Hi all! I’m participating in the Dive Into DiversityChallenge hosted by Rather be Reading and Reading Wishes this year, and I’m enjoying it so far, but I’ve run into a roadblock or two. The biggest one, and the one I’d love some input on, is: what does it mean to read diversely?
One of the suggested titles to read for this challenge was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I really enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it to anyone who liked Ender’s Game and/or enjoys some good 80s nostalgia. However, I’m not really sure where “diversity” comes in. The main character, Wade, is a white male, as is the author—not very diverse. On the other hand, Wade is poor, as is much of the country in this vision of the future. Does that make it diverse? (Economically diverse?)
People in the OASIS can be whatever color, age, gender, etc. that they want; you can also be a witch or a wizard or any manner of fantastical creature. Some of the people Wade meets along the way have taken advantage of this, using avatars that don’t match their real-life gender, age, or race. We don’t find this out until toward the end, though, so I don’t know if it qualifies as “diverse.”
My next Dive Into Diversity read is probably going to be Little Peach by Peggy Kern. Peggy is white, but women are still disadvantaged in the publishing world, so does that alone make it diverse? Is it the topic—underage prostitution—that makes it diverse? I don’t yet know what race or sexual orientation the protagonist is; if she’s a PoC, does that make it diverse, even if it’s written by a white straight woman? I’ve also read Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones for the challenge—I would definitely consider that one diverse, as it’s written by a woman of color about women of color.
When you try to read diversely, what “boxes” do you check before you consider a book diverse? Does the book have to be written by an author of color? A woman? An LGBTQ author? Or does the book just have to have diverse characters (LGBTQ, people of color, economic diversity, differently-abled, etc.)? But what if the diverse characters are written by someone who isn’t “diverse”? Does that make it less authentic/less diverse? I want to say yes, but is that fair?
Sorry if I rambled a bit—there are a lot of questions here. I’d love to hear your opinions on any and all of them!