This post is going to be controversial, I think, and so before I really get into the topic, I want to say that I by no means want to offend anyone. Nor do I have a solution really for what I'm about to write, or a full hatched out explanation for why things are the way they are. If I have offended you, I'm sorry.
So. Diversity in YA. Could it be that the seeming lack of diversity in YA is because there is not much diversity in YA authors? Lately I've been thinking a lot about this topic because right now I'm getting trained to be a residential adviser at my college, and a lot of that has involved lectures on race, socio-economic status, queer theory, representation of self and others, etc. etc. And so when I thought of diversity in YA, the first thing I thought of was how most of the authors I could think of were white. There wasn't much diversity in the authors themselves, even though America, at least, claims to be a melting pot. Let's look at an example.
**Note: I know that the NYT Bestsellers List is in and of itself exclusive and not a great measure of the scope YA covers, but I needed some sort of measure, some way of looking at this, and so I chose this because it would be somewhat easy.
***Note: I also didn't make a little image of the paperback or series or illustrated books sections for the NYT bestsellers but mostly because I'm too lazy.
How can you have diversity in the books when there's not much diversity in the people who are penning them? I mean, let's face it, folks. We tend to write about the things we know about. Yeah, we do research, and read about other cultures and things we're not familiar with, but sometimes the most authentic thing you'll read about is something that the author his/herself has experienced. (Note: I said sometimes. Definitely not all the time). Isn't one of the most widely told pieces of writing advice that you should visit the place you're writing about? I mean, isn't THAT exclusive too? A lot of people can't afford to do that.
Now that I've said my piece, I'd like to hear from you guys. What do you think?