Let’s Talk About Diversity: My Thoughts & A Bunch of Book Recs!

SPARKLING LETTERS BOOK BLOG- Let's Talk About Diversity.jpg

Before I start, I just want to tell you that this is by far the longest and most difficult post I’ve ever written. I hope I could get all my points through to you and I apologize in advanced if there are a couple things that don’t make sense or by any chance offend you 🙂 P.S. I’M NERVOUS!!

If you’re even remotely following the bookish community, you’d know that #weneeddiversebooks isn’t actually a new movement. It’s been going on for a while but lately, it became a really hot-of-the-press issue. You might have seen (or even be a part of) this ‘war’ about diversity on twitter these couple of weeks. I’ve actually had this diversity post planned for a while but kept putting it off because I wanted to read more books to support my point, but seeing all the buzz around diversity, what better time to post it but now?

Before we start, let’s define diversity.

What is diversity.jpg

Here’s how #weneeddiversebooks define diversity :

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. 

*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.

My thoughts on diversity.jpg

I should probably tell you that I’m Asian and a Muslim, which I guess makes me a part of these ‘diverse group’? But honestly, I live and grew up in a city where my race, religion, and ethnicity are majority, so I never experienced directly how it felt to be marginalized. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the discrimination received by my fellow Muslim person of colors out there. I know of all the prejudice against Muslim. The talks that we are all terrorists? Heard that a lot. I’ve also been told that I might never set foot in US because my full name is Islamic and It’ll be difficult for me to be granted the US Visa. Whatever.

The strange thing is, I NEVER cared about diversity before. Never gave it much thought, never even felt the need to be represented. I mean, there are always books by local authors that represent my culture and my beliefs. It never even occurred to me to want to be represented internationally. As in, in international books? I was intrigued to read more about people from different groups but never made it my actual goal.

And I Darken by Kiersten White was a game changer for me. It’s so heartwarming to see Islam was portrayed as something so beautiful and peaceful ♥ At that point, I was drowned in a moment of realization. I was like, “So this is how it feels to be represented in a book? THAT FEELS NICE!” I’ve been stacking up my TBR with diverse books ever since.

And I Darken.jpg

Not long after that, the twitter war started. 

You might have seen people screamed for more diverse books and some even got to the point where they bullied white authors for not featuring non-white-characters in their books. Some defended the authors and said they should write what they know, and some other countered that with the fact that most authors don’t know how to murder a villain either, but they were willing to research that. Another debate talked about the fact that diverse books should ONLY be written by own voices authors but several inconsiderate people argued that white people could tell their stories better than own voices authors do because they are more educated and own voices books tend to be of poor quality.

I mean… why does that comment even exist?! That’s SO racist. I usually encourage any kind of opinions but this opinion is beyond offensive and the people who said that should just stop talking. AT ALL. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much hate around the bookish community. 

And I’m honestly fed up with those arguments.

Own voices authors could write a very stunning book representing their struggle because they know as well as experience it themselves. But does that mean white authors aren’t allowed to tell the stories? To me, the answer is no. There are always research. White authors could read books, surf the internet, watch movies & documentaries, and talk directly to the people who experience the issues they’re writing about. But for the record, white people aren’t necessarily more educated than people from diverse group. Education is contextual.

Bookish Maps.jpg

I’m sure it would be nice for ALL OF US to be represented in books, but that’s just not possible. There might be books that represent your culture but not your beliefs and otherwise. Authors could write what they know and feel comfortable about and we should respect that. I mean, would you rather see an author forces a diverse character into his/her story but gets it wrong and stereotypical just for the sake of incorporating diversity? I know I wouldn’t want that.

All I’m saying is that it’s great to want to be represented, but we should also respect whatever literature exists out there, diverse or no. If you want to read more diverse books, then I encourage you. If you don’t want nor don’t care about diversity, then stay away. There are more books out there about straight, white, perfectly healthy people. And if anyone ever feel forced to read ethnic literature, just remember that for years, people from diverse group has been obliged to read white people literature. Take it as a chance to get education and stop spreading negativity with those racist, offensive comments. 

