3. I didn’t learn how to write diverse characters. I wrote a book about people of different races, religions, and ethnicities. You can say I did it for the noble reasons everyone else has, like to make the world a better place for the children or whatever, and I guess that’s somewhat accurate. Mostly I did it because I wanted to write a book set in Spain in 1492, and Spain in 1492 was Diversity Central.
So now I’m one of those “good white people” who write about diverse characters—or one of those bad white people who appropriate cultures not their own. Or both, or neither. Not my place to say. Regardless, people keep asking me to write blog posts on the topic. “Shana, what’s the best way to write about racially diverse characters?” Dude. I don’t know. I’m a new writer. I’m white. As much as I try to get rid of them, I still have my blind spots of privilege. I did the research, I talked to the experts, I talked to friends. But I’m sure I screwed up in some way. I’m sorry about that. Truly. I will try to be better. I am not an authority on this subject. I’m just a person trying to understand the world better and write stories about it to the best of her ability. These are both two steps forward, one step back processes.”—
Shana Mlawski, author of Hammer of Witches,Diversity in YA
Obviously I enjoyed this blog post. It’s called 5 Things Shana Mlawski Didn’t Learn While Writing HAMMER OF WITCHES, by the way.