Monday, January 23, 2017

Why I Think Diversity Is So Important

I get the interest diverse readers have in reading books with diverse characters. Everyone wants to see themselves in the story at least occasionally - and usually, the main characters are white, straight and not differently-abled in any way.

For me, there's not a shortage of seeing myself in stories.

But, you know what, I actually want to read about characters that are different from me. I've always had curiosity and interest in people from different cultures and that, because they're different from me, look at the world differently.

It goes beyond just that, though. I live in a small town in the central part of the United States. Nearly everyone I know is white and straight. (Also a good twenty years older than me, but that's another subject.) I don't have friends I can ask questions to. I don't have friends that can educate me about what it means to be different. So I find myself turning to books to educate me.

People are afraid of what they don't know and that fear can turn to hatred. But, if there's books out there to demystify the cultures, the sexuality of people and the people with disabilities, I think it would help educate people as to what these people's culture and beliefs - and lives - are like.

(Of course, that's assuming it's an accurate representation. I don't know enough about most cultures to comment on this beyond what I personally find offensive so I'll leave the critiquing to others.)

I want to read about these minorities that I don't know about so I can learn about them. So, maybe, I can understand them better - because the world would be a much more peaceful place if there was more understanding going on.

I've noticed several new books coming out this year that sound diverse, so that gives me a lot of hope - and pride - in these authors that have listened to the readers begging for diversity.