My Little Pocketbooks: Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge: Race Based   

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge: Race Based

*jumping on my soapbox*
*clearing my throat*
I have been quite busy this month getting my other blog Mocha Girls Read back up and running.  Yes!  There were bugs and problems all over the place.  While I was gone from My Little Pocketbooks I made an effort to visit each and every blog that signed up for the 2015 Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge.  Lately I have noticed a new thing happening with the sign up post.  A lot of you (participants) are posting the books you are planning on reading with a note how it fits the challenge.  An example would be Native Son by Richard Wright (POC)  That is great but what is the (LGBT) about?
I am writing this post to explain the difference of this reading challenge to other diversity based reading challenges and to let you know why I did it this way.

Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge is Race Based! 
Diversity on the Shelf was inspired by the P.O.C. Reading Challenge from several years ago. When it stopped I sent emails and tried to contact the moderators.  After giving it a year of trying to get a hold of someone, I just went ahead and started this challenge.  I gave it a new name but kept the same rules and theme.  POC (People of Color)  That is it!! 
There is nothing wrong in saying this ya'll!  Race is not a bad word.  Race = Culture.  Skin Color is beautiful in all shades.  This reading challenge is for readers who want to add color/culture/diversity to their reading this year.  If you are Black add a few books by authors who are Asian, Latino, American Indian, East Asian etc..  Find a book by an author who has a different culture than you to give you a full understanding about the world we live in.  There are soo many reasons you should read diverse books too.  Check out We Need Diverse Books for the 1 million (just an estimate) reasons why you should read diversely.

Gender is not a Race.  
I know reading about a teen who is transsexual is interesting and there are great books with outstanding plots.  But if you are White and read a book by a white author about a white transsexual teen it does not count for this challenge.  There is no race diversity in that at all.  Don't get it twisted, I fully support and love having books with a wide range of thoughts, view points and opinions. 

Sexual Preference is not a Race.  
See number 2.  The book Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan does not count at all because the author and the main characters are not People of Color (POC).

Having a Disability is not a Race.
If you a reading a book about a main character with a disability that is white by a disabled white author the book does not count for this reading challenge either.  But if the main character is a disabled East Asian or by a Latina author then it counts for this reading challenge.

Now that all of that is said..Please understand I fully support Diversity in all shapes, sizes and forms.  All of it!  But Diversity on the Shelf is a RACE ONLY reading challenge. 

There are other great Diversity based reading challenge being hosting in 2015 listed below with links to their sign up post...
Niji Feels is hosting LGBT Challenge 2015
And the LGBT in the challenge’s name does not mean just LGBT, you can read any book that falls under the L(esbian) G(ay) B(isexual) T(ransexual) T(ransgender) Q(ueer) Q(uestioning) I(ntersex) A(sexual)+ spectrum
Reading Wishes and Rather Be Reading  are hosting Dive Into Diversity
As for what counts as diverse, we like this definition taken from the We Need Diverse Books tumblr: "We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities."

One MAIN reason I host the Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge is to give book bloggers a opportunity to read outside of their race.  When I joined the amazingly supportive book blogging community I was overwhelmed with the number of White book bloggers, blogging about White books, promoting White authors only.  I currently have 300 blogs (some are up and running still) on my Feedly account.  Out of the 300 blog there are only 50 book blogger who are non-White.  I signed up for book tours with about 4 -5 different bloggers and in my first year there was only 1 book by an Author of Color.  It's just so sad! 
I just wanted to put it out there that race does matter.  Latinos, Blacks, Asians have a beautiful culture with different stories to tell and so many book bloggers are just missing it all. 
If you don't believe me, check out 5 of the top bloggers and see what they read last year.  How many of the books on tour were by or about POC? 

So as I get off of my soapbox please review your book selections for the challenge and make sure they fit the POC reading requirements.
Thank you all for your time.
*hopping off soapbox*

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