I’ve written many posts about why we need to read diverse books, how to properly write diversity and such, but after reading May’s post I realized that I never wrote anything about why we should be promoting diverse books.
i know, SHAME
Before you read my post, check out May’s because she’s part of the minority group and is able to speak about why diversity matters and why we should promote diverse books better than I ever could.
Diversity is something that has been overlooked time and time again. When it appears in TV, movies, books, etc. minorities are either happy to finally see themselves represented or they’re represented in a bad way and lash out.
also, if somebody says that rep is harmful, it probably is and you should listen to them
Those that aren’t part of the minority see the inclusion of diverse characters in their entertainment as a sort of ‘invasion’ and constantly describe it as being ‘shoved down their throat”.
What they don’t think of is the fact that white straight Christians is what is considered the ‘norm’ in most forms of entertainment. This is very harmful to minorities that are desperately trying to find a way to see themselves as normal and part of the world.
When they don’t see anybody on TV that looks like them, has the same sexual orientation as them, or has one religious belief that thinks it’s the ‘superior’ belief, they can’t help but think that they’re wrong.
But then there’s always the counterargument of “oh there are plenty of diverse characters in ____ !” *points to the back where there’s an Asian doctor* “Right there! That’s diversity!! You just choose to ignore it and make something out of nothing.”
The problem is, even if there are a few diverse characters scattered around Hollywood films, when are there EVER diverse characters as the MAIN character that saves the day??
Wait. Let me re-phrase that. When are there ever diverse characters as a main character that isn’t a living stereotype? It’s so freaking rare.
And when there ARE diverse characters as the leads they’re indie films or don’t get the attention that Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise movies do. The same goes for books.
Not only is the publishing industry very bad at diversity (but is getting better) but marketers don’t seem to care about diverse books over the new Colleen Hoover or Kasie West.
i don’t have anything against West besides her very straight white characters on all of her covers – Hoover however, i’ve never read any of her books but i’ve read enough snippets to know to stay far away from them
The diverse books not getting nearly enough of the spotlight as non-diverse books is like saying that getting these books out in the world for audiences to read isn’t as important.
It is important. So important.
Imagine growing up and not being able to see yourself in the entertainment you consume. Imagine only seeing an Asian character as somebody that’s good at math so you feel like you need to be like that as well. Or seeing only black characters as drug dealers and thinking “oh, well, I guess that’s how I’m supposed to be then…”
Same goes for Religion, Sexuality, and Mental Illness. Misrepresentation is harmful, simple as that.
It’s important to promote the diverse books that have good rep so that the minority will have characters to relate to, characters that they can see themselves in. So that they know that they belong in this world as something positive, as someone normal.
I’m not the best person to be spreading this message since I’m not diverse myself besides being part Native American, but I’ve read stuff from other bloggers that have dealt with racism, homophobia, etc. their entire life. Reading what they have to say about representation in the media and how important (I know, I’m over-using this word) it is to them really opened up my eyes.
Just looking at the books in B&N that are put in the front window or the TV shows that are promoted more than others, it’s very clear that diversity isn’t something that’s promoted as much as it should be.
Now, it’s time for me to promote some diverse books, authors, and bloggers!)
**note that i will only be listing books/authors that i believe don’t get the promotions they deserve**
**also note that not all of these will be books/authors i’ve read**
- Cindy Pon. The only book of hers that has gotten proper exposure (only due to the amazing online book community – go us!) is her most recent release Want. I honestly thought she was a debut author but nope! She’s been published since 2009!
- Anna-Marie McLemore. Her books have only been getting the exposure they deserve – again – because of the wonderful online book community.
- Jason Reynolds. People keep on overlooking him??? HE HAS SO MANY BOOKS OUT (I haven’t read any, but I really want to). They all sound so important. Unfortunately, the book community doesn’t promote his books much either…
- Nnedi Okorafor. Her books honestly sound amazing, but the only one that’s been getting any promotions is her newest release, Akata Warrior. But she’s been published since like, 2005!
- Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman. I am still so salty over this. This is one of the best books released in 2017 but the only way it’s been given exposure at all is because of me and some fellow blogger friends. I only hope that her future books get more exposure.
- Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh. This book sounds so freaking amazing but, again, the only reason it got exposure is due to us book bloggers. And still it didn’t get much exposure like it should.
- Noteworthy by Riley Redgate. I only know about this book – and it’s diversity – from two or three bloggers I follow. That’s it. I haven’t seen anything about it anywhere else.
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone. This had some hype before it came out but after?? NOTHING. WHY DID PEOPLE STOP TALKING ABOUT IT???
- May @ Forever and Everly. The inspiration for this post and the most down-to-earth blogger out there. Give her all of the Thai characters because SHE DESERVES THEM OKAY??
- Lia @ Lost in a Story. If I were to pick one blogger friend, she’s always the first to come to mind. She reads and writes so diversely; an ace queen.
- Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink. She deserves all of the love from you guys because she’s amazing. Muslim and deserves all of the ice cream.
- Fadwa @ Word Woonders. Diversity advocate that has the best reviews EVER. She’s the best and you should all follow her.
Where do you stand on diversity? Do you think that diverse books get enough exposure? Do you think otherwise?