Posts Tagged: diversity
It’s daunting knowing that you will be the only one of your kind at some of these events. When you’ve been made to feel your otherness so concretely in the past, it’s hard not to notice it. I can’t help but feel out of place, even if it’s only for a moment.
One of the things I run into surprisingly often is people saying to me, ‘I’ve never heard of you before’… Yet I’ve been publishing in ‘mainstream’ journals and my book won [the Pulitzer] prize, so what is it that is making me invisible?
For the Huffington Post, Carolina Moreno discusses Junot Diaz’s recent appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, where the award-winning author stressed the importance of reading authors from diverse backgrounds:
You look at this country and you look at this world and you need to understand it in complex ways… And part of that complexity is, of course, questions of gender: If you don’t want to deal and relate and think about what it means to be a woman in this planet— you’re going to have serious problems.
The Hugo Award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon science fiction, a genre which is (finally) broadening to include a diversity of authors and views. That’s not a good thing, according to many white male writers and fans, who have banded together as the “Sad Puppies” to fight against what they see as affirmative action for women and writers of color who are dominating the nominations for the Hugos....more
“When we are born, a doctor or midwife calls us boy or girl. But that’s based on our outside, our cover, and who they think we are,” Silverberg writes. “What about who we think we are?”
A new book aims to tease apart finer distinctions of identity and teach concepts of gender diversity to children....more
High school reading lists are notoriously white and male, exposing students to only a narrow perspective on the world and making it hard for kids to relate to what they read. Many schools are taking the initiative to add more works by women and people of color to the curriculum....more
A new, work-in-progress database of contemporary writers of color created by Durga Chew-Bose, Jazmine Hughes, Vijith Assar, and Buster Bylander aims “to create more visibility for writers of color, ease their access to publications, and build a platform that is both easy for editors to use and accurately represents the writers.”...more
But let’s talk about it! What if? What if we changed things or at least considered changing things?
When the VIDA counts come out and multiple publications are shown to publish far more men than women (with the numbers for POC writers looking even worse), editors make excuses about their submission pools – they get far more submissions and pitches from men than women.
While in one sense the propensity in mainstream discourse to describe racial conflict with words like “tolerance” and “hate”—rather than “power” or “oppression”—has made it possible for greater numbers of people to conceive of how racism affects individuals on a psychological level, a more unsettling consequence of this turn has been that diversity has largely replaced equality as the ultimate goal for many educational and workplace settings, including the book publishing world.
Over at FiveThirtyEight, Amy Rothschild explores the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, and the many strategies advocates are using to make a lasting change in the landscape of children’s literature. While 2014 showed a hopeful bump in books penned by and depicting people of color, institutional challenges will likely make change a slow process; Rothschild cites an overwhelmingly white publishing industry, executives dubious of the market for “niche” books, and strapped budgets of the schools and libraries that once wielded major influence on overall sales....more
For the Guardian, Damien Walter applauds the growing diversity of science fiction titles in 2014, particularly the work of Kameron Hurley and Anne Leckie’s debut novel Ancillary Justice. Of Leckie’s work Walter writes:
Its unconventional take on gender politics helped Ancillary Justice make a clean sweep of the Hugo, Nebula, Clarke and BSFA awards, a rare and deserved achievement.
Jacqueline Woodson responds to Daniel Handler’s racist watermelon joke at the National Book Awards with a moving and direct piece in the New York Times. She neither condemns nor forgives Handler, but instead focuses on her personal history with the watermelon joke, the positive direction of diversity in publishing, and her mission in writing:
This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of.
Daniel Handler’s (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) recent racist joke at the National Book Awards exposed an uncomfortable truth about the American publishing industry: its overwhelming whiteness. For the industry to survive, it must embrace diversity. Over at the Guardian, Carole DeSanti points out that regardless of changes in the business of publishing, what matters is the content:
…any gains in the format and pricing wars are going to be wiped out if content is less and less relevant to the way people live, who we are, and what we aspire to be.
The inaugural BookCon event just took place in New York City in conjunction with the publishing industry’s annual trade convention. When the event’s entirely white lineup was first announced, the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter campaign drew attention to the problem and led the event’s organizers to put together a panel discussion about the need for diversity in literature....more
The lack of people of color in children’s book is stifling, but what’s even scarier is a generational staying of the trend. Kathleen Horning examines this stagnancy for the School Library Journal:
If we want to see change, if we want to see more diversity in literature, we have to buy the books.
Salon tracked down the syllabi of two undergrad courses the writer teaches at MIT, in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Department....more
The disproportionally white publishing industry matters because agents and editors stand between writers and readers. Anika Noni Rose put it perfectly in Vanity Fair this month: “There are so many writers of color out there, and often what they get when they bring their books to their editors, they say, ‘We don’t relate to the character.’ Well it’s not for you to relate to!