Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Diversity Is Becoming More of a Trend

When I started creating the characters for my debut novel, I made them all diverse. This was back in 2008. I made it obvious of what race/culture each character was from. After many, many rewrites I removed their racial diversity. Not because I wanted to "whitewash" them but because I found myself digging into the character racial backgrounds more than the actual plot of the story.

My novel has an anime feel to it although I never say the characters are Japanese. They have weird colored hair and features (purple eyes, blue hair…) but they don't really have a race. Some of their names are a little giveaway, though. Such as Lin Ming, Tee Lin, Sasame, Rin…but I still never mention race or culture.

Don't get me wrong, I love diversity but it seems like people are trying to force it. Agents or publishers only taking submissions from #OwnVoices or LGBT characters that are anything but white and screaming it throughout Twitter. I'm not white; I'm a black woman living in Arkansas that's engaged to a white man. I prefer rock and metal over rap and hip-hop. I'd rather go camping than to a club. I'm in love with anime, zombies, and dead things. I don't wear long nails and I'm not that fond of watermelon.

But I don't want to turn myself into a character in a book just for the sake of saying "Look at me! I'm diverse and shit!" I like my characters the way they are and I have a very specific look for them in my head. My readers can decide if they are black, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever.

Diversity isn't a trend, although now it seems to be that way.

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