A Collection of the Best Tweets Related to Diversity in YA

As mentioned in my last post, there have been so many great discussions in the YA community lately concerning diversity. It’s a complicated topic, and this can lead to misunderstanding and fighting. The conversations necessarily have to include discussions of privilege, permission, cultural appropriation, giving criticism, receiving criticism, responding to criticism, how to be an ally, whether the term ‘ally’ should even be used, etc.

I haven’t been participating except to retweet occasionally, because I don’t feel qualified to enter the fray. I’m listening instead, trying to absorb as much as I can so I can bring accurate, well-done diversity to my own projects. These are the tweets I’ve collected that, for me, strike at the heart of the matter. I hope you find them as moving or educational as I did:

(the whole thread of the above tweet is super good, but this was my fave:)

In summary:

Diversity is not a trend, a fad, or something only the cool people are doing. Diversity is reality. We live in a diverse world. Representation is important. It is vital for us to change our issue with poor representation, on behalf of ourselves so that we can continue to dismantle our own internal prejudices, and on behalf of the people growing up behind us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the work we do today can enable children who haven’t even been born yet to enter a world where they can see themselves as the main characters, the champions, the superheroes?

White writers are ‘allowed’ to write diverse characters. No one is telling you to only write characters just like you. In fact, we should include diverse characters, to reflect the natural diversity of the world around us! But if you engage in tokenism, stereotyping, or poorly recreate the experience of being a person different from yourself, expect to get called out on it. Receive that criticism with grace and apology. Vow to educate yourself, not place the burden of educating you on those calling you out. Then follow through. Get better.

Support diversity (This list is a good place to start). Vote with your dollars. If you are in the publishing industry itself, dismantle your own prejudices and make sure you’re giving diverse writers a seat at the table.

Treat each other with love. We’re all humans here. Listen to those who say they are hurting. Believe them. Figure out what you can do to make it hurt less.


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