges and Maccarone in their tiny, alabaster hands. Not in Obama’s America. Next they’ll try to convince our children that Birth of a Nation was not a comedy.

The only thing I have to say to Ms. Bridges is, “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Ruby?” And to Ms. Maccarone, I say, you’re delicious, but only with tomato sauce. I cannot eat you with just butter. Sorry.

By the way, these are jokes, people. I know the story didn’t go the way I’m saying it does. I admire Ruby Bridges just as much as John Steinbeck, Norman Rockwell, and Eleanor Roosevelt did. You learn all this in the book, which is wonderful. Read it. Cherish it. Tell your kids how awful white people are.

Again, kidding. Satire. Tongue in cheek. Planted firmly in cheek. God bless Ruby Bridges, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and God bless the U.S.A.

After 1968, of course.

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