Books, Musings

Monday Musings: The Ethnicity in Literature Edition

I’ve been compiling a list of diverse books to read for this summer’s Bibliomancy.  The Bibliomancers are going to attempt reading only diverse books this summer, but in my attempts to find said diverse books I have come across a dilemma.

It is sometimes difficult (often purposely so) to know the ethnicity of the characters in the novel.

This got me thinking.  Everyone imagines the characters one way or another and sometimes its easy a character named Jade Yamaguchi is probably of Japanese decent and Pablo Fuentes is probably Hispanic but if the character is named Jack White or Nina Williams and their description is either completely absent or nondescript then what ethnicity do you imagine them as?

I feel like I default to white.  I myself am white and the vast majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis, the people I see on television, the authors, and characters I interact with are white so I then imagine those ambiguous characters as white.  Which is part of the problem.  Nina Williams could very much be of African decent, of Hispanic decent, of indigenous decent.  The reason I see her as white is because I in a way have been trained to perceive people this way.

Its like the default character when you loud a video game.  White, mousy hair, dark eyes, no identifiable features.   Every character pops up and exists in this way.

I feel as if we need more diverse books so that I don’t have to find books that revolve around race or ethnic issues in order to know there will be an ethnically diverse cast of characters.  Any book should be filled with people from all walks of life, at lest those set here in America where, despite some serious socially instituted but not legally mandated segregation, there is an extremely diverse cast of citizens.

What is your default character model?

Have you read any good diverse books lately?  You should recommend me some in the comments below.  We might just read it this summer!

I’ve been able to post consistently one post a week and if I can keep that up I will be a happy girl.  School always makes it difficult to blog.  Partially because I don’t read as much, partially because I sometimes find it difficult to motivate myself to do my school work let alone work on something that I’m not pilling thousands of dollars of debt on my head to do.



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