Diversity in YA: Should We Comment If We’re Not Diverse? Ft. Opinions.

Here I am, talking about whether I should be talking about diversity or not. 

mY NerVEs ARe tHe oPpOSiTe oF cOLleCted rIGht NOw. 

They’re scattered across the universe.

Diversity is like,, the toughest thing for me to talk about because I feel that since I am not a PoC, or from minorities, or part of the LGBTQ+ community, my opinion doesn’t matter. BUT. I do have things like anxiety, and I have, and still do, suffer from things like depression, and I’m not “skinny“, which I don’t really talk about on my blog.

But, I still feel that my opinions don’t matter as much because I feel like my opinions aren’t as important as other people’s (who are PoC, LGBTQ+, etc), even though if someone else were to have the same things as me, I would yell at them that, yes, you need to be represented too!!”

So yes. When talking about diversity I find it really hard to talk about and I’m so scared of offending people, or seeming like I can’t talk about it since I’m not in minorities etc. But today I am braving this discussion.

And guys I am so scared. This is more nerve-wracking than my post about why I’d unfollow a blog, or even sharing my poetry for the first time.

scared.gifIMG_1882

Let’s start with the basics:

why it’s important:

    1. There needs to be a realistic portrayal of the world in books –> not everyone is white, straight, Christian, able-bodied, neurotypical, and skinny. This needs to be shown in books. I find that it’s so basic when all the characters in a book are white, skinny and able-bodied because the world just isn’t like that.
    2. People need to be able to relate when they read a book –> Now I get that this isn’t arguably the “most important” thing that needs to be represented, but when I find a book that has a character that isn’t exactly “skinny” it’s so refreshing to me and I feel that I can connect more. Even with anxiety, when I read Starfish (yes, I’m not of the same ethnicity,) but because of her anxiety, I felt that I could relate to her. When people read a book, they need to be able to find themselves there, since a lot of people read to escape. And even if they weren’t reading to escape: people deserve to see themselves in what they read, the same way they deserve to find themselves in the world they see around them.
    3. They need to be given a voice when they don’t have a voice –> so many people do not have a voice. People need a voice. People deserve a voice.

*internal screaming* I hope that this all sounds okay please don’t shout at me!!IMG_1882

okay, so the thing: 

The reason that I really don’t like talking about diversity is that even though yes, I belong to some representations, they feel so insignificant compared to other people’s “things” that need to be represented.

BUT.

As I said earlier if someone else were to have the same things as me, I would scream at them that they needed to be represented. AND DFHBGJKDF words don’t work for me, okay? I feel like the fact that I’m not “skinny” isn’t as important as the fact that people of colour need to be represented. BUT IF SOMEONE ELSE WAS THE SAME AS ME I WOULD SAY THAT IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO BE REPRESENTED IN BOOKS TOO.

And, I think that own-voices opinions about diversity/representation matter more than mine (they do!!) –> especially if I’m talking about a representation that doesn’t represent me/that I belong to. I feel that I shouldn’t be talking about representation because others will think that I’m using my “white privilege” to do so, even though if I were talking about it to promote a diverse book. I’m scared of getting shouted at that it’s not my place to comment on representations that I don’t belong to. Sometimes I feel like it’s not my place, and that’s what makes me worried???? (even though, when I do talk about it, I don’t act as though I know alllll about the rep).

I’m so scared that all of this is sounding like a really privileged view.IMG_1882

own-voices reviews to take note of: 

Ilsa’s review of Love, Hate and Other Filters.

Fuzaila’s review of Love, Hate and Other Filters.

OKay I can’t find anymore?lk,l??? SO. erm. SO this is a sign that THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE? OKAY?

own-voices books to take note of: 

 

chat with me

Do you talk about diversity? What do you think about diversity? Are you a “diverse reader”? Do you think that people who aren’t “diverse” should comment on diversity? Let me know!! 

Luuuuuu

 

 

70 thoughts on “Diversity in YA: Should We Comment If We’re Not Diverse? Ft. Opinions.”

