It’s Tuesday and that means it’s confession time. Today, I’m beating a familiar drum: the absence of color on book review blogs. See my recent post at Color Online:
Today I visited Readergrlz and like most mainstream book sites, it is predominantly white. Race is an issue because it defines the dominant culture; race sets the standard and that means the dominant culture calls me the minority. In our politically correct spaces you get a sprinkle of color but I feel invisible in these spaces. I want to achieve what Readergrlz does: positively impacting young people and all readers who enjoy YA literature, but I want a space full of color, a space where I don’t feel like an afterthought or token.
I’m passionate about a lot of things. In this space and at Color Online, the foundation is literature- multicultural literature. It’s about inclusion, celebration, acceptance and promotion.
Writer, Zetta Elliot says we need to reach out to white teen bloggers and ask them point-blankly to read, review and promote multicultural literature. The POC blog community is small and the audience we want to reach is large. We are asking: What will it take to get you to inject some color into your blogs?
If race doesn’t matter to the reader, what explains the absence of color? Steph at Steph Su Reads brought this up and I’m bringing it up again. And let’s focus less on being politically correct and just keep it real. Alea at Pop Culture loves challenges. Well here’s a challenge to the teen bloggers and those who blog for teens: Add some color. Commit to reading and reviewing YA literature by and about characters of color. We want to be more than the McBook of the month. We want substantive inclusion.
Why do I continue to harp on this? There are several reasons: Imagine what it must feel like to be invisible. Imagine a world where a child still prefers a doll that looks nothing like her. Imagine the impact of being judged by a standard that doesn’t reflect who you are. You want to know what this has to do with books, plenty. In books, we imagine who we can be; we look for the good in us in books. We look for inspiration. Does the main character always have to look like us, no, but what is the impact when the norm is you are not represented? And what about the impact on the reader who never sees others as the lead? What message are we sending to this reader?
I’m making a 30-day challenge here. From now until August 30th, how many multicultural books will you read and review on your blog? Don't know what to read or how to make this a success? Join us for CORA Diversity Roll Call and check out books reviewed for the Diversity Rocks! Challenge.
Many of you are on my blogroll or I follow you otherwise. I visit several teen sites every day. You’re invited to join me here and at Color Online. Ali at DR is one of the nicest folks you could ever meet. Visit her or cloudscome at Wrung Sponge, Edi at Crazy Quilts, Doret at Happy Nappy Bookseller, Colleen at Chasing Ray or the folks at Paper Tigers or The Brown Bookshelf.
For more confessions, visit January at Poet Mom.