Let’s Talk About Diversity

I went to work on Sunday and was having a fairly decent day until I started to help 2 women. After I finished helping them, they noticed that there was a price tag on my shirt. One of them laughed and said, “Maybe we can buy her and have read to the kids.” I didn’t really know what to say to that and so I walked away.  This is not an okay thing to say to a black woman. This happened right when I was about to leave and so that put me in a bad mood.

When I come home after work, I saw a conversation going between about the lack of diversity in fantasy novels and a bunch of other shit. Let’s talk about diversity because it seems like 2016 is the year for talking about it. I’ve been debating about whether or not to talk about this on because normally when I try to start conversations, no one responds and I end up getting ignored. Well, fuck it. I don’t really care anymore. This post may seem a bit messy. I’m not going to be able to cover everything. I’m only going to be able to cover few things because I’ve got a lot on my mind.

The lack of diversity and racism isn’t new. This problem didn’t just pop out of nowhere. This is something that has been going on for years and something. that I’ve grown up with. I grew up, and sadly still live, in a town full racists, Trump supporters, and rednecks who think that the Confederate flag is the American flag. I’ve grown up with people throwing all kinds of racial slurs at me. Honestly, it’s  happened so many times, that it just doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’ve been told to go back to Africa more times than I can count. I’ve been told that I’m either not black or not black enough. I’ve had people ask me if they can touch my hair and touch it anyway when I say “no”. I’ve had people cluck their tounges at me and ask me what language they are speaking. If I’m angry, I become the “Angry Black Woman”. If I speak proper English, then people asks why I sound white. When I straighten my hair, I’m trying to be white. If I don’t listen to Tyga or Drake, of Nicki Minaj, I’m not black. If I listen to One Direction or Melanie Martinez, I’m trying to be white. It’s frustrating and this still happens to me.

I’ve been told to go back to Africa and I have been called a monkey and a gorilla more times than I can count. I’ve been told that I’m either not black or not black enough. I’ve had people ask me if they can touch my hair and touch it anyway when I say “no”. If I’m angry, I become the “Angry Black Woman”. If I speak proper English, then people ask why I’m trying to sound white. When I straighten my hair, I’m trying to be white. If I don’t listen to Tyga or Drake, of Nicki Minaj, I’m not black. If I listen to One Direction or Melanie Martinez, I’m trying to be white. It’s frustrating and this still happens to me.

One thing that is bothering me is that when white people begin to talk about diversity and racism everyone is like, “It’s so brave of them to talk about this.” But when a POC wants to talk about diversity and racism, we are told to shut up and quit whining. It doesn’t make sense. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it’s great that everyone is talking about diversity and racism. I’m not trying to call anyone out. I’m not hating on anyone, but why is it that my voice doesn’t matter as much as theirs? I’m tired of being ignored.

A lot has been going on with the publishing industry.  The Continent by Keira Drake and Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth both portray POC as savages. The Continent release date was pushed back, but Carve the Mark was not. These are just the books that I know of the are racists. Nearly 90% percent of the books I have read and the movies and TV shows I have seen have a straight white main character. If there ever is a POC, they are a side character and the majority of the time, they end up dying. Especially in fantasy. In some shows, like The Walking Dead, there’s never more than 3-4 black characters and one of them ends up dying and getting replaced with another.

There was a person on Twitter, I’m not going to name names, but I think that everyone knows the person that I’m talking about. She said that when an author points out the race of a character, it’s racist. Pointing out a character’s race isn’t racist. It’s all about how you portray that person.

If there are POC in movies and TV shows, we are portrayed as the stereotype, as savages, or as apes. Just look at the Planet of the Apes franchise. Black people have been called apes, monkeys, and gorillas because according to society and the media, black people aren’t considered to be people. If there are POC in movies and TV shows, they end up enforcing the stereotype. Just look at all of Tyler Perry’s movies and shows. He ends up giving black people a bad name. Especially black women with his creation of Madea.

Here’s a piece of advice: don’t try to argue with racists. They’re close-minded people and you won’t be able to get through to them, so just save yourself the trouble. Again, I will say that I am not calling anyone out. This is merely an observation. Maybe some of you agree with me. Maybe some of you don’t. If you don’t agree, I do ask that you be respectful. These are just some of my thoughts and I just had to get them out.

 

 

 

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One Comment Add yours

  1. otherfennel says:

    Being black is certainly challenging on a mainstream level. Aside from the way that racism (and classism) can limit someone’s potential to be the best person they could be, they also limit the humanity of those who need to be superior to someone else. It’s just funny how not buying into those things can feel more challenging, ’cause a lot of the world is built on them. But not all of it. Don’t lose heart.

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