Hello everyone! Welcome to my ☀Daily Book Chat☀ where I do some SERIOUS discussions that fellow book fans will get a kick out of and relate their thoughts about the subject to other book fans!
Today's discussion question is"Sincere Diversity vs. Publicity Stunt Diversity."
I know, I know. This is like the ONE MILLIONTH discussion post about Diversity in the literature world, but I felt that I need to give out my own opinions on the subject and how it's affecting literature (and comic books) as a whole.
I was actually inspired to make this discussion post when I saw this AWESTACULAR video that deals with how diversity is being handled in comics called "Diversity in Comics" which was done by Shoot the Breeze Comics. I found the video to be really interesting and they made lots of valid points in the video about how diversity is being handled in the comics and what I got from that and wanted to discuss about was seeing the difference between "Sincere Diversity," which is diversity in a work that is done in a legitimate and natural way for the characters vs. "Publicity Stunt Diversity," which is diversity that is done to just sell a book.
Now, I am a HUGE ADVOCATE for diversity in literature and I am so glad that we are finally getting some good old diversity into our literature! However, there are times where I feel like diversity is being shoehorned into certain works without giving the characters the proper development needed to make the whole thing work. Just like any other work that involves character development, I would like diversity in literature to be handled with care without being forced in for the sake of making sales for the book. For example, say a long running book series like "The Hunger Games" or "Harry Potter" had suddenly decided to make an existing character homosexual or biracial without a proper development beforehand that would have clued the reader in about this person's true race or sexual orientation early on. I think that this would actually confuse some readers about why this sudden change in a character's race, gender or sexual orientation had happened and would probably cause them to think that they just forced these characters to be diverse for the sake of making sales for the book.
There are TWO ways to introduce diversity into a story without making it shoehorned into a story that would ruin the enjoyment for the readers:
1. DO RESEARCH ON THE BACKGROUNDS OF THE DIVERSE CHARACTERS : This is SERIOUSLY the most important element you need to look out for in a book that features diverse characters. You can automatically tell if diversity is being forced into a story if the diverse characters are being portrayed in a negative or stereotypical way that has nothing to do with their actual culture. If you want diversity to shine through these works, you need to get your research on and actually research the histories and the cultures of these diverse characters in order to not only make the story enjoyable to read, but to make the diversity within the story AUTHENTIC!
2. GIVE OUT HINTS OR FORESHADOW THE CHARACTER'S TRUE GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR RACE NEAR THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY: If there's one thing that could prevent diversity from making their entrance into a story is if the change in the gender, race and sexual orientation of a character is suddenly brought into the story either midway through or towards the end without any proper foreshadowing beforehand that could help readers understand about how this person's diversity affects the story and expand more on how that person deals with their own culture and identity. What makes reading diverse books so interesting is that you get to explore a different culture through this character's eyes and what would be more interesting than seeing this diverse character develop over the course of the story while accepting their own cultures or identities? Now, if the story is about a character just finding out that they are of a different culture and they didn't know about it at the beginning, then I can accept that as long as it's written in a way that is not shoehorned in the story.
DIVERSITY is a wonderful thing to have in stories, but they must be handled with care in order for many readers to explore other cultures through books!
So what are your thoughts: how do you think that diversity should be handled in a work? Should they be developed naturally or should they be forced into the story?
Annnnnnddddd....as always everybody:
HAPPY READING, BOOK FANS!!!!