Today’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you read a lot of diverse or own voices books? Why or why not?
Ah, now there’s a good topic! I’m on my second year of trying to read more diverse (meaning: non-Caucasian) protagonists. That’s my stated broad goal, but I’ve also been trying to pick up more books of all varieties of diversity. Books are a way to step into the shoes of another person and learn what their life is like–this is true in fiction in many ways even more so than nonfiction (though some non-fiction subjects obviously address this too).
Not to get too political, but it’s a scary world right now, and trying to understand the person with a life very different from my own seems ever more important if divides are ever going to be bridged. That’s one aspect of trying to read diversity, to consciously learn about divisions and about other viewpoints.
Which brings me to the fact that, actually, a reasonable number of those diverse protagonists don’t even live in this world because, you know, I’m a sci fi/fantasy reader very often. And that brings me to normalizing. If we never see minority characters as heroes or romantic leads, its harder to see them that way in life, especially on a gut level. We can know something intellectually, while feeling something different. Reading books with diverse protagonists impacts on a more subconscious level–the same level where unconscious bias is living.
All of that brings me to what may be the fundamental point: that I really believe what we read (and view) has an impact on our lives and on the world. If we can accept a character different from ourselves in fiction, it’s easier to accept someone who fits that description in life. If society at large accepts something in fiction (through a major bestseller, a top-rated TV show, etc.), that moves us towards more acceptance in life.
Since I believe we should move towards a more accepting world, that means diverse books. I don’t always succeed in reading as much diversity as I would like, and I own the fact that I need to put more effort at times into finding diverse books–but it’s definitely a goal I’m working on.