Diversity is a huge hotbed topic these days, especially diversity in literature. There are more books being published by people of varying races, sexual orientations, and gender identities than ever before. Some people consider it a trend. Others consider it a grand conspiracy perpetrated by the Social Justice Warriors of our time to wipe out white men from the popular narrative.
I say it’s about time.
I don’t understand the resentment people feel when the term diversity is brought up. They act as though they are personally being attacked. I think of literature as an infinite table. And everyone should be able to have a seat there and choose what they want to eat. And for the longest time, only certain literature was served in this country. Now the menu is expanding. The other stuff is still there. There’s just more to sample.
When I think about my mother who is old enough to have experienced desegregation in Maryland when she was young and I think about how her experiences differ from mine, I feel really heavy at heart.
She is not someone who has a lot of access to the many arrays of black authors who write romance. She doesn’t like to online shop. She still prefers to look at the books on the shelves and flip it over to read that back cover. The books aren’t available in the small bookstore across town. They ain’t at Walmart. They’re not lining the shelves of the public library. They’re not there. She lives in a small town where there’s only a handful of black people. And there’s still an idea that white people don’t want to read about happily-ever-afters that aren’t about white people. Those books aren’t stocked and she doesn’t get to have a first-hand experience of this awakening in publishing.
So what can be done?
How can we get these books to the small towns where people would like to read them as well?
I made the video below after I posted this on Twitter:
And then I had an eye-opening conversation with my Mom about this whole issue.
Afterward, I created this Google Document that you can access. If you have any black female authors you’d like to add to it, please do. I’d like it to go beyond what I’ve learned and be more of a comprehensive list that people can search for and use.
I talk about it all in more depth in this video. Please have a look and forgive me for getting a bit emotional. Sometimes tears happen.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.