Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

Published July 23, 2013 by G.L.

A tweet comparing our writing diversity in books when you’re not black, gay, a woman,etc lead me to this author =D I just had to reblog it, had some good advice!

Sarah Ockler

In a new series entitled Y.A. for Grownups, The Atlantic Wire posted an article exploring The Ongoing Problem of Race in YA.

Like the title states, race in YA isn’t a new problem, nor is it going away. When I scan the YA bookshelves—whether my own or the extensive store displays—the issue is clear:

I spy with my little eye something… white.

Barbie® Fashionistas™

White authors, white characters, white faces, white girls. The scenario isn’t entirely unlike my high school graduation, but it’s no longer the world I see (or want to see) when I look out the window. So why the disconnect?

Plenty of YA authors of color are writing about diverse characters, often struggling to get those books out into the world and into the hands of readers. Discussions about the issue focus on a trifecta of economic challenges doused in fiction, assumptions, and racial politics: “consumers aren’t demanding…

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2 comments on “Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

  • I read and commented on this post last year, and now I get an update every time someone comments. That brought me here I agree that food metaphors are more pleasant sounding than some other things, but I’ve been experimenting with new metaphors. “Eyes the color of turned earth”, “skin as golden as sand at sunrise”. Problems is, one MC, who was born and raised on a prison ship, has never seen turned earth or sand!

    I’m white myself, but I’m very interested in the literary diversity movement, so much so that I have three projects about it: a tumblr dedicated to insprational images: http://angelhorn.tumblr.com/

    A pinterest board of exisiting YA and MG books with diverse covers: http://pinterest.com/petal65/100-diverse-covers-diverse-books-ya-and-mg/

    And my new cover design business, which has a section dedicated to diverse covers: http://coveryourdreams.wordpress.com/diversity/

    When you guys are ready for a cover, I’d love to design one for you!

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