When well-intending authors want to include diversity in their fictional works, a variety of questions tend to go through their heads, like…
-Am I a poser, if I’m a pale person who wants to include Arabian knights in my fantasy story?
While the unfortunate plight of the timid diversity writer is not J. K. Rowling’s fault, she did give us a glaring example of how to do it wrong. Behold, the handling of her hitherto beloved character, Albus Dumbledore:
After Rowling revealed this informational tidbit that was in no way backed up by her books, Albus Dumbledore became to diversity in fiction what the Vietnam Conflict was to America’s reputation abroad: a years-long quagmire with no satisfying end that serves as naught but a cautionary tale to future generations.
“Are are sure you want to write diversity, Nervous Writer Person? We don’t want another Dumbledore on our hands” sounds suspiciously like what congress says every time shit goes down overseas:
“Are we sure we want to take a stand on this? We don’t want another Vietnam on our hands.”
At this point, I think most of us agree diversity in fiction is a good thing. What’s a little less clear is how to achieve it without pandering, stereotyping, or making our book an object of outrage.
There’s no one set of rules to keep from upsetting folks with our books, but here are some guidelines on which most book-lovers seem to agree:
(there might be better examples out there than the Clingon and the Ferengi from Star Trek, but it would take some concentration and a better attention span than I possess to think of them)
So that’s my glancing blow at how to navigate the pitfalls of writing diverse characters. If you disagree, good deal! I’m overjoyed me seriously enough to read and take issue with my stuff.
Until next time, happy-and-prosperous writing, y’all. May the Lord smite us with money 😉