Do we really need more Diversity in books?-Guest post by Rachel Halpern

Published December 4, 2013 by G.L.

Today we have a lovely guest post by the founder of a new online magazine in the works by the name of Inscription magazine. The project spoke to my sister and I on such a deep level. Here is this young woman in our generation who finds representation in all forms important in books and that’s exactly what Guinevere and I are trying to promote! It’s always great to find like minded people and when we discovered her Indiegogo campaign to launch her magazine, which would be offering free diverse stories to teens in our 2 favorite genres, Science Fiction and Fantasy; We just had to help her spread the word about her Project!And now to our Guest post…….

Do we really need more Diversity in Books? By Rachel Halpern

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The goal of Inscription Magazine is to publish short stories for teens, with diverse characters, diverse authors, and diverse sci-fi and fantasy worlds.

I’ve talked more about the vision I had for Inscription on the diversityinya Tumblr, here. And you can read more about Inscription, and the fundraising we’re doing for it, on the Indiegogo campaign page, here.

I wanted to address here what I think is often the first question I get when people see Inscription Magazine, or blogs like this one – do we really need more diversity?

The answer is a resounding yes. In the 250 top-grossing films, 83.6% of the lead characters are straight white men, even though they make up only 31.3% of the population (x). And it’s not because diversity doesn’t sell! A recent study found that television viewers are actually more likely to watch shows with racially diverse writers and racially diverse casts (x). It’s just that our society is built to privilege some voices and some stories over others.

Does that matter? So what if representation isn’t equal? Can’t people just identify with the people they see on television regardless of race?

I’m sure that happens to some extent, but of course it’s not as good as having someone who looks like you on TV, or in the stories you’re reading. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in outer space, said seeing Nichelle Nichols play Uhura in Star Trek was a key inspiration for her, and she wasn’t alone; even Martin Luther King, Jr., pressured Nichols to stay on the show because of the difference it was making to television viewers (x). Representation really does matter.

Maybe it’s better in children’s and young adult books, though! Everyone knows Hollywood has its problems, but surely teens are being exposed to more diverse literature!

Unfortunately not. Study after study (after study) has shown that diversity is lacking in both the authors of and the characters in YA novels.

Publishers like Tu Books; anthologies like Diverse Energies; and the incredible work of authors, bloggers, and publishers everywhere are making some changes, but it’s slow going. I wanted to help speed up the process, to give more young adult readers a chance to see themselves in diverse science fiction and fantasy stories.

That’s what Inscription Magazine is all about. Telling great stories that can appeal to everyone. Telling stories that give young adults great role models. And telling stories that tell teens they can become anyone and anything they want to be.

And beyond that, we hope it will become a community. Even the most inspirational stories can lose their power if they sit in a vacuum. We want to have forums and discussion threads where young adult readers can talk about the stories we publish, the books they’re reading, and everything else happening in their lives. It’s easy to feel alone when the media you consume doesn’t reflect you; we want to help young readers find a place where they can be themselves.

If that’s something you want to help us accomplish, you can check out our Indiegogo campaign here. Every dollar and every post can help us work toward our stretch goals and provide our readers with more content and more opportunities to build a sustainable community. Take a look and consider donating or spreading the word!

Inscription Magazine’s Indiegogo Campaign

Inscription Magazine on Facebook

Inscription Magazine on Twitter

Inscription Magazine on Tumblr

Rachel on Twitter

Rachel’s Tumblr Page

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6 comments on “Do we really need more Diversity in books?-Guest post by Rachel Halpern

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