A new children’s book from actress Kristen Bell, urging people to embrace their similarities and not their differences, is drawing criticism on social media, the Independent reports.
Many have criticized the book, The World Needs More Purple People, as promoting “colorblindness,” or the belief that people should ignore racial differences among people.
Bell told the Associated Press that she wrote the book in response to the prevalence of “divisive narratives” that she sees as prevalent in the world. “Our kids are absorbing all of that and maybe we needed a bit of a road map to show them that it’s actually great to start with similarities first,” she said.
In a description for the book, the cover of which features an illustration of children of different backgrounds holding hands, publisher Random House writes, “What is a purple person?…They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what’s right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh.”
“Teaching children to become colorblind or to focus on goodness is not an effective form of anti-racism education for white children,” one Twitter user wrote in response to the interview.
“Purple people don’t exist,” another tweeted. “They aren’t oppressed and actual BIPOC aren’t asking for white people to find the similarities with them in order to be humanized. Also BIPOC don’t get to dance around the topic of race to their own kids.”
Bell denied that her book was meant to be about race, tweeting, “It's not a teaching tool for race. I'm not qualified to write that, and many others are. Our book was written two years ago and is meant to help kids see past the divisiveness happening in the political conversations.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.