I personally support diversity in fictions and I want to read more books promoting diversity. Now since I LOVE LIST, I’m compiling one about why I need more of it ♥

The reasons we need diverse books.jpg

  1. Every story deserves to be told. Stories aren’t just white people’s privilege. EVERYBODY deserves that, let it be black people, latina, muslim, buddhist, jewish, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, mentally ill people, basically all groups of people!
  2. Diverse books provide a realistic portrayal of the real world. I mean, not everyone is white after all:)
  3. It feels good to be represented in books. I finally know it does and I know a lot of people want the same thing ♥
  4. We want to share our stories with the world. Let’s face it, with all the prejudice against Islam going on around the world, I WANT people to know the real peaceful Islam. I want people to know then even we never support any act of terrorism 😦
  5. I want to learn more about people from different groups. Take me for example. I’ve been learning about mental illness and LGBT for years because I studied psychology. I knew almost all the technical aspects about them, but do I know their true stories? Their struggles? The way they deal with lives? Their feelings? I do not, mostly. Books help me understand a little more of how it feels to be in their shoes and that’s why I seek out books featuring these topics.
  6. Learn to empathize. This is literally the easiest way to understand other people. You don’t need to go anywhere, just sit tight and read. It’s literally the best thing of ever!

My Diverse Reading TBR.jpg

Well, THE BEST THING from all these fights for us bookworm is that we got a lot of books recommendation on diversity! Like, A LOT! Go check out #diverserecs on twitter and see for yourself 😛 I read a lot of diverse fantasy, but I want to read more contemporaries & historical fictions because they deal directly with real life issues. Here are some that I (haven’t read but) plan to read really soon 😀

These books are also my TBR for this week #DiverseAThon 

Of course as a consequence, my TBR exploded! I rarely felt overwhelmed by my TBR but I do now, especially with all the great books coming out this month :’) but I’m excited! I mean, look at those covers! Prettiness overload OMG!! See any books you like or would like to give a try? 😀

More posts on diversity that you should definitely check out :

lightpinkdivider

Okayyyy, that was literally the longest post I ever wrote! I was also really nervous (haha) but I hope I didn’t bore you though 😛 SO, there are a couple of things I’d like to discuss with you ♥ 

(1) Do you feel represented enough in popular literature? (2) What’s your honest opinion regarding all these talks about diversity? (3) What are your favorite diverse books? And please recommend me some good ones! 😀

You could also respond to whatever it is I said above and I promise I’ll respect EVERY opinions as long as they are voiced assertively 🙂 Alsooo, feel free to link me to your own diverse posts or other diverse posts you love! ♥ Once again, I’m so very sorry if anything I said offend you in any way 🙂 All in all, let’s spread the positive vibes and thank you for reading!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin 

Find more of me on my social media ♦

Instagram Twitter Facebook Goodreads Pinterest Linkedin

 

Advertisements

50 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Diversity: My Thoughts & A Bunch of Book Recs!

  1. I do agree with the fact that we do need more diverse representation in literature. The way I think about diversity is that its all about different cultures. In this case, to me The West and Caucasian authors actually represent a diverse culture. I am an African so I am always interested in reading books that feature other continents. I guess this is why I don’t quite get that bit about white authors though I hadn’t heard about the twitter fight.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I hadn’t heard of any of these books so I will check them out. Here are my recommendations:https://ahavenforbooklovers.wordpress.com/2016/09/15/diversity-spotlight-thrusday/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! Sometimes I don’t think I’m diverse though, I mean, we’re just different, right? I once read a post that talked about what ‘diversity’ really means and it covers that topic but I forgot whose blog it was :’) I haven’t read any of them but I got them recommended by some of my fave bloggers so I’m sure they’re great! ❤ will check out your post soon! 😀

      Like

  2. Love this post, Puput! I’m so glad you decided to share it 😊 I definitely agree with everything you said and love all the points you bought up about why reading diversely is important. I feel like authors should be able to write about things they don’t identify with as long as they’re being respectful and have done adequate research about the topics. Seeing people say that white authors are more educated though makes me so angry because it’s such an ignorant mind frame to have.

    A ton of the books you listed are on my TBR too! I finished Homegoing yesterday and it was AMAZING. It helped open my eyes to so much.

