There’s no doubt that diversity has expanded in mainstream publishing in recent years. We’ve seen PoC and LGBTQAI+ characters being pushed more, especially in teen lit, which is great. But is it enough?
I grew up privileged, yet blind to that privilege, because my hometown was filled with so much culture that it was what I was used to. Now that I’m older, with my own kids, my already blended family is even more so.
But the books I grew up with were… so white. Obviously if you look at me, you’re like, “Raine, you’re Irish pale?” I mean, harsh but true.
The problem with that is it put me in a bubble, in terms of the literature I would consume and as we know, words are powerful, they have weight and the power to bring about change, to educate. So why, growing up in a diverse community would I have only wanted to read from such a limited perspective? One of my favorite books, not just because of how it was written, but because it was so different, was The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963. I dreamed of having a family like the Watsons.
That’s one thing that I get frustrated with about the cozy mystery genre. The books that are marketed the most are all white. I managed to find a few cozies with PoC protagonists after a lot of digging but the genre is so saturated with more of the same. My tiktok FYP is more diverse than the cozy genre.
I love the progress of the bookish community but the selfish part of me wants to see a lot more being done.