Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursentary: "How to Write Diversity"

It’s an undeniable fact that minority representation has been a factor too long ignored. Recognizing the incredible, beautiful diversity present in our world today is important for us all.

I know better than anyone that writing diversely may not come naturally to everyone, but that’s why I’m here to help. How do you write diversity? Read on.

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Go With What You’re Told

Little known fact: the media gets absolutely everything right. Those tabloid spotlights and small parts on TV shows for minority groups are quite accurate. To those who suggest research? Bah! As if research were an important part of every novel.

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Diversity is Skin-Deep

Lucky for us, being diverse is totally an external thing. If you just keep mentioning their skin color or their love interests or their clothes or whatever, you’ll be fine. I mean, come on, it’s not like your identity and background should weigh in on your moral decisions or something. That would be ridiculous.

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Only Be Logical

It only makes sense to have white people in Northern European settings, because slavery is wrong and the incredible trade industries definitely wouldn’t have affected the population. Organized society was limited to Europe only. Only old people have disabilities, duh. People choose to be gay. Different religions are required to kill each other. And I know everything, so you can trust me.

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Defend Majority Representation

The stupid thing about these “diversity movements” is that, hello, it’s not like anyone’s asking minority groups to write about us! Life is hard for us too. And unless that 98% belonging to white protagonists on the NYT bestsellers list is bumped up two percent, I think it’s pretty obvious we’re being discriminated against.

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Be in the Majority

On that note, “majority rules” clearly states that we majority folk are fully capable of speaking for minorities. So be a white, straight, Christian, rich person from the United States. We totally know what it’s like to be left out. And, by the way, to the minority groups out there? I just hope you know that the day you should share your stories, experiences, and memories is the day that everyone should listen to you.

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Don’t Write About Things You Disagree With

Oh, not all religions fundamentally agree with yours? Better not put those in, then. Instead, write about the world as you’d like to see it, with only the people you’d like to be in it! (Hey, hey, hey, guys. Hitler did the same thing, and he was probably one of the most influential men in the twentieth century.)

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Make Them The Outsider

Let’s just say they’re minorities for a reason. It would be wrong to make people feel normal, or included, or, worst of all, LOVED. What kind of people would love other people more than themselves, or choose to serve others when they are totally capable of exploiting them? Crazy people, that’s who. Don’t be one of them.

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Defend Yourself Vehemently

Okay, maybe you got something a little wrong. So what? We all make mistakes. The worst thing you can do is own up to it. If people don’t like what you write, that’s their problem! Just act casual. No one really looks to fiction as a representation of the real world or themselves, anyway.

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Just Remember: It’s All About You

Ultimately, the only thing that matters when you’re writing about diversity is that it’s about enforcing your perspective of other people’s lives. Personal experience, compassion? Ha! When in doubt, just think about what you would do, and all will be well. Probably.

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**Just kidding. No way. No how. Don’t do any of these things. This is actually me complaining about bothersome things I myself dislike. Which is why there is a particular audience you can infer. And hopefully you picked up on my sarcasm. But again, moral of the story: No. Just no.

All right, my sarcasm has overstayed its welcome. Hit me up with some good advice—what are some good ways to write about diversity if you aren’t already familiar?


18 comments :

  1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME

    I literally JUST published a post about how to write diversity. Of course, your post is a lot more humorous than mine. But still, great minds think alike. I can't say how much I love this post -- seriously, these are all too common problems, however much we may laugh at them. Especially the issue of skin-deep diversity -- it irks me to NO END.

    *still reeling over the coincidence*

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    1. TO BE FAIR I totally had it scheduled and done with before I had any idea that you were posting about diversity, too. And, as you say, yours is way more actually useful than mine. But as you picked up on, I did try to be a little satirical—being Horatian helped make a problem go over a little better, I think. *nods*

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  2. This is hilarious!

    I honestly have no idea how to write diversity except, you know, "do your research." It's kind of scary sometimes.

    This is quite funny though. :)

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    1. It is scary—especially because a lot of times it doesn't feel like I have a lot of personal experience to add to the mix. Still, we do what we must because we can.

      Thanks for reading, Ashley!

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  3. *bangs head against wall* But Heather! What if I want everyone to be like me, huh? And come on, what if I have better things to do than, like, research or ask questions? I have a stack of books about white people I need to read, and then I have to write a report on why diversity isn't a big deal. So I don't have a lot of time on my hands. I think I know everything there is to know about all the minorities out there. *stomps off*

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    1. XDD I don't even know how to formulate a sarcastic comment just because this makes me so smiley. :) *high fives for on point comment*

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  4. AND HERE I WAS, HOPING FOR SOLID ADVICE. HAHA HA.Ha. Oh Heather, you are sassy. ;) But c'mon now. Most of this is downright realistic. How dare writers have to actually research about diversity? Pfft. And, please, defending yourself is WHAT YOU MUST DO. If it gets out that writers make mistakes then the entire world will diiiiiiie.

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    1. SORRY CAN'T HELP YA THERE. Well, y'know what they say—research is for wussies. You fight to defend your author or your book ends up moldy in the dump. And we are perfect; we should totally get our own way all the time!

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  5. AMAZING. I was so confused when I read the first one, and that's when I realised you must be joking, because who can honestly say the media is factual? I'm technically a 'minority' in three ways, and I don't understand why people don't write diversity more often. Can we all honestly say that everybody is white in one universe? It's just realistic, really. Brilliant post :)

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    1. Haha, yeah, I tried to make sure the first one was slightly ridiculous so everyone would not think I was being serious. That would be pretty bad. As you said, I think writing about diversity is an important element of being realistic—hence my playful criticism of those who don't. :)

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  6. This is hilarious... and true. I'm a majority in a lot of ways, but I still think diversity is important. (besides, if we only look at skin, I'm not white). I was expecting a serious post, but I quite quickly worked out this wasn't. It was funny and honest though (the best humour is the type that pokes fun at ourselves and helps us to gently realise a lot of flaws) :D

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    1. Well, me too. If only people who are minorities are going to care about diversity then this whole thing is not gonna work. I'm glad that you caught onto the satire—hopefully as we continue to tell the truth we can improve the literature we read. :)

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  7. All the sarcasms! This post made my day. Though there is quite some truth in the opposites of these pieces of advice. Especially the one about diverse characters being loved and feeling like they're accepted. I'd like to see more stories with diverse characters in it that aren't just about diversity. A lot of the time, when I see diversity, the book itself is about being diverse, rather than making diversity part of the fabric of the world.

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    1. Good, that was my goal. And I agree; right now diversity almost seems to be in its breakout phase in literature and even in real life, and so it's always nice to see that something is seamlessly woven into the plot of say, a sci-fi or fantasy story. :)

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  8. THE SASSSS IN THIS POST. But the sad thing is that it's all very accurate. *sighs* You have wonderful sarcasm!

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    1. It's sad, but hopefully a little funny, and also an encouragement to get write your diversity right. :) Thanks for stopping by, Evi!

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  9. LOL, that was amazing!
    I totally thought you were going to give real advice, then was confused for a few seconds after reading the first one. Love your sarcasm! :D


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookerviews.wordpress.com

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    1. Well, I'm glad you caught on—it would be terrible if someone actually had to read to the end to catch onto my drift. I'm glad you liked it; thanks for reading, Alexa!

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