Disclaimer: I’m focussing on non-white and non-straight diversity, but I know there are other kind of diverse characters out there as well
Hey guys it’s Michelle from The Writing Hufflepuff again! Last time I made a guide of bookish gifts, but today I’m here to talk to you guys about diversity. Now CW has already written a great post about diversity and why she has a problem with the word diverse, but it doesn’t change the fact that books should feature more ‘diversity’.
If you’ve been a part of the book blogging community for a while now, you’ve probably heard a lot of arguments already, maybe even all of them! But no matter how much we bloggers talk about it and yell ‘WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS’, it’s taking some time to actually get diverse books. There are some great books out there, but when you look at very popular books like Harry Potter for example, most characters are white and except for Dumbledore they’re all straight (I’m also iffy about the fact that it was never mentioned in the books. I feel like it doesn’t really count? But who knows why it wasn’t in the books. Maybe J.K. Rowling did want to include it, but her publisher said no. Let’s not jump to conclusions). But Dumbledore isn’t the protagonist or one of the main characters (I personally see him as a main supporting character), and just writing one or two non-white and/or non-straight supporting characters doesn’t really do the cut either (sorry The Mortal Instruments). We need books with a main character or where one or preferably more of the characters are ‘diverse’. Because there aren’t enough.
First of all it’s unrealistic if a book only features white, straight characters. And not only if it’s taking place in our world. If you created a world of your own, why is it so white and straight? Second, people like to be able to relate to characters and look up to them. To be able to think ‘I can do that too!’ It’s like showing little girls all these male superheroes, and indirectly telling them ‘you can’t do that, you can’t be a superhero’ or ‘play a superhero’ (of course it’s the same with little non-white boys growing up with so many white superheroes). Thankfully that too is changing, but slowly and not without backlash.
And honestly, what I’m wondering is ‘why not?’ Why wouldn’t you write characters that aren’t white and straight? Like Simon says in Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda: “White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.” (but don’t forget to research if your book takes place in a different country from your own, if your character is from a different culture etc. Bad representation is worse than no representation guys, since it creates a wrong and often negative image).
Now I have a question for you guys! What are some diverse books that you would recommend? Seriously I need to read more. I need to read them all.
Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests and at The Feministaswhere she blogs about issues of our modern society like feminism and racism along with her fellow Feministas. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger, watch her endless reblogs of all her fandoms on Tumblr or her adventures on Instagram, find out what she’s reading on Goodreads and what she’s pinning and hearting on Pinterest and We Heart It.