Let’s Talk Bookish – Writers of Diverse Books

Good morning and welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Who do you think is qualified to write a book with diverse characters?

At first, I thought it would be best if only people who are a part of that diverse group should write about such characters, but I’ve realized that that is unrealistic, and maybe unfair.

There’s one thing that I hate more than a bad book: a bad one with misrepresentation.

I’m part of a minority group, and I know how frustrating it can be to find books, specifically YA books, with people like me. The few books that do have, for instance, Muslim representation, are not always correct, and they don’t always handle the Muslim aspect of the book very well, which leaves me frustrated and dissatisfied.

I would love to see more diversity and more representation, but I want it to be done right, not halfway, or completely overboard. I want to learn about other minority groups and what life is like for them through books, but I don’t want to be learning/reading the wrong thing.

That’s why I believed that it would be best if only people who are from a minority group should write about characters with that representation. But that’s not possible. It’s unrealistic. It’s maybe a little unfair.

You have no idea if an author grew up in a diverse community or has friends from a variety of backgrounds. You have no idea if they based their book off of said friends, and did extensive research, and were just trying to do something good and help spread awareness. You can’t tell a person like that not to write diverse books, because they are trying, they know people from that diverse group, and they are helping spread awareness by publishing that book. And I’m so happy and grateful for those kind of authors.

But I also don’t want a Caucasian person who isn’t Muslim, and doesn’t know any Muslims or, for example, Hispanics, besides what he or she sees on TV writing a book about Muslims/Hispanics, or with a Muslim/Hispanic MC.

Some people may know a lot about what it’s like to be from a minority group, maybe because they grew up and lived with them, or have friends from such groups, and they take the time to learn about them.

But others have no ties to any minority groups, and their only information and contact with them is through a newspaper or TV, then for sure, I don’t believe someone like that should be writing a diverse book.

Honestly, we can’t choose who writes what, because everyone’s entitled to do whatever they want, but I just hope that in our bid to increase diversity, we get the good kind, the accurate kind more often than the disappointing misrepresented one.

This Week’s Participants:

Heran @ Be Frisky | Jane @ Blogger Books | Dani @ Literary Lion

Chat with me

What do you think? Should people be allowed to publish books with diverse characters when they aren’t from the that group? If you are from a specific group, have you struggled to find accurate representation of what it is truly like for you? Chat with me in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Writers of Diverse Books

  1. Loved this post! I completely agree, diversity and representation is so important, but misrepresentation can be so dangerous. You are delivering that information to people that may have never heard or seen anything about a group of people and that wrong information could be so hard to correct later down the line.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great great post! I totally understand your point!!! I also don’t like it when people try to write about certain things where they have no idea about and just deliver the wrong message… I wrote that everyone should be able to write about anything, but I totally understand that opinion! And I’m also super grateful for the authors who are trying to help, who might not be part of a minority group, but are trying to do the right thing!
    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jane โค I’m super grateful for those authors too, because they are helping spread awareness and they are diversifying books, and writing amazing rep and it just makes me so happy to hear about authors who get it right when so many people get it wrong.
      Can’t wait to read your post ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an interesting topic! I definitely agree that when we ask for representation, we want that representation to be accurate, and it can be easy to say that only people from a certain marginalized group should be able to write characters from that group. But that would be so limiting and create some bland, not diverse books! In general, I feel like authors shouldn’t write a story ABOUT being part of a group that they’re not a part of, such as a non-Muslim person writing about the Muslim experience, but as long as they’re respectful and informed they should be able to include diverse characters of all kinds of identities in their stories. But there’s so much gray area and it’s hard to say what’s good representation and what’s not!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! Not only would it result in bland books, but it will probably result in not many either, because it’s not everyone who wants to/is good at writing.
      Yeah, it’s fine to have characters from diverse backgrounds in your books, but research is key, even if they are just side characters. You don’t want to get something wrong, and it’s even more important if they have a major role in the story.
      You’re right about that as well ๐Ÿ™‚ A certain representation might be partly inaccurate for some people while it may be completely accurate for others from the same group. I guess we need to find a balance, or make it clear which side/part of the group we’re trying to represent so that there isn’t so much confusion.
      Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ’š

      Like

  4. Wonderful topic and I loved hearing your thoughts ๐Ÿ’ž

    I totally agree with what you said. I hate reading inaccurate representation. On that note, I LOVE reading accurate representation. Also, people who are reading about a particular minority group will be fed misinformation which is disastrous โ˜น๏ธ

    For eg, I don’t know anyone Hispanic so if I read a book with a messed up rep, I’m going to assume that’s how Hispanics are because I don’t know any better ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you did!! I love your comments ๐Ÿ’š

      Yeah, and that’s why it’s so dangerous for people who aren’t from a certain group, or haven’t done some serious research, to be writing books about that particular group.

      We want people to be aware, but we also want them to have the right kind of information, not a distorted and inaccurate one. Honestly, what’s the point of promoting diversity, if what we’ll be reading is going to be inaccurate?

      Like

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