  1. i think you handled the topic pretty well ♥ diversity is super important “people need a voice. people deserve a voice. SO WELL WRITTEN!! SO DARN TRUE!! PREACH!

    i don’t think that diversity is just some specific things that one is or their ethnicity or their sexual orientation, etc. diversity is differences and there are so many differences in the world that we should learn to accept. yes, there are people with mental health issues, body image problems, people who face religious discrimination, etc and they should all be represented.

    YOU DO NOT SOUND LIKE YOU ARE USING “WHITE PRIVILEGE”. YOU HANDLE THIS AWESOMELY AND HAVE GOOD POINTS! YOU ARE BRAVE, LU!

    Like

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH HANNNNNNN ❤ ❤

      YESSSS I think that there needs to be and end to this “perfect YA character” that authors seem to have had in the past (and kinds still do)!!!

      AWWW THANK YOU HAN U SWEETIE

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting discussion and it’s definitely something I’ve thought about before! I’m not really as diverse as others, but if I’m reading books about characters that represent me in some way, I definitely comment on it and say if I felt accurately represented. When it comes to diversity that does not apply to me, I always prefer linking to #ownvoices reviews! I think it’s more important to boost these voices because they’re often swept under the rug and not paid attention to as much as e.g. reviews on the same book by popular booktubers or bloggers (who are not being represented but people often listen to them BECAUSE they’re popular). I hope that made any sense??

    ANYWHO, great discussion and I’m glad you made me think about this! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Right. So. Here we go with my thoughts and they’re kind of… Yours, but here we go anyway.
    So as you know, I’m disabled and part of the LGBTQ+ community. However, I shy away from talking about diversity because it terrifies me; in my head i believe my issues are nowhere near those of other people. I’ve only experienced one instance of what you might call “racism” because I look very very white and British; it just makes me afraid of voicing my own opinion. I think that Ownvoices reviews are so so important and should inform people who aren’t of that minority what is or isn’t good rep, but that doesn’t mean that others can’t talk about it – by citing ownvoices reviews and by being respectful of course, but it shouldn’t stop them from talking about it.
    As someone’s already said – all people should be talked about, whatever ethnicity, weight, disability – mental or physical – they have. People should not feel like they’re being silenced for who they are, REGARDLESS of other voices. If you want equality, boost the voices that need to be boosted but in doing so, don’t silence other voices.

    You did this so respectfully and it was very well written; thank you for saying what I struggle to put into words.

    P.s: you’re beautiful and I love you lots xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post so, so much. I think it’s so important that everyone is represented in YA books and I am loving the progress that has been made lately, regarding all of this. I am not as “diverse” as other book bloggers are, yet there are tons of books I read, have read and want to read with LGBT+ representation, PoC as main characters and so on. I don’t think that commenting, reviewing these books or anything else should not be done, because we are not in this diversity – I think, personally, that it’s important to turn to own voices reviewers and boost their voices a bit more when it comes to this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. god, I have so much to say about this!! (sorry in advance for the rant) (also before you freak out I do not hate you)

    I’m queer anxious Asian, and I definitely comment on those parts of the rep! (tho not really a specific sexuality bc I’m not ready to be out yet & I’m still questioning a lil, and sometimes I feel like I can’t offer much perspective on anxiety rep bc it’s self-diagnosed & pretty mild — compared to others’ experiences.) but I definitely will stay away from commenting on, say, Latinx rep, bc I’m not Latinx. I usually just find ownvoices reviews and then see what the overall opinion on the rep is and say something like “I’m not [this] so I’m not qualified to comment on it but ownvoices reviewers have said it’s good/bad!!”

    ALSO. you still deserve to be represented!! I personally think that white, straight, cis, neurotypical, able-bodied, Christian, “skinny”, or even male — those are the “majority”, and they’re people who we all have read about. so I think that rep of anxiety & depression, and not being “skinny”, is just as important as queer & POC rep!!

    so yeah, I will NEVER judge whether a book has good or bad rep if it doesn’t rep me because I have no experiences in it and am not qualified to say so! I think it’s great that you’re promoting ownvoices reviews because really, they are priority, and I honestly don’t see that as using your privilege in a bad way?? if anything it’s great to be boosting others’ not-so-privileged voices!

    so this was a mess but I REALLY LOVE THIS POST. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AW THANK YOU. ❤ aw you know me so well "before you freak out i do not hate you". lmao.

