The discussion surrounding Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award win and her amazing NYT OP-ED has made me reconsider the way that I read. I have previously made an effort to look for books with LGBTQ characters or authors and to find books with non-American authors. I realize now that this is not enough.
The books that I get sent to review have largely white authors. Though I can try to blame publishers for the way that they market books, the time has come for me to acknowledge my own culpability. If I choose to review only books that I get sent or those that make “traditional” best lists, I am contributing to the problem. (more on that here)
The books that are published NEED to accurately reflect the changing landscape in America. It is not enough to have one person of color on a best of list and call it “diverse.”
The flipside, for some, is that if we all are looking for diverse authors, are we not being racist? Amanda Nelson over about book riot speaks more eloquently on the subject than I can but the gist of it is : No. Looking for diverse authors is not racist. It’s not racist in the same way that looking for female authors of literary fiction is not sexist.
So for 2015, I resolve to be more cognizant of what I read. I resolve to make an effort to discover wonderful books that happen to be written by people of color. I resolve to feature more reviews for books that represent diversity in all aspects: cultural, racial and otherwise.
I am taking part in the Dive into Diversity challenge from Reading Wishes as a way to track my progress.