Bias in boosting diverse titles? // The complexities of being an advocate for diverse books

In case you’re new here… Hi! I love boosting and advocating for diverse books!!

They’re important, they reflect our beautifully diverse world, and they tell stories which FINALLY focus on having marginalized people be the forefront just as much as the typical, allocishet white characters.

And personally, I believe everyone should be an advocate for diverse books! If you’re NOT a supporter of diverse books, I highly recommend you take a step back and reevaluate your values and how you see the world because… yikes.

(Also, here’s your reminder that diverse books are not a trend, or a genre, or anything of that sort! They are HERE TO STAY and they deserve to be present across ALL genres (and audiences, though that’s another beast).

However, what I wanted to look at is WHAT KIND of diverse books are getting talked about! Because “diverse” is a very large umbrella term!! That encompasses: POC, Native, LGBTQ+, mental illness, disabled, ethnic, cultural and religious minorities… and within each of those, there are SO MANY different populations.

What I feel like often happens, is that certain “types”, for lack of a better word, of diverse books get more attention than others. People out here reading one popular coming out story of a gay white boy* and think that’s supporting LGBTQIA+ books, or even diverse books as a whole? Sure that’s great if you’re starting out, but your support should include so much more.

Reading books with bi, pan, trans, non-binary, asexual/aromantic characters! Including queer POC! Queer & disabled! Queer with mental illness! All the intersectional identities!

And that’s only talking about one portion of diverse books!

*I love Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Love, Simon with ALL MY HEART, it means so much to me, but that is NOT the epitome of LGBTQ+ books and that’s that 🤷🏽‍♀️

It just seems like, sometimes thatdiverse books about disabled characters, or books about mental illness are not talked about as often as books with POC or LGBTQ+ rep. I know that’s a hard claim to make, especially since a lot of our perception of what books are being talked about depends on who we’re following, and I do follow people who DO talk about disabled and mentally ill characters (thank you!!), maybe I just don’t follow enough of those people?

YET THAT’S THE THING. There are so many diverse books advocates out here and I love that and appreciate all of you guys so much, but I don’t think there should only be a handful of people who do talk about those minorities! Of course, if you aren’t part of those minorities, do not speak over them, but boosting books with good rep for all minorities is a good thing!! That is SUPPORT. Linking to discussions about those minorities is a good thing!! Etc. BE AN ALLY.

I just feel like books with disabled characters or mentally ill characters just need to be boosted as much as we boost books with POC or queer characters, you know? They’re just as important and it’s unfair to leave the boosting and support of those books only on the shoulders of those who are also disabled or mentally ill. We should be doing it as a community.

I feel like that’s also where bias sort of comes in. Bias is everywhere when it comes to books; as readers, our own experiences and identities just inevitably cause us to have biases, even when we try to stay as unbiased as possible? For me, as someone who identifies as a queer, Muslim POC, I recognize that I particularly look for LGBTQ+, POC and/or Muslim rep in books as well. That doesn’t mean I ignore all other types of diverse books, but just that I pay more attention to these ones?

But I should, and want to do better!

I want to support ALL diverse books. It’s totally valid to value the diverse books that represent your identities, but I think to put the effort in to boost all different types of diverse titles is equally important–what’s not part of your identity is 100% a part of someone else’s, and that’s just as important to respect and support.

And this goes for people who aren’t marginalized as well! We should all do our best to support ALL diverse books. ❤️

Also, in honour of Autism Acceptance Month / Autism Pride Month, I also wanted to remind y’all to support autistics!! This should be all year-round, but especially this month it means a lot to boost the voices of autistic readers/bloggers/people. 💕 It shouldn’t be all on them to talk about the many issues that autistics face, and we should do our part.

Writing this post really made me reflect on how I should be doing better in terms of advocating for all diverse books, and how certain minorities may get overlooked due to personal biases and general popularity in the community? But maybe I’m just imagining everything and this is just a me problem, which is totally fair lmao. I’m working on it!

We can’t be responsible to hold ALL the diverse books ever on our shoulders as individuals all alone, but if we all try our best to lift as many different diverse voices and books as we can together, then hopefully one day we’ll get to a point where diverse books are found everywhere, equally, and ALL diverse books get the attention they deserve.

I know this was a heavier, dense post, but I hope that all made sense? (Seriously what are words) There are just SO MANY stories out there and I just think it’s such a disservice to them to focus on some, and not all diverse books, especially in this time of publishing! This is not a criticism, only a reflection on myself and diverse books! I totally understand how hype allows certain books to become more popular and hyped over others, and that’s fair! But that shouldn’t mean we can’t promote other books just as much.

What are your thoughts?? I don’t mean to exclude anyone in this discussion! If you’re an advocate for diverse books, do you think certain books get more recognition than others? Are there any underrated diverse books you recommend? Am I imagining everything?

I hope you have a lovely Friday!! I’m going to go eat now and read some diverse books lol I’m hungry

(Hungry for the food or the diverse books we may never know)

(Both.)

19 thoughts on “Bias in boosting diverse titles? // The complexities of being an advocate for diverse books

  1. This is such a great post! I agree that intersectional stories aren’t promoted enough – so many queer stories are about white people, so many stories about POC are about straight people, and mental illness and disability get shunted to the side. I’m autistic, so I’m biased, but I’d really love to see more intersectionality in books with autistic characters because so many are about white, straight autistics. I’m probably never getting a book about a queer autistic WOC but I can hope?

