Diversity in Books: A Conversation | Rants & Rambles

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Rants (7)

Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, these are MY OWN opinions and while you can choose to disagree with it, I hope that you at least respect it.


This week on Rants & Rambles I want to discuss:

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The title for this week’s discussion is a little awkward, but I couldn’t come up with something creative enough that tied together my thoughts for this week’s discussion post. My writing muse has left me high and dry this week for sure. Anyways, for the past few weeks, diversity in books has been the hot topic of discussion across all social media platforms and I’ve had a few thoughts about this discussion as well. This is not a discussion posts listing reasons why we need diversity in books (because I shouldn’t have to list reasons for why I need to be included, I SHOULD BE INCLUDED), but rather a few quick thoughts I had that after seeing some responses here and there so bear with me as I try to articulate my thoughts as best as I can!


WHY ALL THE NEGATIVE RESPONSES WHEN WE ASK FOR MORE DIVERSITY IN BOOKS?

I don’t think that marginalized voices are asking for too much when we say that we want authors to be more inclusive in their writing. Like really, are we asking for too much because quite frankly, we SHOULDN’T have to ask in the first place. So why all the push back when we bring this topic up? Instead of getting defensive, why not take a moment and just hear us marginalized voices out and for a minute, actually listen to what we are saying. We are not trying to come off as being hurtful, that is not our intent. We are just trying to help you to create more realistic stories with accurate representation.

However, I don’t agree with harassing/attacking authors who don’t want to listen. If you don’t want to include me, then that’s your loss. 


SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN REVIEWING DIVERSE BOOKS…

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of reading negative reviews for one of my favorite books, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. I expected some of them to say that they didn’t enjoy the book because of the writing style or that the romance didn’t work for them. What I didn’t expect was to read a review stating,

“I never cared ONE BIT about the race or the romance… that race seemed super silly and unlikely…”

I never thought that my race (West Indian) would be considered silly and unlikely. NO PERSON’S RACE IS SILLY OR UNLIKELY. The fact that there are reviewers out there who actually think like this pisses me off.

When reviewing diverse books, we as reviewers need to also do our own research and ask questions if you are not sure about cultural aspects/representation in a book. You can be critical of these books, but also be considerate and not judge another’s culture just because their ideals do not reflect your own. We are a community and we should all be willing and wanting to learn or how else do you expect us to grow?


READING AND ENJOYING A PROBLEMATIC BOOK/SERIES DOES NOT MAKE THE READER THEMSELVES PROBLEMATIC…

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of judgement being passed at those who are fans of certain series. No book is perfect and I’m tired of seeing others say: “If you read/support this series/books by said author, then you are problematic trash.”

My response to that statement:

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The fact that a reader can read a book and enjoy it, WHILE STILL being able to point out its many flaws, shows that we are not reading with blinders on. Being actively aware of a book’s issues alone shows that we are not problematic readers. Stop policing people and judging readers by what books they choose to read/support! Your faves can be problematic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. 


These are just a few thoughts about diversity in books. I do hope that as this conversation continues, authors and publishers start to actually listen to us and that this does bring about a change and we see more representation. We should all be able to see ourselves in books. The world is a colorful place, shouldn’t the stories written be as colorful too?

That is all for this week’s Rants & Rambles. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!

What are some of your thoughts surrounding diversity in books?

Let me know in the comments!

-Ari (2)

12 thoughts on “Diversity in Books: A Conversation | Rants & Rambles

    • I had to read that review a few times because I couldn’t actually believe someone could write something like that. The fact that they could publish a review like that and think that it would be okay is horrifying.

      I think many people overlook my last point which is sad because no book is perfect and if I start nit picking at everything I read then I wouldn’t have many options. I definitely think it’s important that I point out these problematic issues in reviews because calling out BS in books is necessary to make sure this mistake is not made again.

      Like

  1. How? What? Whyyyy? How can someone say “I didn’t care for that race it seems unlikely” ???? So if they meet someone of the same race in the streets, their response would be no, that’s not your race you’re wrong, because I think it’s unlikely ??? That’s just ridiculous to me 😑
    I really get very heated when it comes to ignorant speculations when it comes to diversity, I have no tolerance for it.
    All of this being said, you make great points in this post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • The full review is much worse. I tried to comment on it on Goodreads, but I had to add this person as a friend in order to do that and I was not going to do that. It was just hurtful and the first time I ever seen such ignorance in a review before. Hopefully, I never read a review like this again and that the discussion about diversity educates privileged people to be more mindful about what they say.

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  2. Your post ties very nicely in with this year’s theme for Banned Books Week, which is celebrating diversity in books. More than half of all banned books are either written by people of color, or contain topics pertaining to diverse communities. Which I find ridiculous we still have this problem in America with book censorship. I read to broaden my horizons and worldview, not to limit it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never went to a school that actually banned books, so I didn’t learn about Banned Books Week until I got to college and by then, I realized that I had read a good amount of books on that list. I didn’t see anything problematic about those books and they even helped me to better understanding of the world. America is definitely big on censorship for no reason and I honestly don’t understand the need to ban books in the first place. It can even be somewhat harmful because it’s saying that the ideas and themes being discussed in these books are not acceptable and that’s just wrong and a narrow-minded way of thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Diversity has definitely been a huge topic on all platforms lately. It’s a tough topic to address and you did a wonderful job presenting your opinion. I definitely agree that everyone should be able to see themselves in books. Hopefully more publishers will begin to actively recruit writers who create characters, settings and situations that are more diverse.

    Liked by 1 person

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