So recently I read on someone’s blog (who shall remain nameless) that “white people” was a bookish pet peeve. When clarifying, she said she didn’t like the “whining of privileged twats”- which is not what I would call an improvement. It’s not exactly a legitimate literary criticism either- yet I see this kind of thing around a lot and it makes me sad.
I love diversity in books- diversity in general makes life more interesting. But the criticism of a main character for being “white” or “male” or “het” is too much for me. I just want decent characters and I don’t care about their race or gender or sexuality- and I shouldn’t have to. I don’t think it’s right to only ever look skin deep. I know there are other opinions out there- but to me it all ends up sounding like doublespeak. Can’t we just focus on this please:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King
Somehow that message seems to have gotten muddled over time. Because there is another side to this discussion that I just don’t get. And that’s the whole “white people should/shouldn’t write about people of colour” debate. It’s become a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing. I can’t really see how that kind of thing helps anyone.
Sorry, but arguing “there are too many white people in books” or “too many white authors” sounds pretty damn racist to me- no matter which way you swing it- and I say this as someone who is part of an ethnic minority and doesn’t fit comfortably in the “white” category. (Yeah, I pass for white but am not actually white- shoot me- the Nazis certainly would have)
And that’s all I really have to say on the matter- I know I may have said too much for some people’s liking, but I’m a total maverick that way and think it’s a discussion worth having.
What do you think about this discussion of white people in books? I’d really genuinely like to hear a variety of opinions- so hit me up in the comments below!