An Old, Old Wooden Ship


Drink it in, friends.

Because I feel like this needs to be said: there’s a difference between multicultural fiction and fiction representing the diversity of a culture. That doesn’t mean that never the twain shall meet, but the term and the characteristic are not mutually exclusive.

A book with a black mc is not multicultural fiction, if you ask me. I do not exist outside of American culture or even beside it. And yes,  I too without really thinking it through had referred to it as multicultural because, well, that’s what people do. Until I started thinking about it and went, wait. Shuddup. Or something more intellectual and intelligible but you get me.

I suppose I could hear you out if your basis was that the story was specifically about their experience as a person of color but I still wouldn’t agree. Yes, we say “black culture”, but we also say “band culture” and that doesn’t mean a book about the Mighty Matador marching band is multicultural. Having characters from different cultures… that would make a book multicultural. Having a book about an actual African-American – as in a character who was born in an African country and raised either in that country and community until a certain point OR who was raised in America but in a very specific community in which their traditional culture was still a big part of their lives – would be multicultural. Is this clear enough yet?

But just having characters with different skin colors from the same society, nation, whatever? That’s diversity. I hate to break it to you but my childhood did not exist outside of the realm of normalcy. I’m not from some subset of humanity. I don’t need you to partition my experiences on a separate shelf, thanks. You really *should* be able to relate to me even if perchance we don’t look exactly alike. (Do we all feel adequately silly yet?)

So yeeeeah. I write fiction. Sometimes YA, sometimes adult, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, always diverse. I’m really glad we had this talk.

I guess I can close this tab now: Two Awards to Promote Multicultural Children’s Books.

3 thoughts on “An Old, Old Wooden Ship

  1. Pingback: There’s A Choice We’re Makin’ | Expatriate Games

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