19 August 2014

Diversity or Tokenism

I've been thinking a lot about diversity in books. It's something that gets talked about a lot in the blogosphere, and I think it's worth examining.

People talk a lot about how we need diverse books. There's even a hashtag for it. But the challenge lies in how you go about making them.

To me, at least, you can't just go and make a character diverse, like it's a coat of paint you can slap on them. Whether they're differently abled, LGBTQwhyaretheresomanyletterstoremember, ethnic minority, you name it, they have to be conceived of that way and honestly portrayed.

That's been a big challenge for me. Where I grew up, it was mostly white people. I have to do a lot of research if I want to delve into a different culture. And I'm happy to do that research - don't get me wrong - but it definitely makes it more difficult. I love a challenge. But I can't hold of writing just because I don't understand my topic yet, so I write on something else while I research.

I firmly reject the insertion of diverse characters in books simply to fulfill a quota. It does no good to anybody if the characters aren't portrayed honestly.

End rant, I guess.