Just kiddin' y'all, I don't have a book club. Yet. It might be on the horizon. Lately I've been reading some oldies that I missed the first time around. You might have caught "The Big Sleep" a couple posts back. Now sometimes reading the oldies is uncomfortable. Sometimes it's because the words have fallen out of favor and it's hard to chew your way through and sometimes it's because they're unrelievedly racist and misogynistic. I read once that a good barometer of whether or not a text is racist (like if for some reason your racism reader is jammed and you need some help deciding) is to ask yourself "Would I feel comfortable reading this to a child of the ethnic/racial group in question?" That ought to clear things up right there.
Over to the right is Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It's super racist and quite misogynistic. And not just "for the times" - plenty of older books are not as flagrantly "White Man's Burden" as Tarzan. Also, the scenarios described are simply absurd. It isn't all that well written. Here is an interesting fact: The Apes that Tarzan is the King of are not gorillas. They are a different intermediate form of hominid that have some gorilla-like attributes and some that are more human. They are like Bigfoots. Bigfeet. What's the plural of Bigfoot, y'all?
Folks have written PhD thesis about pervasive literary racism, and I'm not adding to that body of knowledge, I'm just readin' and reviewin' some old books. You've got a few things going on. In the 1800s up to World War II or so, there is a very strong trend of nationalistic identity - the pervasive belief that being a white American or British man was in all ways superior to any other state of being. Some of the stereotyping is "positive" - that natives are strong or good hunters, although that is often mitigated by them being the first characters to be killed off or that they are superstitious or cannibalistic. Slavery and colonialism were often not questioned. There is a difference between describing social stratification and actively endorsing it and some writers get into a gray area here. It can also be pretty darned informative to read about the state of racial/gender relations at various points in history from a primary source rather than through the 21st century lens (where we've got it all figured out, right?) So just about every classic book could use a rewrite before it's ready to go live - some more than others - but this is kind of risky too. It's dangerous to whitewash the whitewashed past. There is merit in learning from other's mistakes. Still, I think before I sat down and read "Peter Pan" to a Native American kid, I'd want to bring it more in line with the values of equality and justice.