So a couple of weeks back I asked you guys for advice about a YA panel I was moderating with two authors about discrimination and racism in YA literature, and you guys came through like only brilliant people can.
I wanted to let you guys know some of the things that were addressed- for a group of primarily white people, our panel was pretty fucking aware of their white-ness. One of the writers brought up the lack of diversity in the panel before I even could, and both women addressed the fact that they were writing about issues they had not experienced firsthand.
Australia does a lot of shitty things but for two nights, talking to teenagers who want to make the world a better place through literature, the four authors we had were incredibly self-aware, humble, and kind. Not only did they express a strong desire for more diversity in the field and more writing, but both authors I spoke to about diversity had a STACK of writers they would recommend. And they were so incredibly encouraging to the teens who expressed an interest in writing and the subjects they wanted to see more of- asexuality, bisexuality, a focus on “real” relationships and not just overused clichés- these women were humble and welcoming and open and kind.
I feel like we don’t get things right very often. I feel like it’s really hard to fight every single day, and I feel as a woman, a minority, an immigrant, and an outspoken liberal feminist that I spend 90% of my time alienating people. I moved from northern California to one of the whitest, most insular places in Australia. But for two nights a couple of weeks ago, I feel like the authors we asked to come speak made a genuine difference in the lives of the teens they met.
And that’s pretty awesome.