    Bias is also a really important thing to look out for! I’m trying to read and boost more books by Black, Latinx, and non-East Asian authors and learn from ownvoices reviewers and stories. I know I need to do better and will keep trying because everyone deserves to have their stories told.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ❤️ Omg yes EXACTLY. You put it perfectly! Ahh, I really hope we see more intersectionality with autistic characters as well, it’s what you and so many others deserve 😭💕 ONE DAY MAYBE.

      Yes, same here! I try my best to boost all different types of diverse books, but there is so much I can do to improve and do better. ❤️ Recognizing our biases and making an effort is a great step, so thank you for all you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ALINE this is such a good post! And I am… definitely guilty of largely just reading queer books, and sometimes overlooking a lot of other diverse books… Which I’m trying to work on! I’m… getting there. Slowly. Hopefully.

    I definitely especially need to work on reading more books with autism rep, and I also reeeeaaallllly need to read more books with characters from religious minorities, because I have read shamefully few of those. 😬😬

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this post, truthfully! You bring up such incredible points in that we’ve gotten to the point where we all read the term “diversity” as just a few populations when, in reality, diversity is diverse in and of itself! I’m actually in the process of writing a post about narrators that have autism for autism awareness month (I studied this in my undergrad and had a blast!!), and this post inspired me even more so to finish that up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thank you! That means so much to me. 💕 YES, exactly, there is so much diversity in the term “diversity” that it really isn’t enough to focus on only a few aspects. I’m so glad to hear that! That post sounds amazing, I can’t wait to read it! 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely feel like a different books are boosted more for their certain diversity trait! (i make sense) as in if there’s a character on the lgbt+ spectrum, that book is going to be boosted SO much. and then if there’s a POC lead, it’s also going to be boosted. and then other marginalizations are often ignored or…not boosted as much which is a real shame! I think talking about books with rep you can indetify with is great but it’s good to champion other titles of diversity as well. great post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way? I was highly questioning myself. Yes, exactly! We’ve gotten to a place where books with LGBT+ characters and POC can become relatively popular whereas other ones don’t always get as much attention. :/ It really is! Yes, same here! Thank you so much. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with what you said about wanting all diversity to be boosted. Diversity includes so many things and it isn’t like you can only one have diversity per book.
    And I wish to see different genres with different diversity. Because I read fantasy 95% of the time so I would love to see fantasy with lots of diversity and all types of diversity.
    And I always thankful for book bloggers and the book community telling me about books that are diverse because I am never up to date with releases so I get most recommendations from them. And I hope they continue to talk about more and more types of diversity. And I hope to do better and read more stories with diversity and own voice reviewers. Because I do think it is important and I want to improve at supporting all diversity. 💛💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, exactly! There are so many intersectional identities out there, we’re definitely not limited to only having one marginalized trait covered. :/
      So true! Fantasy seems so behind in diversity compared to YA contemporary, which is such a shame! Diversity should be EVERYWHERE ah. Yes, for sure! Bloggers and book influencers are so helpful in discovering diverse books. Agreed! 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah, I really do agree that we boost queer + poc voices a lot more than we boost neurodiverse ones! Even though I wholeheartedly think that we should support all of these voices, I really think we should do it equally. April is autism awareness month, and I really do wish that more people would acknowledge it (me included)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? I was thinking I was imagining it but it really does seem that way? Yes, for sure, all minorities deserve to be boosted, and it’s unfair to pay less attention to certain ones over others. 💕 I agree, allistics should definitely make more of an effort to acknowledge and promote autism acceptance. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This was a very great post, Aline, and it is definitely something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. There are a lot of diverse books & authors out there, so I know it’s phisically impossible to support all these different voices, especially when we take into consideration backlist titles that were released before the whole talk on diversity became so mainstream. I think it can be overwhelming, but the fact you’re already aware and making more conscious decisions towards the books you pick up next already means a lot!
    I definitely want to read more books with disabilities and mental health rep, because I’ve been very bad at it, especially at the first one. It’s something I’m already aware of and want to improve. In fact, for May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m planning on reading only books that have neurodivergent characters. It’s important to me that I make these decisions, because I want to become more open minded and learn about different realities through my books and support these authors and their stories as well!

    Like

  8. This is a fantastic post! You are so right about how some marginalized groups get more attention than others. Diversity, is as the very word implies, a diverse thing that has many interconnecting categories and forms. There have been a lot of LGBTQ+ books lately, which is great, but I’ve lowkey hated how that’s what most people think of when you say ‘diverse books’ because there is diversity is many other parts of life that are being overlooked and that none is writing about. And the few books being written, aren’t getting attention. Although, I have been loving the rise of ownvoices authors writing about their experiences and adding so much more diversity to YA!

    Like

  9. This is honestly such a quality, important post: QUALITY LIT Y’ALL. I truly loved it so much.
    But I think everything you said is so true and incredibly valid: we don’t boost neurodiverse and disabled voices/stories enough for sure, and we definitely boost POCs and LGBTQIAP+ voices/stories a lot more. While all of these are important, we all need to boost all of these minorities on a more equal level.

    I definitely boost books that have characters/authors sharing the same marginalizations as myself. As a Malaysian Chinese teen living in Singapore, I seek out stories and authors that have this marginalization a lot more than other stories, and therefore have a soft spot towards Asian books. I personally don’t think there was anything wrong with that, but that I need to be a better ally as a whole.

    I loved this post SO SO MUCH (if you couldn’t tell). Brb, boosting this forever!

    Like

  10. Bias is something we all need to be aware of. I do feel like I see a lot of support for books about mental health, actually, but maybe that’s just the bloggers that I tend to follow? At any rate, you are very right that we should do our best to support ALL types of diversity, not just pat ourselves on the back for supporting one small type.

    Like

Leave a Reply to thebookishskies Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s