August 29, 2016

The Demand for Diversity + Authors: The Forbidden Topic

Disclaimer(s):

1. Anyone who doesn't like this post and decides to approach me with hate or malice will be blocked or ignored. If I feel like I am being attacked, you will be blocked. If I feel uncomfortable discussing this post with someone, I will not respond. This post is simply to get my voice and opinion out there, and I do not deserve to be attacked for it and I have the right to block, ignore, and/or not discuss my thoughts with anyone.

2. I am a young straight white female, and I know people will attack me for discussing matters that are supposedly “none of my business”. This post will be about diversity in books and that is a touchy subject for most people. No, I am not racist, homophobic, or any other name you will think of. I am not using my "privileged" status to attack anyone. I am merely stating my opinion in a respectful way. So don't come at me accusing me of things that aren't true, please.
 


    Now that is out of the way, it’s time to get to what this post is all about: the demand for diversity.

    First off, there is nothing wrong with asking/needing diversity. Diversity is essential for many reasons. Diversity is needed. Diversity is cool. I am not saying that I do not agree with that fact at all. What I am saying is that requiring an author to feature diversity in their books when they do not want to is wrong. Hating an author because their books lack diversity is WRONG. One of the reasons most authors don't write about diversity is because they fear misrepresenting diversity and that’s okay. You would rather be represented correctly, rather than incorrectly just because its required of the author, right?

    I am saying that authors should not be hated or badgered to write about something they don't want to or aren't comfortable with writing about. That's like someone forcing you to run a marathon by holding a gun to your head. You lose either way. This community is a loaded gun and its pointed right at a few authors who may shy away from writing what they aren't comfortable with for reasons that shouldn’t matter.

    We have got to stop pushing our wants and beliefs onto others. That is not to say that I don't want to see diversity in books or see authors working towards that. Not at all. I want to see more plus sized heroines like myself grace the pages of YA books, but I am not going to put an author on blast because they didn't feature a plus sized heroine in their book. I want everyone under the sun to feel included in the wonderful world of books no matter the color of your skin, who you love, etc.

    What I DONT want is for authors to feel pressured to create characters that they cannot correctly represent due to lack of experience or knowledge. What I don’t want is for authors to be hated for writing their books the way they want. What I don’t want is for those voices who are calling for change to turn into voices who are yelling for change “or else". I refuse to sit by and watch others call out authors for writing books that have a lack of diversity with hate and malice. No one should be forced to do anything they don't want. NO ONE SHOULD BE FORCED TO DO ANYTHING THEY DONT WANT TO.

    Yes, I am on the side calling for diversity. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be on the side of change. But I am also on the side where authors can write books how they want as long as they aren't hurting anyone in the process with their words. No author is required to create diverse characters and no author is required to write non-diverse characters. No author is REQUIRED to do anything but write what they want because I don't know if you know this or not, but authors don't write for us, they write for themselves. If we start demanding authors write books the way we want then we will start to see very bland and uncreative writing because they will start writing for US and not their own happiness. By saying that an author SHOULD write diverse characters, you are hindering their writing by adding in requirements or some sort of quota to meet. That is when you start to see misrepresentation and stereotypes because the author doesn’t know any better. They just know that people are demanding diversity so that’s what they give them the only way they know how. You want authors to feature diversity because they CHOSE to, not because they are forced to.

    In most situations like these, authors can never win. People holler and scream for diversity from authors who obviously don't know much about writing diverse characters because they have never done it before, but when they try those same people attack the author for not doing it right when they weren't even comfortable with it in the first place.

    You may say that I have no say in this matter because I am a young white girl who doesn't have to search hard to find a book targeted for her, and you are right. I am a white girl and it isn’t hard to find a book for me, but silencing me because of my race is exactly what these people are fighting against. I have a horse in this race because I am a part of the book community too. My voice matters no matter what color, sexuality, gender, etc. it comes out of. The same goes for PoC or LGBTQ+ book lovers, their voices count too. The reasonable and respectful voices of the community need to be heard.

    All I am saying is that yes, we should talk about diverse representation in books and ASK to see more of it in books. Asking and demanding are two totally different things. Let authors know that you want more diversity and let them know that you will support them no matter what because that is what kind people do. I support that 10000000%. What we SHOULDN'T do is DEMAND for authors to write diverse characters when no one is required to do anything they don't want to. We can ask for more representation (I sure as hell won’t stop asking for more plus sized heroines), and we can RESPECTFULLY ask why there is a lack of diversity in an author’s books and be okay with whatever answer you get because ultimately it’s the authors book to do with what they want. What we CAN’T and SHOULDNT do is disrespect and threaten an author because their books lack diversity. No one should feel pressured to fill an imaginary diversity quota. That’s how mistakes are made and people are angered.

    I know a LOT of people will get angry at me for writing this post and come to a crazy conclusion and say that I am against diversity or who will attack me because I worded something wrong or something else. I KNOW this is a sensitive topic, and I have had many people tell me to let this issue go, but I refuse to. I refuse to go on without adding in my two cents. You can yell at me, call me names, unfollow me, whatever. But that will not change my mind of this issue.

    I hope we can all be adults and discuss issues like this respectfully without intending to embarrass or hurt others. I am only human and so are authors, we all deserve respect and kindness. Remember that.

    I hope that no one is offended in any way by this post.

Cheers.