      I get TOTALLY what you mean, If i'm talking about a rep that i don't belong to, I ALWAYS search for own voices reviews! I feel like im SO unqualified to comment on different reps, and that even if i say "a lot of own voices reviews really love this rep!!" I'll still get slammed/get told to stay in my lane — even though that's just me being paranoid as per usual aha.

      Thank you mayyyyy ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post I AM SO SAD I MISSED COMMENTING ON THIS WHILE I WAS ON HIATUS BUT IMMA DO IT ANYWAY.

    So hi yes I relate to being not skinny and struggling with my mental health. I love seeing these things in books. I also love reading ABOUT ALL TYPES OF RACES, RELIGIONS AND SEXUALITIES. BECAUSE I AM SURE PEOPLE LIKE THAT WOULD LOVE TO SEE THEMSELVES IN BOOKS TOO. EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THEMSELVES REPRESENTED. And coming from a really non diverse country I love reading about diversity from own voices authors because it’s a way to learn and to hear stories from backrounds other then your own.

    Of course we should listen to ownvoices reviews and reviewers when it comes to how accurate the represantation IS and I think we should boost those first of all. I could never talk about something I don’t know. Of course I can give my opinion on the book and how much I enjoyed it sure. But I will always also link some ownvoices reviews too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES SAME. I LOVE THAT OTHERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN BOOKS. IT’S SO GREAT TO SEE!!

      Yes i think that #ownvoices is amazing and I always try and see how people from that representation react to the rep!

      Like

  7. This is such a relatable post! I totally know how you feel, I am not poc or lgbtq+. Though I do have anxiety, I’m not able bodied and I’m not skinny. So, I feel like I shouldn’t’ get an opinion on lgbtq+ discussions, but I should get an opinion when it comes to mental health or disability discussions. Honestly, I feel like the word diversity isn’t all-encompassing at the moment, it feels like it mostly focuses on poc and lgbtq+ – which tbh isn’t a bad thing, but also is a very narrow view on what the word really means.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, i think that a lot of books focus on rep for PoC and LGBTQ+, but not so much rep for those who aren’t neurotypical, able-bodied, or have mental health issues. I think that books should represent different minorities more

      Liked by 1 person

          1. well this post as a first. you were brave bc you were talking about a topic you were kind of..unsure about and u talked about not being “skinny” and enxiety and thats so brave and beautiful and i love and admire u for that. i love that u r sto strong all the whilst suffering from depression and i love how much lightu spread in the online world and yeah

            Liked by 1 person

  8. i love this!!! i have to say…i’ve never really considered my own privilege when calling for more diversity. i did a paper for one class and a presentation for another on the need for more diversity in YA last semester, and i’m not….diverse? but i think i’d feel a lot worse if i DIDN’T use my voice/privilege to call for diversity than if i did. ownvoices are much more important than mine on the topic, so i’m going to keep directing people to other sources primarily (which i love that you did), but also i’m still probably going to keep talking about it.

    this is so fascinating! i’m already obsessed with your blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the same way as you! I think that despite the privilege that we have, we should still promote for diversity/representation. I’d hate not to talk about diversity! I really want to start linking to more Own Voices reviews because I think that it’s really important for people to understand what people from that rep think about the rep!

      THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU’RE SO KIND ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes! I can relate to this post so much! I think diversity is really, really important. But… You would never be able to tell from my blog or my reviews. I mention it on occasion, but I’m literally straight, white, neurotypical, I don’t have anxiety or depression, or anything else. Basically I’m like the most un-diverse person out there. So I feel really weird commenting on it.
    And it’s not exactly like I feel like my opinions aren’t valid, I think they are, but… I feel like I don’t have the experience, and information, and perspective to really comment on it.

    I do think that whether or not someone is diverse, it’s important to acknowledge the diversity in a book, but I’m also always worried about accidentally offending someone, because I’m unfortunately somewhat uneducated about most areas of diversity.

    I really hope this comment made some amount of sense, because I really don’t even know what I’m trying to say… But this was a great post, and I’m really impressed that you posted this… It’s a topic I’ve beed thinking about a lot lately, but I haven’t been able to work up the courage to write something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel so WIERD / AWKWARD TALKING ABOUT IT TOO. And we shouldn’t?????????? OMg yes the information behind a representation is really important and also PERSPECTIVE.

