This challenge runs for one week from November 20th to 26th and provides two fun daily prompts to choose from (or you can do both!) a recommendation or a reflection.
Saturday 26th November
“All the love”
Books celebrating LGBTQ+ // Why diversity is important to you
I think diversity in books is important because there’s more than just one story to tell. Representation matters.
This is why I tend not to read adult books by white men. They tend to all be the exact same story, no matter how you dress it up. It’s either a wish fulfillment hero’s journey or an older man trying to reclaim his former glory.
I think it’s important to get more people of colour working in the publishing industry, especially YA, which is predominantly white females.
I think it’s important that I mention that diversity is really high among reviewers.
I think it’s important to mention that I grew up with diverse superhero teams:
The Animorphs has a black girl in a relationship with a white boy, and a Hispanic boy, as well as 2 other white characters and an alien.
Power Rangers, my other major influencer on my childhood, had a kid of Native American descent, an Asian-American character, an African-American character, and a nerd in their superhero team: even when they switched it around for the next generation, they re-cast an Asian-American boy and an African-American girl. The new film coming out in 2017 only has one white character in the team, the leading Red Ranger. All other Power Rangers are played by actors of colour.
The Tribe had its fair share of people of colour, including Maori, Indian, Asian, and African-New Zealanders playing big roles, although it still did have a lot of white people. It also had a lot of females in lead roles, a feature I believe may be replicated in The 100 (which is a show I haven’t watched, but I’ve seen lots of flailing from book lovers). The Tribe also showcased diversity in disabilities and sexuality.
Nowadays you don’t really see this kind of representation in the mainstream. I get frustrated because the Avengers film only had a token female and the men were predominantly white. Superhero films star men. Two Hulk films? How many Spiderman, Superman and Batman films, yet we’re only just now getting a Wonder Woman film?
Now I watch Brooklyn 99 where the only white character is the male lead, and that’s obviously needed because if the cast were all people of colour it would be relegated as a show aimed at people of colour, not a show aimed at a wider demographic. I’m flabbergasted as Star Wars manages a white female and a black male lead, not only pulls it off but goes on to find major success, proving diversity is cool.
And I can imagine how it feels to absorb all of this media and never see a reflection of oneself. I’m a woman, but I’m very tall. It’s rare to find tall women in TV or books unless they’re also super-skinny like Uma Thurman or Elle Macpherson or Lucy (f)Lawless (OK Flawless isn’t skinny but she is incredibly beautiful and fit). It’s rare for the tall woman to get any romantic action as well. Usually the kind of people tall women are attracted to go for the tiny helpless five foot nothing heroine. When a tall heroine gets some love, I feel excited and fulfilled. I imagine it feels similar for a person of colour or another unrepresented minority.
Minorities deserve to see themselves reflected in the fiction they read just as much as the mainstream.