This is an excellent article on diversity in media. Especially how Tumblr users handle it.
I am a minority creator myself (biracial, mentally ill) and I’ll be the first to admit that hanging around tumblr has been helpful in learning how to examine my programming and how it shows up in my work. However, I possess a confidence— and arrogance— in my work that others do not, which allows me to press forward even when my inbox accuses my queer characters being “lip service” because they don’t have romantic arcs.
Is deep-sj tumblr happy with this model? Are we content to batter aspiring socially-conscious creators into abandoning the idea of creating altogether, while scores of white boys skim past your open condemnation of Urbance with a scoff, if they even read it at all?
Let’s talk about Urbance. Before I get right into it I have a related anecdote.
Some time ago, I recommended The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin to a user seeking books with gender-nonbinary characters (the work in question contains characters who are, quite explicitly and viscerally, genderfluid). They immediately discarded the idea after reading its summary on goodreads. They didn’t want to read a book about “some white guys from Earth having to ~learn to accept~ gender noncomforming aliens and that being the entire arc of the story”.
Anyone who’s actually read Left Hand knows this is ludicrous, but for your benefit, the main character is black, and he is the only Earthborn human in the story; the Gethenians are described as ‘Inuit brown’ and are humanoid in every respect besides their unique sexual physiology. The core themes of the book are actually about exploring a society which doesn’t have a masculinity construct. Where everyone is both male and female. No time is spent by the (BLACK) protag being disgusted or crudely fascinated by the Gethenians; only with examining how his two-gendered social programming has led him to frequently prejudge and misunderstand them.
No, that wasn’t good enough. These barriers need to not exist, because we want diverse stories where LGBT and people of color don’t face prejudice, right?
Read the rest at the link.