      Yes, I get what you mean, it’s important to share that a book is diverse, etc, and the same as you, I don’t want to offend anyone accidentally????

      it really did make sense, don’t worry!! And i get the same thing, I literally do not know how to phrase what I say! Aw thank you so much, and you should totally post about something like this too, it would be great!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel this SO MUCH. I also feel like it’s not my place to talk about books that represent minorities that I’m not a part of, but I think that as long as you really research it to make sure that there aren’t a lot of reviews out there saying it’s harmful rep and make clear that you’re not a part of this specific minority and thus don’t know how accurate the rep is, it’s fine (especially if you can find and link to own voices reviews – that’s something I really want to start doing). I mean, diverse books and especially own voices should be promoted by everyone, as everyone should read them. But I definitely understand where you’re coming from, as I think about this a lot too!
    Also you DEFINITELY deserve to be represented too ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Whoa this is an amazing topic, though I get why you’d be nervous about this! I feel the same really. I’m chinese and demisexual but cisgender otherwise a privileged person??? So I feel anxious talking about topics which I haven’t experienced myself such as depression or extreme anxiety. I’m all for diversity but I think sometimes it’s hard to talk about things if you haven’t experienced them especially as those who have can see your view as “less valuable” or a privileged viewpoint. For me, I would love to read about others’ responses to ownvoices novels even if they are not of that minority/have not experienced that. I don’t think their opinions are any less valid, and though they may speak from a privileged point of view it’s not entirely their fault because it’s hard to think otherwise when that’s just the norm for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I get what you mean, I think that it’s so important to read Own Voices reviews because obs they can explain what they think of the diversity, whereas someone like me who isn’t from that representation could say that it’s good rep, when it isn’t (even though i would def research it!!!). IDK how to phrase it??????????????

      Liked by 1 person

        1. yes that’s also really important to remember and if the ownvoices reviewer doesn’t agree with the rep 100% they usually clarify themselves that it’s not bad rep, it just doesn’t reflect their own situation(is this the right word? im so tired)

          Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a great post!! And honestly, I feel exactly the same as you do. I feel sometimes like…it’s a bit of a competition on who has it worse…if you know what I mean? Like, take for instance mental illness. Someone will write a book about MI and then people will pull it apart because it wasn’t their experience or their experience was worse so why would someone even feel like that (I hope that made sense). I also get worried about talking about representation because I don’t want to get it wrong or have people tell me to stay in my lane. I can talk about MI because it is something that I experience every day. But other things I find it really hard to talk about…I tend to just retweet or share articles from own voices because that way I am helping spreading awareness without putting the spotlight on myself.

    I think this is a really great, honest post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m Hispanic and sometimes even I don’t feel like I can talk about diversity!!! Even though I am a minority, maybe I’m still not diverse enough to talk about representation. I’ve never suffered from mental illness so it’s hard to say I enjoyed this rep when I don’t know that experience, so does my opinion even matter. I never want to be insensitive to a subject that I don’t have a full understanding of. It’s a struggle… To some degree maybe we all feel this way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah i think that we all feel that diversity is a difficult topic to talk about because people see things very differently and can interpret/see things differently, especially with different experiences that we all have!

      Like

  14. I talk about diversity (and the lack thereof) in YA lit all the time! I’ll read just about anything but I prefer diverse books. I think diversity is a topic everyone needs to talk about. As long as they’re not saying we need less diversity or something, I don’t see any reason why everyone can’t join in the convo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this comment!! I think that diversity is really important to talk about, because the more we talk about it, the better we get at talking about it, and the more diversity there is! I really like reading diverse books too!

      Like

  15. I completely get where you’re coming from. I’m not skinny. I suffer from anxiety. Being a diverse reader, I feel everyone should be represented. Mental health matters, sexuality matters, people shouldn’t diminish their struggles because they feel like it isn’t as bad as another. It’s not a competition, that “small” thing could be huge to that person 🙂 .

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I do love reading books where the main characters are from some part of my country. One, they are characterized in the right way and not stereotyped. And two, it’s easy to relate to those characters because I would have been through or going through same situations at some point of time in my life.

    So I agree with you, we should have more diversity in books.

