Let's be honest here for a minute. I've seen a lot of discussions lately on various forms of social media about representation of minorities in children's literature. I think it's amazing that people are coming together and bringing these issues to light. We can't change the current culture if we remain silent. That said, as a member of some minorities and not others, I still often feel like I'm in a lose-lose situation, even in cases where I am the minority. I feel stuck, like I can't win when it comes to discussing and representing diversity in literature. Not that it's a competition, but that it's so hard to gain any ground.
I 100% agree that there isn't enough representation of a variety of scenarios that we see around the world. But sometimes it seems that if you don't try to include representation you are ignoring the world's current state. And if you do include diversity, there is always someone who has a situation that doesn't agree with your representation of said character or situation. Darned if you do and darned if you don't.
So what are we as writers to do when it comes to changing the culture of diversity?
Just as we should be respectful when approaching others with issues, we need to listen when people tell us something is a problem. It's hard to understand the situations that each unique person has gone through. We couldn't have possibly experienced them all. So when dealing with minorities that's often our time to shut up, listen, and try to understand what it's like to walk in their shoes.
Social media is a great place for bringing issues to light and raising awareness. Ideas spread quickly online and people take notice. So do your homework, keep talking, keep listening, and most of all respect one another. It is our unique experiences that make us all such wonderful and interesting people. Diversity isn't a competition. It's something to be celebrated. Because at the end of the day, when we bring all of our differences to the table, the world becomes a much stronger place. Social media is the perfect arena to come together and honor our uniqueness. Enjoy the discussions and learn from them. Spread the knowledge and make the world better.