I guess this’s probably been repeated so often, it’s gathering dust and the white folk are saying we are racist instead.
But the diversity shit is… shit. There are now white women writing POC/Asian/non-white protagonists and are getting praised for their efforts: awards are coming in, accolades from white people and gushing reviews. I am side-eyeing people who use Chinese monikers and write Asian urban fantasy. I am side-eyeing people who write about Japan and Japanese characters, while obviously, it’s another touristy exotica to whet the appetites of white people. I am side-eyeing people who write non-white protags even though non-white people are unhappy about it – and still they get the big-ass book deals and the marketing behind it.
I am sick and tired of the double standards. And yes, the diversity push is still shit, because you know, the white folk did not get the memo, probably thought whatever they did were well-intentioned and blithely went on their merry way.
What does it tell us? That these people will happily step over us and use the stupid label of ‘ally’ to get their diversity pass. “I write POC protags… I am not racist” is the same shit as “I have Black/Asian/POC friends… I am no racist.”
So, the only thing now for us POC/non-white/Asian creators and readers is to ACKNOWLEDGE POC/non-white/Asian creators and readers – signal boost, review, talk to people, spread the word. Many of us still struggle with the bullshit marketing throws at us: “Read them, they are way much better than your local writers…” And many get sucked in and stay there in that limbo for years.
And white people reading this, if the first thing you feel is to get hot and bothered and offended, then you are probably seeing yourself reflected. Two things you can do: kvetch and say I am a mean racist POC, or change your thinking and really really really put your words into good use. So far, it’s just a lot of hot air I see. Don’t hide behind the excuse that you don’t know how to help (and therefore, should just sit on your hands and win awards for your own writing). You have privilege. Put it to good use.