Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursdays on Diversity

I am currently in a restaurant filled with white people. To be politically correct, I probably should say Caucasian people.
It's not like I live in a town without other ethnicities; those ethnicities just aren't here.
This is how I feel about YA. Other ethnicities are probably there just not in the parts written.
Diversity is a big topic right now in all genres of writing, so I might as well throw my hat into the discussion.
I am half Asian and half white. If you ask my parents, they will say I am 100% Asian and 100% white which doesn't make a lick of sense. I prefer to think of myself as 50/50.
I'm not one of those people who tries to find someone who looks like me to relate to them in a book. I relate to characters by what they feel and do.
I think the big key to diversity isn't what character look like but their culture.
I want diverse cultural backgrounds.
I don't care if the character is black, white, freckled, gay, straight, disabled, abled, Christian, Muslim, vodoo or whatever y'all consider diverse.
Sure they sound diverse, but if those characters aren't influenced by their culture, what is the real difference between all of them besides what they check off on the census.
I once read an author talking about religion saying that if its well written the readers will keep reading.
I believe that. I don't care about the facts. I want the real stuff even if I can't relate. I can't relate to going to a wizard academy, but I keep on reading because JK Rowling is a fantastic author.
My love interest in my WIP is black. Everytime his sisters or he do something wrong, his mother take them to a civil rights museum to remind them how far they have come and to live up to the dream their ancestor had for them.
I think the cultural part about the museum gives you a lot of information on the family and their values than if I just said "he's black".
BTW I consider this as a tradition which totally count for culture :)
Color and religion and everything else don't make up a person. What they do with all that does.
Sure diversity is great, but I think the true gems come from the culture behind their ethnicities.
A little change if color or religion or whatever is great, but I think a white character with strong culture surpasses a diverse character without culture.