In which I rant about diversity
The other day, I was reading a book. Now, this isn’t an abnormal activity for me to do but the abnormality came from the book I was reading – Night Betrayed by Joss Ware. Theo, the hero, had a HINT of Asian heritage! Egads! Do you know what this means? It means he wasn’t 100% pure-bred American! Oh the horror!
…wait. Horror? No, no, no. I meant, Oh thank goodness! Diversity! Right? Am I getting this right? Because if I compare Theo to practically every other male character I’ve read about, they’re not Asian. Or even have a hint of Asian heritage. And if I’m going to compare what’s right based on popularity, or majority, then was I right to instantly assume that diversity is wrong. Yes? Yes???
No! I’m here to tell you that diversity is a wonderful thing. It really truly is. It’s reading about more than just what I see everyday. Time and time again, I read a book where the characters are all pale skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Okay, sometimes people have brown or red hair. Either way, it’s the same kind of people that I see every time I walk around outside. That is NOT diversity.
Diversity is reading about things you don’t normally see or read about. (And I’m not talking about paranormal diversity. Nu uh, that’s a whole ‘nother kind of diversity.) America is often compared to a melting pot because there are so many different ethnicities. So why are we only reading about marshmallows? Well, I don’t have an answer for that. (Me, without answer. Blasphemy!) But I do know of this totally awesome book that will blow your mind.
In Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Brittney is the quintessential all American girl with her fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. Yet, she hooks up with Alejandro – a Mexican gang member. I cannot even begin to tell you how yummy Alex is. He’s BEYOND yummy. With his dark, thick, wavy hair, chocolate brown eyes, ripped bod and tattoos…And did I mention he’s Mexican, not American? Yummy and different! Is your mind blown yet?!
To further blow your mind, a book doesn’t have to have a main character of a different ethnicity to be diverse. Nope, diversity could simply be having the main characters love someone of the same gender!! Gasp! Well, not really gasp. I mean, love is love and since figuring out if gays should be allowed to be married in America is a hot topic, shouldn’t we be able to read stories and see that LOVE IS LOVE.
Adam and Dominic from Jenna Black’s Morgan Kingsley are one of my favorite couples EVER. And you know what’s so special about Dominic and Adam, apart from the fact that they’re both men? Well, not much. I mean, they don’t have green skin or five arms or anything crazy like that. Dominic is a firefighter (oh so YUMMY firefighter) and Adam is a director of Special Forces. (And Adam just so happens to be a host for a demon, but you know, that’s not too terribly important.) They’re one of my favorite couples ever because no matter what happens to them, it’s so clearly obvious that they love each other. Love love love each other. And that’s all that ever matters in ANY relationship.
We live in a world where men can and do love men and women can love women. Shouldn’t we read books where men love men and women love women? Yes we should! Yet, usually, the gay couples are merely secondary characters. Like the totally kick-ass, amazing Ivy from Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. (Although, Blood Work is a graphic novel that is from Ivy’s point of view. I haven’t read it yet, but I hear it’s amazing.)
Reality isn’t black and white. I mean really, just look up at the sky. It’s blue, in case you were unaware of that fact. Books shouldn’t be just black and white. I’m not saying that every book should be the next Lady Gaga (that’d be pretty hard to pull off), but can’t we start making more books like Perfect Chemistry or have an entire series about Adam and Dominic as the main characters? (OMG yes!!! I want that. Right now.) Yes, there are books out there that are different from the norm, but they are rare jewels indeed.