Friday, May 2, 2014

Why "We Need Diverse Books"

Because I get bored reading about #First World Problems
There is a campaign raging out there on the World Wide Web, and I've decide to do my part as a dutiful web-citizen and weigh in.

During May 1st-3rd, you should notice a hash tag flooding the Twitter feeds. #WeNeedDiverseBooks is a cause promoting awareness of how few children's books have a main character of ethnic diversity (Asian, African, Native American, Inuit, Filipino, Latino). This also could be said of many adult novels, exceedingly in one of my favorite genres, fantasy fiction.

I can't recall the any major protagonist in fantasy fiction or sci-fi readily, and so surfed the web. The ones I found listed I hadn't even heard of. Sure, there are plenty of "supporting" characters in the genres, but I would say most of them are pirates or sailors.

In the Harry Potter books, we have Cho Chang, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Angelina Jordan, and Lee Jordan, but they're mostly out of the spotlight, though Cho and Kingsley I could actually remember, so I suppose that counts for something.

In the Inheritance series, we have Nasuada, who is sort of a main character, but doesn't receive as much attention as she deserves either, instead we're left listening to Eragon-angst. (He has a lot of it.)

So, do I think books nowadays are that much more diverse than in Tolkien's time? No. There needs to be more done, by writers like myself, and writers everywhere. No one wants to hear about #First-World-Problems anymore. We want to hear about #Global-Problems.

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