Diversity in Books

I didn’t notice the lack of diversity until it was brought to me. Mostly because I’m white. I grew up in a white farm-town neighborhood of Catholics and Baptists. So, when I read a book and all the characters are white, I don’t think anything about it. It’s normal to me.

But, to someone who is not white, it wouldn’t be normal. And everyone deserves to find someone they can connect with in books. Everyone needs to be able to see themselves within the pages, to emerge themselves fully within a story, to have the same sense of escape.

I would love to preach about how race and skin color don’t really matter, how we should stop adding “black” and “white” and other labels to ourselves and to characters, and how we should just be people. We are all human, with beating heats, with lungs, with thoughts and fears and hopes; I’d like to preach about how it is the inside that matters above all else, and that alone should connect a reader with a character.

But, this could also be me reacting to non-white people reacting to the lack of diversity in books.

So… this is what I ask myself at 2:44 AM because that’s when I’m writing this rather than sleeping: if it doesn’t matter what color/race the main character is, why does this argument exist?

Is this argument not so much about skin color but about personality? Are we talking diversity as in the “skin color as personality” thing? Because “white” is the only personality that I know; it’s the only one I’ve got.

Is this argument strange to me because it’s not something that I have been personally bothered by?

It’s late. I need sleep before this goes on for another five hundred words.

I’ve said this before, and I am sticking with it: if you can’t find yourself in a book, maybe you’re just the writer than the industry needs. Go write a book with you in it. Make it awesome, because you’re probably awesome.

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