    Like

  3. Aaaw!! Thank you for sharing my post ! ❤
    I wrote a post a little while back about my take on diversity and had a little TBR on there too haha and we have quite a few books in common ❤
    I ranted on my blog about all of this and you read it so I won't pollute your blog, all I can say is that No I don't feel -correctly- represented enough and I wish I did, and as you know I haven't started caring about diversity until recently too so now my TBR is crumpling under ALL these books that I want to read all at once. #SendHelp
    Anyway, great post !! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! ❤ these books are sooo interesting I can't wait to read all of them! My TBR is too much to handle at the moment and it seems like yours too… haha :') I completely agree with your rant and I hope things will calm down soon so we could all read and respect each other ❤ Yayyy thank you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! There definitely needs to be more diversity in books. Like you said, the world is a big place, and just because a Muslim may be a “minority” in America doesn’t mean they’re a minority worldwide. You’re certainly not a minority where you live! So why people only write about one race and one sexuality is just baffling! And in terms of recommending books, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is a really interesting read!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a fantastic post. What’s sad to me is that all this arguing over diversity and who’s allowed to write it and who *should* write and blah blah blah is only making the situation worse and scaring people off from writing more diversity because everyone is so afraid of offending someone, and with good reason since people just seem to be offended by everything. So I agree, authors should write what they want, whether that means sticking to what they know or doing research and doing their best to write diversity, and people should read what they want and leave everyone else alone instead of attacking each other.

    I’m so glad though that disability is finally starting to be included under the diversity umbrella. I’ve been considering writing my own post, but, like you, I’m kind of scared to. Your post was great though! And I don’t think there was anything offensive about it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 😀 I know right that should be a non issue as long as it is represented right! I mean, I don’t need diverse characters that don’t make any difference to the story just for the sake of incorporating a diversity. And yes omg people are offensive and even more easily offended these days I’m scared of accidentally offend someone :’) Ohhh you should! I’ve read a lot of your discussion posts & they’re awesome. I’m sure you could write one assertively without offending anyone! 😀 and thank you so much that’s a relief hahaha

      Like

  6. I love your post. 🙂 It is beautifully written. I am working slowly through my own books that I have on my bookshelves along with getting more diverse books. I am deaf and I got a lot of recommendations on books that have deaf and hard of hearing characters but wish there’s more. The sentence about white authors being more educated blew my mind. What?! I have tons of friends that are diverse and they are beautiful and smart and awesome to be around. Sometimes it made me so angry to see people being so harsh to a person just because they are different from them. Stupid, I say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ❤ me too, I used to read mainstream books but it's actually nice to break out of my comfort zone and read things I'm not familiar with 🙂 ahhh my cousin is deaf too and I learned just a tiiiiny bit of sign language hehe what's ur fave book featuring characters w/ hearing disability? I'd love to know! ❤ I know righttt that's just so racist and narrow minded! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m working on not jumping on the most popular books and am working on trying to read books that were not hyped. There is nothing wrong with hyped books – they are good! But I think it’s worthwhile to read books that were not being heard and promote them. I haven’t read a book that I actually love when it comes to books that feature characters that are deaf and hard of hearing. Someone at Owlcrate told me about a book that is being released in March that I’m interested in, You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner. Can’t wait to read that book!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Why Diversity Is A Good Thing

  8. This is such a fabulous post and you have really nailed it when it comes to the argument on both sides! I do find it pretty offensive about the whole “white people do it better” but I don’t believe that anyone has entitlement over who writes what! If a white author wants to write a diverse story, then they should research it as well. Own voices authors can actually get things wrong as well! I’m so glad that some great discussions and recommendations have come out of this. Fabulous post Puput!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh thank you so much! ❤ yesss I believe white authors could pull off some adequate resources and that's so true! Own voices could get things wrong as well! I thought about it but I was afraid to say it out loud :') and I don't think writing skill is defined by race/ethnicity alone 😛 Thank you! and thanks for sharing it 😀

