Hello everyone! Welcome to another discussion post ♥
Today we’ll be talking about something a little more serious than usual. As you probably have known, I once wrote a post declaring my support for diversity. It’s true, I thoroughly support it. BUT, you might also notice that I almost never tweet about diversity or voice my further opinions in that matter. Why is that? The truth is, I have a lot of reasons, and today we’ll be talking about it along with my future plan.
Let’s break it down!
I don’t feel like I’m ‘diverse’ enough
I know this is silly. I mean, I’m a Muslim person of color so globally speaking, I am part of the diverse group, aren’t I? The thing is, I live in Indonesia where most of its citizens are Muslim and fellow POCs. We don’t have white people here, and even if we do, they’re tourists or expatriates working in our country. I’m also straight and able bodied. Sure there are a lot of conflicts in my country. Conflicts between religions, prejudice between ethnics, but even MY ethnic is majority where I live. I’m a Sundanese living in West Java. That being said, I never experience how it feels to be marginalized. To be the victim of racism and all that.
The fact that I never experience it first hand makes me feel like I’m not entitled to use the title of #DiverseBookBlogger. It’s probably silly and stupid but I do feel like I’m not diverse enough. That my experience isn’t as important as the others. That’s partly why I’ve been so reluctant in using the title and taking part in conversation about diversity. The other part is because of my knowledge, which brings us to point two.
I don’t have enough knowledge
Aside from not experiencing it first hand, I also don’t have enough knowledge about diversity. I never gave feminism much thought, racial profiling was just a distant term, and I wasn’t even familiar with the term cultural appropriation or systematic oppression. So every time someone talks about it on twitter, I’m content with being a silent reader because really, I have nothing to add. I don’t want to get things wrong.
I don’t like arguing on Twitter
More often than not I’ve seen what started out as a gentle call out or healthy argument turned into a mess. People are dragging each other and misunderstanding happens all the time even after the person provides tons of disclaimer on their threads. Sometimes even an honest mistake turned out to be a twitter war and I personally can’t deal with it. I’m all for confrontation in real life but 140 characters for each tweet can’t convey my messages and even twitter threads still aren’t enough. I feel like on twitter, the chance of my messages being misunderstood is so high and I just… don’t want that.
Those are the reasons why I mostly chose to keep quiet. Instead of voicing my own opinion, I chose a safer approach. I try reading more diversely, retweeting important thread from people who know better about the issues than I do, promoting diverse books, trying to avoid problematic books as best as I could, acknowledging the fact that some of my favorite books are non diverse and even problematic, and saying so on my reviews. For a long time I kept saying to myself that this is the best I could do.
But boy I was wrong.
My turning point was when I won a giveaway hosted by Heidi Helig on twitter last month. The giveaway was solely for #DiverseBookBloggers and I… won. I won because other bloggers nominated me. I won because they believed that I care so much about diversity and I do. I do but I realized that I didn’t do enough for it. I mean, I’m not even sure that I would nominate myself. That’s when I promised to myself that I’m going to do better.
Even to myself, my reasons for not doing more started to feel like excuses. I am part of the diversity, and if white people could be an ally and promote things that they haven’t even experienced, why can’t I? I should be able to. And the thing is, people are capable of learning. I may not understand a lot of things now but I could learn more. I could ask those people and bloggers who understand things better than I do and read about all of it, especially now that everything is just one Google search away. And the fact that I don’t want to talk about it on Twitter shouldn’t even be an issue because I have my blog, a perfect platform to promote diversity.
I kept trying to come up with something brilliant. Something that would show my commitment and support to diversity but still within my limit… and one night the idea came to me. A feature solely dedicated to diversity, or as I call it, THE DIVERSITY CORNER ♦
What is the diversity corner, you ask?
It’s a monthly feature dedicated to diversity in books. On the fourth Saturday of every month, I will publish a post about all things diverse. The format would be like a wrap-up post + book recommendation list. I’m planning to have a theme for each month so all the contents will follow the theme. Here are the things you’re gonna find in every post :
- Diversity news & updates. It’s basically an update about diversity related news that I could find around the blogosphere or the publishing industry. Example of news : Book X has been called out as problematic, author Y is going to release a new diverse book, and so on.
- #DiverseBookBloggers spotlight, because I know a lot of bloggers are more expert and vocal about these issues than I am. In this section, I’m going to introduce some incredible diverse book bloggers along with some of their most notable posts (really like a wrap-up post). Oh and I will try to match it with the theme, i.e when the theme is about Muslim, then I will introduce you some of my favorite Muslim bloggers, etc. I’m probably also gonna do an author spotlight but it’s not a permanent section.
- Diverse Book Recommendations. This list will be a combination of books I’ve read and books that are on my TBR. Again, the theme of the recommendation will match the monthly theme. I’m not always ahead when it comes to diverse books so I’m gonna use all the help from other bloggers I can get, meaning I’m gonna ask for recs on twitter, link up recommendation posts from other bloggers, ask other bloggers to team up with me, etc.
- New diverse releases for the following month. For my February diversity corner, I will put together a list of new diverse releases in March.
For the theme itself, I’m going to start with themes that are close to my heart such as Asian, Muslim, and diverse books from Indonesia. I’m also gonna try to match my theme with the international monthly celebration. Like this month is Black History Month and I really want to center my post around that theme but I don’t know enough about it yet, so I’m 90% not gonna do it but also I’m going to be more prepared for next time 🙂
Alright everyone those are my reasons why I’d been relatively quiet and why I wouldn’t do so anymore. I want to do better and this is the one way I could think of. What do you think about it? What posts and themes would you be interested in? I am still, and will always be, learning, so I’m gonna need your help and advice and guidance to do it right. 🙂 Let me know what you think about this feature because I’d love to hear your thoughts ♥♥
P.S. My first post of The Diversity Corner will be up on Saturday, February 25, so keep an eye of it! 😀
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