    I loved this post. And I think it’s okay to have opinions on any topic including diversity. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  17. One thing that is a little concerning is that EVERYONE seems to think that Christianity is really well represented in books. Trust me, this is not the first blog post I’ve read where Christian was listed as one of the groups really commonly represented in books.

    I think the main problem is that if a character isn’t evidently part of another religion (or even atheist) people assume they’re Christian, in the same way that you would assume a character is able-bodied if they don’t evidently have a disability. The problem is, Christianity isn’t like a default position that everyone falls to unless stated otherwise. I can’t think of a single YA book that I have read with a Christian protagonist, or even a Christian character. Assumed representation is not actual representation.

    For every other type of diversity (other religions, races, sexual orientation), the author explicitly states what the character is, and readers actually criticise authors who hint at some type of diversity, but don’t explicitly state it (like with Dumbledore being gay). Christianity is very rarely explicitly stated in books, yet readers think it’s very well represented???

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh wow, this IS a loaded topic, and I applaud you for tackling it head on. I agree, this is a super, super tricky issue to try to unload, and I think there’s so many layers to it that it’s impossible to really come to a straight answer.

    In some ways I’m “diverse”. I’m a woman. I’m half hispanic. I have other aspects of my life that aren’t considered “average” or the norm. But so what? I’m only HALF hispanic, and I’m cis. Does that make my experiences count for less? Personally, I think that’s a really dangerous way of thinking, that there are levels to how authentic or valid a person’s experiences and identity are. I see it in the LGBT+ community, where people who are or demi or bi are invalidated because their struggles are different, or not seen as “difficult” to overcome, as though being LGBT+ is defined by the trials someone has to endure as opposed to their own sexuality.

    But you are right, maybe I’m also privileged for thinking this way. I have much lighter skin than either of my sisters, light eyes and lighter hair, so maybe I don’t “get” it the same way they do, despite having the exact same heritage. I don’t know. But does that make me wrong when I try to embrace that side of me? Am I faking my own culture because I don’t like the part? Am I in the wrong, or is society just because I don’t LOOK the way they expect me to?

    Honestly, I think I went a little off course with this comment, but like I said, it’s a loaded subject, haha. Anyway, point is, while I think it’s important to pay attention not to overstep boundaries, I don’t think that means you’re not allowed to have an opinion on diversity and what that actually means.

    Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg your comment was AMAZING. It legit was the best comment I’ve ever had on my blog. The way you explain your opinion is so GREAT and what I was trying to say with this post! Thank you so much for this comment.

      Just. Yes.

      Thank you so much ❤️

      Like

  19. Do I talk about diversity? HAHA, not often, to be honest. I think the closest I got to it was when I posted a discussion late last year about the struggle of being what people call a “diverse reader,” but not really caring too much about diversity as much as it seems like other people do, but feeling that pressure to HAVE TO – to read that diverse book even though I’m not interested or to say something about this book or to avoid reading these books, etc. Which I can’t! I have a life filled with a million other things to stress about, and I should stop thinking I have this burden to act like I care about things I just…don’t care about.

    And I don’t think that’s a bad thing anymore. I think it’s awesome if people care, but I think I’ve stopped trying to find “the perfect ally,” because it’s never going to happen. There will be things that people say that will always test my patience, but I think I’ve found that when it comes to the book community, pretty much everybody is trying the best they can, and I appreciate that. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG i remember that post and I love it!! I feel like there really is this pressure to read diverse books, and that if we dont read diverse books then we’re seen as people who don’t want diversity??? It doesn’t really make sense??

      I dont think that there will ever be that “perfect ally”?? because everyone has different/unique experiences and people will always take what people say differently 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I feel like when it comes to the discussion of diversity, there are groups of people that get left out of the discussion. For instance, I’m neurodiverse because I have ADD/ADHD, the first book I saw myself represented in and it is an own voices novel was A List of Cages by Robin Roe. I feel like if you belong to a certain underrepresented group you have the authority to engage in discussions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and I think that what I ponder most is that if I don’t bring to an underrepresented group, would it be bad of me to even mention the diversity/rep even though I’m not trying to say I know all about it and just mention that the book is diverse? Idk how to phrase it :/

      Like

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