I know this subject has been done to death, but I wanted to add my two cents into the exchange. Anecdote, straight ahead! ==>
The sad part is this, 50% of the time the customer bought the white doll instead of leaving empty handed. I asked the manager why the number of black and Hispanic dolls was so limited and the reply shocked me.
“African American and Hispanic dolls are the first to go. They fly off the shelves quicker than we can restock or order more. Out of 10 boxes shipped, only 2 have dolls for minorities. ”
So in other words, the supply cannot keep up with the demand and manufacturers won’t even try.
Is it impossible to think that a young Hispanic girl would love to read about a girl just like her who is popular in school? Would it sound so ridiculous for a black girl to find out that the cute boy next door is really a vampire? Imagine an Asian girl who discovers that she has a special ability that has nothing to do with Chinese dragons or martial arts. Imagine having any of the following people of color in the story without being lumped in to the token sidekick role with real character development. (Yes, I too can dream and dream BIG.)
Perhaps if there were more books with people of color, there would be a higher demand. As it were, the YA section of the bookstore looks like the same girl in different Emo poses. Young girls of color are left feeling inadequate for being different and striving toward a goal that they could never achieve nor should they want to. Teen girls are the most impressionable people on the planet, and are FAMOUS for inserting themselves inside of a story. Reading about a hot, mysterious guy who falls madly in love with a flawless girl who looks nothing like you does wonders for a girl’s self-esteem.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Diversity in YA
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