Today I'm going to talk very briefly about diversity in YA, but in a way that is bit different than what I expected to touch upon. Initially, I'd planned on talking about being a girl. It interests me how girls are constantly trying to break glass ceilings in life, but in the world of YA literature, the lion's share of what is produced tends to be very girl-centric. It bends my mind a little bit to play around with the implications. I wanted to discuss it. I wanted your thoughts.
But unfortunately I can't really focus on that today.
I'm too disappointed.
When I looked up the definition of diversity it said...A RANGE OF DIFFERENT THINGS.
The word range was the link I needed to write about my growing concerns. More and more it feels like people all over the internet (even in my beloved YA community) are taking pot shots at each other. It feels as if cyber lynch mobs, toting guns that shoot high powered words, are running wild. There is a mob mentality that feeds off the frenzy of taking someone down a notch--of putting them "in their place." But for what? It appears to be for being "wrong" or dare I say DIFFERENT.
I've been watching it unfold for quite some time, but recent events have kickstarted my thoughts. I don't want to take up your time discussing why so many of us act so deplorably. It makes my head hurt to think about it. Instead I'd like to do one small thing to at least attempt to be part of the solution. I'd like to publicly acknowledge that there are moments when we absolutely should stand up and fight for our beliefs. Those moments are--wait for it--diverse. They mean different things to different people. But I'd like to believe the things worth fighting for (for most people) are good intentioned. Which leads me to bullying. Bullying never comes from good intentions. It is selfish and cowardly. It is small. And it's not just something children do. I've seen a room full of PTA moms make another woman cry. I've watched as authors, teachers, police, soldiers and many other dedicated professionals are disrespected when they are trying to give. Perfection is not interchangeable with intention. I can't remember the last time I was perfect. But there aren't enough stars to mark how often I've tried.
Taking pleasure in making other people hurt is disturbing.
I don't know how to stop it.
But I believe that small acts, done by many, have the power to make big change.
Haters are always going to hate, but let there always be more of us who are doing something great.
Every day it is your opportunity to be diverse in your thinking and in your actions. Today is your opportunity not to be a bully. It's your chance to be a range of different things.
Tell me something great, people...