Diversity in 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In our December e-news, we took a look at how 2011 has played out in terms of diversity with a few events of note:

Good: We started Tu Books! Which means more diversity in science fiction, fantasy, and mystery.

Authors Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo organized the Diversity in YA tour and website to highlight diverse books and authors, and got a terrific response from readers.

This year’s KidLit Con conference for children’s book bloggers included a panel on diversity. It’s a topic both readers and authors are giving real thought to.

Also, three out of this year’s four National Book Award winners are authors of color. Which means authors of color are being recognized more…

Bad: …but not necessarily published more. In an informal survey, bloggers could come up with just 84 middle grade and YA authors of color published this year.

And just plain ugly: The casting of the movie version of The Hunger Games brought out the worst in some fans, who were surprised by the inclusion of black cast members.

So, what are your highs and lows of 2011?

2 thoughts on “Diversity in 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

  1. I read the comments about casting a Black girl to play Rue, who IS obviously a Black girl. As a Black female, my mom has always said to me “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Her comment resonated loudly with me, after reading these comments. Actually, you can’t really blame the reading public. Most of it has to be placed with those who cast for acting roles in Hollywood. They have trained viewers to “think white” when looking at books that transition into movies. These reactions should be a wake-up call to Hollywood. With the ever-growing number of people-of-color in our country, it is time that the movie industry reflected on the diverse people that make up 21st-century America.

  2. C, thanks for sharing. I do think blame is shared – when I saw some of those comments, I couldn’t believe that at the very least people hadn’t stopped to think before pressing the “enter” key – but you’re right, Hollywood has trained us to assume white as the default and until that changes in the movies, TV, and commercials that we see on a regular basis (along with the books we read!) it will be very hard for people to change the assumptions that they make.

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