      Like

  9. I agree with everything you said!! So much!! I’ve read a lot of diverse books, but until all this stuff has been going on, I never really thought of them that way. I just like reading people’s stories. I personally don’t care if the m/c is white, black, muslim, catholic, straight, gay, whatever… it’s their struggles and their triumphs and their humanology that connects me to them. Having said that, I totally understand why people want to be represented in books and media of all sorts. I hope the future of the discussions on this topic become a lot more respectful and less angry. It’s an emotional subject for many people and I get that, but it’s hard to see constant bickering on Twitter when neither side ever changes their stance. I hope the people not at the extreme ends of the spectrum can rec books to each other and just be supportive. Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! I never cared about what race/ethnicity/religion the MCs are from but unlike you, I read only a few diverse books :’) but yes I totally got where they come from (I feel it too) lol me too! There are a lot of positive discussions/blogging feature that came from this topic but I see there are also some negativity 😦 Thank you! ❤

      Like

  10. YES! I absolutely love this post. I wish there was a love button I could press. This is such a well thought out and beautifully written blog post. I agree with everything. I’ve been so upset that people have been attacking authors for not including diverse characters in the books ALREADY published. The most recent one was someone was yelling at Sarah J. Maas for not having a gay relationship in A Court of Thorns and Roses.

    I feel like there’s not much diversity in books because publishers aren’t publishing more diverse authors. Like you said, a lot of authors write what they know, what they’re comfortable with. Sure an author can research a culture and talk to different people so they can include diverse characters, but I think they’d still get bashed for, then, not representing diverse people correctly.

    I also agree with Michelle’s comment. I’ve never really paid attention to a characters gender, color, religion, etc while reading. Sure it might be mentioned, but It’s never something I solely focus on. I relate to characters because I understand what their heartache feels like, what it’s like to find new love, what their depression is like, etc. However, I can also see why people love diverse characters. I can see how they don’t feel like they’re alone. I love reading diverse books simply because I’m fascinated about learning about new cultures and people.

    Lovely post. Sorry for such a long comment (:

    Amber @ bibliomaniacbibliophile

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww thank you! ❤ You couldn't like this post? Well, you could share it too, I mean, I'll appreciate it 😛 Anywayyyy thank you so much! I totally got it, SJM even got a death threat right? Though I'm not sure if it was because diversity or because there was so little Chaol in EoS :') the point is, people are being unreasonable and violent these days! Ohhh yes so true! Maybe publishers should start publishing more books from PoC authors and start translating books written by own voices authors. Like, there are so many great books from my country but they're not in English therefore I couldn't recommend them! 😦 Me too! To me, reading diverse book is more an eye opener than something I could relate to. Either way, diverse books are great! 😀 Noooo don't apologize I always appreciate a thoughtful comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This was very well said! I agree with you. Diversity in books is great and there should definitely be more of it. But I don’t choose to read a book JUST because it might have a diverse main character. I will read a book if it sounds interesting. But that being said, I can totally understand someone wanting to read a book solely because the main character is like them. It’s totally refreshing to read a book that you can relate to. Im always super excited when I read a book that takes place in Canada (which is basically never haha) and it also pisses me off when Canadians are misrepresented or something. So I get it. Books are almost always taking place in the US.
    I would rather an author write what they are comfortable writing, though. If they don’t feel like it’s their place to write about an African or a native or an Asian, then they shouldn’t.
    There should he more diverse books. But I don’t think that means people should be bullied for not writing diverse books. It’s a book. I’m sorry I feel like thaylt comment was all over the place haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 😀 there are only a few books set in Canada? Bummer! I mean, it’s so close to the US and every book basically takes place there :’) but yesss I don’t know much about Canada but I heard a lot of stereotypes! Sometimes Canadians are being made fun of in movies/tv shows, like Robin from HIMYM! I hope there are more books take place there! 😀 Yes me too, I don’t support the idea of forcing an author to write diverse character or even for authors to ‘force’ a diverse character in their stories just to avoid backlashes. No it’s okay I got it! Delivering a structured opinion is never as easy as it seems haha thank you for reading! 😀

      Like

      • I read a book once that was about an American who moved to Canada, and I was all excited about that, but all the Canadians in the book all still talked like Americans and the school seemed very American. And then I’ve just read books that have Canadians in them so they can be made fun of.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: #DiverseAThon Recap: Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone | Sparkling Letters

