Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Why We Need Diverse Books is Important

How is diversity portrayed in books? According to the We Need Diverse Books website, We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit and grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry. Their aim is to help produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. Most of the diverse books are fiction novels. But what is fiction? Is fiction just merely composed of stories of the imagination or is it something more? Are there underlying meanings about the plot and the characters? Is our unconscious trying to tell us something? Is there something that is more than meets the eye?

Dhonielle Clayton's tweet thread about how only one person caught the core theme about The Belles being a reference to slavery has been going viral in the blogosphere. With our own identities, sometimes it is hard to fully understand someone’s experience fully because we are not in their shoes. We do not bear their pain. Yes, we may love reading diverse books but we truly cannot understand the experience that someone went through. However, diverse books sheds light and awareness about societal issues and things that we are unfamiliar about. Ignorance is the result of the lack of knowledge about something and assumptions being made.

Society has molded the way we think, the way we talk and the way we act for many years. What is right and what is wrong? Who decides this? Why is mental health looked down upon as weak? Why is being a person of color bad? Why is being gay a sin? Mental health is not a sign of weakness, being a person of color is not bad and being gay is not a sin. Society has engrained certain values and morals. However, what society deems is right and wrong depends on who has the institutional power.

Fiction has provided an avenue for some of society’s issues to be read by the masses. It’s a less controversial way of presenting issues that someone can relate to. However, people are more aware of what is going on in the world and are taking the stand to speak up about the inequalities. People try to reach a fair playing field for equity, diversity and inclusion but will humanity ever reach justice?

Unfortunately, no! It sounds great to have an utopia like world where everyone will accept one another no matter who they are but society’s values will take awhile to even change. Look at history. There are many instances where history repeats itself. Mistakes aren’t being learned from. Microaggressions from words to actions are hurtful, yet we see them every day since the existence of humanity. Why aren’t we making progress?

Tolerance needs to be taught and needs to be accepted in order for us to move forward. Something has to change. Marginalized groups need their voices to be heard. Their experiences are needed to create awareness of what prejudice society has regarding certain people.

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