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Racism and YA books

ETA: Thanks so much for the suggestions and help guys! I really appreciate everything. To clarify: this event was just sort of dropped on me and I'm doing the best I can with what I've got, but I don't have much power in this situation and I want to make sure that we can have an intelligent, respectful discussion and help teens find some new books to love.

I have a thing at work over the next two days where we’re having a discussion panel with different Aussie YA writers and teens about hot-button issues in teen literature. Tomorrow I’m leading the panel and it’s focused on racism/disenfranchised groups/ the Aboriginal community/ immigrants (anyone not cis- and white, basically).


I’m preparing my list of questions for the authors we have and the one question that I want to ask more than anything is “do you think you’re a qualified advocate for immigrants and/or the Aboriginal community or would these issues be more effectively presented by someone who is not white?”

And I can’t ask that without being an asshole so I’m venting here because it’s really bothering me that to discuss racism in literature we have a panel made up entirely of white people.


As a side note: I got through the next step in my immigration process so that is a good thing in my life and now I don’t have to constantly worry about being deported.

Anyway, if you guys could help me formulate some questions to ask teens and writers about racism and YA literature, I’d be happy for some input.

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