  13. Pingback: 6 Months of Blogging: RANT CONTEST WINNERS! – Rant and Rave About Books

  14. Mm, we definitely need diverse books! Especially authentic diverse books that represent us accurately. I haven’t come across that feeling of ‘Oh wow, that’s how it feels to be represented?” like you have, but I understand how important it is to other people, and I advocate for it strongly, because of how it has the potential to educate others. For one, I’m a huge advocate for books that include mental health, because some people aren’t aware of what mental illnesses are like, and books have the potential to help these people learn.
    Thank you for this wonderful post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is very well written puput! I agree that diversity gives real representation of the world and EVERYONE deserves to have their story told. To answer your questions, 1) no, not enough in Indonesia’s lit or international. I’m part of minority group in Indonesia, and I rarely see them in Indonesian books 😦 Same goes for International books, whenever there’s asian people, 98% of the time they give stereotypes. 2) I agree with the whole “we need diversity” movement, but while we can show that we want them, we can’t FORCE someone to write them. We can’t attack authors because they don’t have any diverse characters. I think no diverse character is better than write them for the sake of “HEY LOOK I HAVE DIVERSITY DON’T ATTACK ME”. 3) Crazy Rich Asians is really good! I don’t know about you, but I’m half chinese so while I’m not that rich, the way the characters talk, their habit, and attitude really resonates with me haha! (yes we do all the crazy meddling things). Ari and Dante is adorable ❤ and Every Falling Star really shines North Korea in a new light for me.

    Wonderful post puput!<3

    Like

    • Thank you so much! ❤ OMG YES! Why are all Asian good with math? I mean, that's positive, but so stereotypical! Exactly my point! Rather than forcing authors to write diversely, it's better to support the existing diverse literature. Hahaha I (still) haven't read Crazy Rich Asians but I've been hearing a lot of good things, on top of them all is that it's HILARIOUS! Haha Ari and Dante is so good ❤ Thank you for stopping by, Tasya! 😀

      Like

    • Me too! I didn’t even know I want diversity before that 😛 Yayyyy glad to be of help (or not?) haha some of these books are really great! My TBR is so full and I can’t wait to devour them all. Yeah? I’ll hop on to ur blog and check them out! 😀

      Like

  16. Pingback: Sparkling Letters Monthly Recap: September 2016 | Sparkling Letters

  17. I think you take a really balanced approach to this question. If everyone tried their hardest to see both sides of the issue instead of jumping to negativity, we’d have a lot better discussions around it. (Of course, we could say this about a lot of things in life, I suppose.) I agree with you that Own Voices would be preferable, but that any diversity is better than none (as long as it’s researched and approved by at least some people that it represents).

    I also completely agree when you point out that it would be nice to be completely represented, but you can’t expect that. It’s not as if people in a certain culture all have the same ideas and values–a character of a certain race, sexual orientation, etc. can’t represent ALL people in that group. I think this is where a lot of people get frustrated unfairly. They expect that a person who represents their minority group should accurately reflect THEM, but this can’t always be the case.

    Very thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yessss I love to consider things from all POVs! Yes I fully support OwnVoices but that doesn’t mean other people couldn’t write diversely, as long as they are willing to do an adequate research 😀 Exactly! People want to see THEMSELVES in books but everybody is different even without taking race, ethnic, and religion into account so that’s just not possible 😛 thank you! & thanks for commenting ❤

      Like

  18. Pingback: How Book Blogging Changed the Way I Read | Sparkling Letters

  19. I am so glad to know that this topic is finally being talked about! I’m late in reading all about this and I didn’t know about the Twitter war, but thank you for informing us about it. I’ve just joined the book blogging community and came across your blog by chance c: Representation is really important, but it’s also a shame to see such racist comments coming into light from book lovers too. Still, it’s good to know that people are becoming aware of the lack of diversity being depicted in not just children toys and movies but in books also. If you’re interested, my blog is https://www.thepearlsofreading.WordPress.com. I hope that we can be friends! c:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh heyyyy welcome to the book blogging community! 😀 yes there was some big heated arguments concerning diversity haha but it is an important topic to talk about 🙂 Ahh I couldn’t visit your blog, it said there’s privacy error or something? 😦 I’m so sorry, I would’ve paid you a visit if I could!

      Like

  20. Pingback: 20 ‘TIL I’M 20: My 20 Favorite Bloggers – 11 & 12 | Word Wonders

  21. Pingback: My Stance as A Diverse Book Blogger & Introducing New Feature : The Diversity Corner | Sparkling Letters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s