Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Discussion: A Weird Confession About Diversity

This may be weird to hear, but I honestly don't care that much about seeing ethnic diversity in books. Well, if it's there, it's there, but I also don't actually mind if it's not there. There is a good reason for this, and it's not that I love reading about white characters lol. The reason why I don't mind about not having diversity in books is because I'm not a very visual reader.

When I read, I get more feelings and overall pictures of what's happening. It's weird; often I don't actually visualise the scene, it's more like I'm seeing the words themselves playing in my head? It's hard to explain, but if you're a similarly non-visual reader, you probably get what I'm talking about. And, probably terrible (and actually, now that I think about it, probably a product of the lack of diversity in YA) but if I do get a bit of an image, the character automatically defaults to being white. Gahh I know. It's a problem.

However, I would like to see some diversity in books if the authors could get the culture right. Or even include any culture at all. Sometimes, I see characters thrown out who happen to be Mexican, or South African, or Chinese, but with no cultural background establishment whatsoever, they may as well be white. It's almost as if the author is throwing them in for the sake of saying "look, diversity!" and it's like, well no. Just because you say "John is Korean", doesn't make him feel Korean. (I'm a Korean by the way. Korean Australian. SO I WOULD KNOW. haha)

And please, authors. If you're going to include some sort of culture when you aren't actually a person from that culture, please please please ask someone who is to just take a look over your work and make sure what you're saying isn't complete wrong. Seriously, it saves a lot of people out there from having to rage over authors not doing their research and whatnot. Honestly, I'd rather see no diversity than some stupidly cliched form of diversity.

So I guess in conclusion: I do kind of want diversity. It's not really my main priority though. I'd rather read a great book about white people than a crappy book about an Asian or an African American.

Penny for your thoughts: what do you think about the ongoing campaign for diversity in YA?