Author Topic: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!  (Read 22489 times)

Offline Falthor

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2015, 11:01:19 AM »
Chillian not sure if they did or not I was just making a south park reference...  it seemed to fit in at the time.  now not so much.
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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2015, 12:31:51 PM »
Quote
But, all bathhouses aside, I'm pretty sure we were just talking about novels set in that place and time (and accuracy)--no one claimed it was the world.

But nobody ever said Europe. People said "historical fiction" and everyone immediately thought "Western Europe."

I'm not just pointing this out to be pedantic. If we care about diversity, the most important thing we as individuals can do is to be aware of the inherent biases we all have.

Offline TerryRodgers

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2015, 12:44:05 PM »
I was assuming Western Europe as well because most novels of those times came from Europe and were about Europe.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 09:30:43 AM by TerryRodgers »

Offline AlythiaB

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2015, 12:54:55 PM »
Quote
But, all bathhouses aside, I'm pretty sure we were just talking about novels set in that place and time (and accuracy)--no one claimed it was the world.

But nobody ever said Europe. People said "historical fiction" and everyone immediately thought "Western Europe."

I'm not just pointing this out to be pedantic. If we care about diversity, the most important thing we as individuals can do is to be aware of the inherent biases we all have.

Fair enough. I guess I missed that jump in the thread--I thought someone expressly mentioned medieval times and then the commentary about cleanliness followed. And it indeed shows the need for diversity, because, as readers, those are the books predominately available to us. Hence why we all thought of a white lady in a corset when we thought historical fiction.
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Offline TerryRodgers

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2015, 01:30:02 PM »
I'm not just pointing this out to be pedantic. If we care about diversity, the most important thing we as individuals can do is to be aware of the inherent biases we all have.

Even though I may get my head chopped off, I don't care about diversity in novels. I just care about a great novel. Give me great characters that fit the story and aren't put there just because the writer felt they had to represent everyone. I've read many novels with many different characters of all colors, creeds, ethic groups, national origin, mental, social, and physical handicaps and I never once thought that character doesn't belong in this novel. Once again, great writing is great writing.

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2015, 02:26:57 PM »
Even though I may get my head chopped off, I don't care about diversity in novels.

yeah, but, not caring about diversity is 100% your privilege as a white a man. POC HAVE to care about diversity because otherwise they would never see themselves in books.

It's a privilege to say "I don't care about diversity in novels" when POC have no choice but to care about it, y'know?
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Offline Pandean

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2015, 02:42:08 PM »
Gckatz is right about the internal bias we all have when it comes to historical fiction and all.

I mean; I can count on one hand the things I've learned in school about Eastern Europe and Asia and South America and on...multiple hands the things I've learned about Western Europe and North America.

So, yeah.

For what it's worth; the Chinese and Indians had a vaccine for smallpox before Jenner was even born. They would take the fallen-of sores, crush them into dust, and then snort them or but it in a cut, and then get a milder version of smallpox that was not likely to scar or kill them.

Even though I may get my head chopped off, I don't care about diversity in novels.

yeah, but, not caring about diversity is 100% your privilege as a white a man. POC HAVE to care about diversity because otherwise they would never see themselves in books.

It's a privilege to say "I don't care about diversity in novels" when POC have no choice but to care about it, y'know?

I have to agree with Sarah on this. That not caring about diversity is your privilege as someone who is most likely to star in a novel/movie/etc. whether there is diversity or not.
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Offline Pandean

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2015, 03:43:50 PM »
They're not labels though. They're identities and many of them have been shaped by centuries of cultures and traditions and social customs. To say that they shouldn't matter would be to erase all the social and cultural history we hold as a society. You erase the identities and the struggles, the stories and the traditions, of a group of people if you hold the view that everything is just a label and we're all only human and should identify as such. Because culturally and socially, that's not how the world works. To deny a person their identity, heritage, and history is, to me, even worse than saying something bigoted about it.

For example: I'm disabled. That's a part of who I am that will most likely always stay with me. It's shaped how I've grown up and it's shaped personal and social experiences I've had with both able-bodied people and other disabled people. To say, "Well being disabled is just a label, you should just call yourself a human being and forget about the label" would be erasing the struggles and things I've experienced particularly because of my disability.

Being "colorblind" or "disability blind" or "gender blind" or saying that you focus solely on when we all will just be considered only human actually perpetuates the systematic oppression of said people.

/takes sociology hat off
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Offline Falthor

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2015, 03:51:40 PM »
it can be argued both ways though.

you can throw away the label and still celebrate the differences, am I right?
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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2015, 03:56:19 PM »
What X said.

To say you hate labels and that diversity is a label, is erasing who they are as a person. It's like saying you're colorblind, which, on the surface makes it seem like you're not racist, but in actually, since the default is white, by saying you're colorblind, or adverse to labels, just means you are erasing that part of them, their race, their disability, etc.

One of the best exercises I've done lately is with my advisor Swati Avasthi. She stands two people up, a woman of color and a white woman. (and it's always been women just because the crowd tends to mostly be women when she does this, not because it needs to be a woman) And asks the WOC what race they consider themselves. And then she asks the white woman the same and they answer as expected.

And then she asks the white woman "is it important to you that you're white?" and every time I've seen her do this exercise, they always pause and then answer with "I've never thought about it before" and then she'll ask the same question to the WOC and she always answers yes.

Being white is such a default in our society and culture that we don't even have to think about our whiteness and what it means to us.

It's uncomfortable to talk and think about diversity. But uncomfortable is okay. When I get uncomfortable, I ask myself "why am I uncomfortable? What about this discussion makes me uncomfortable?"

And almost always my answer is because I'm worried about getting it wrong, and worried about hurting people and worried about getting hurt in return.
And that's okay, too. If we're worried or concerned about it, it's more likely we'll treat it with the respect it deserves.
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Offline B

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2015, 03:59:05 PM »
Thank you for answering, Sarah, because I really couldn't. I don't have the energy every time.
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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2015, 04:01:02 PM »
Thank you for answering, Sarah, because I really couldn't. I don't have the energy every time.

 :-*
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Offline quiarahb

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2015, 04:25:56 PM »
Thank you for answering, Sarah, because I really couldn't. I don't have the energy every time.

This every time.

Sarah, the way you put it is beautiful. Thank you so much. Talking about diversity is a hard thing, but it's so very important to those who feel they don't have a voice. Everyone's voice should be heard, so it should be discussed more.

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2015, 04:48:01 PM »
Aww thanks guys. I usually don't talk about it because even though my family is multi-racial, I'm still white, and aware that much of my responsibility is to sit back and to listen.
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Offline olashorty

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Re: Editor Points Out Agents Gatekeeping Diverse Books!
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2015, 05:06:34 PM »
Just chiming in to thank Sarah for her response as well. I've been following the thread but...yeah. Haha.