Thursday, May 4, 2017

April Diversity Challenge

For all that we (and by "we," I mean bloggers and librarians and authors and people on Twitter) talk about needing diverse books for kids and teens, adult literature is ... also not diverse*. I took a critical step back and said to myself, "Hey, critically-thinking-librarian lady, how many adult authors have you read that are marginalized? How many of the mysteries you read lately featured POC characters who didn't get cast as redshirts?"

And then I heard crickets in my mind and I was ashamed.

It really hit me when I was reading Ezekiel Boone's The Hatching that everyone who matters to the narrative in this particular book is white. Every one. Sure, there's a black buddy cop and two scientists in India, but one is conveniently shot and sidelined, and the others are creature fodder. The female lead thrillers I've read all feature white women who are attractive (The Woman in Cabin 10 and Under the Harrow). Even though we have so far to go, reading these popular adult novels made me realize how much more diverse even relatively average YA novels are.

I only filled up one square on my bingo card this month, and that's with An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.


May will be better! I will make it better!

4 comments:

  1. Are you going to read them or write them? :) As a writer, I find there are problems with the "diversity" thing. Don't write diverse and you get accused of being horrible. Write diverse about people you have no actual connection with and you get accused of taking over someone else's story. And if you do it and make mistakes you get sneered at. POC, etc, need to do their own stories and I'll happily buy them.

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  3. ... And I'm saying the above as a teacher librarian at an ethnically diverse school, who buys a lot of diverse fiction, very little of it written by people who are actually of the ethnicity they write about. Some of them are popular, eg Deborah Ellis, who does "borrow" other people's stories, but mostly they read what the other kids do, not because they have no choice, but because they like it. You know - daemon lovers, James Dashner SF thrillers, Rick Riordan Greek gods' children, etc.

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    1. Mmm. No, I'm not writing anything, just trying to read more diversely.

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