Diversity in writing is essential for many reasons. It reflects the reality of the world we live in and helps readers to see and understand one another in a more meaningful way. Writing diverse characters that reflect the real world has numerous benefits, both for the writer and the reader. For the writer, it allows them to explore and depict different cultures, experiences, and perspectives, which can help to make their writing more dynamic and interesting. It can also help you expand your sense of the world.
As writers, we have a special responsibility to apply a diverse lens to our work because so much of what we write ends up becoming cultural truth. People really do believe what they read, even when our writing is explicitly fictitious. It’s for this reason that so many activists across writing and social justice name the inherent wrongs of primarily publishing only certain authors without creating space for others.
The conversation around publishing and diversity has centered, in recent years, on one question: Who gets published? The answer is colored by who does the publishing. Affinity bias—gravitating toward people like you—is pervasive across all social interactions, and publishing is no different. If the publishing industry decision-makers come from dominant groups, it stands to reason that so will the authors they publish.
Diversity in literature is important because it helps readers to see themselves in books and feel represented. Seeing characters or people in a similar position or who look, act or think the same way as yourself anchors your perception of how you fit in society. You feel relieved knowing that there are other people who are like you, somewhere out there. As an individual, you are comfortable knowing that you are not the only one who experiences life the way you do.
In conclusion, diversity in writing is important because it reflects the reality of our world and helps readers to see and understand one another in a more meaningful way. It also helps writers to explore different cultures, experiences, and perspectives, which can make their writing more dynamic and interesting. By promoting diversity in literature, we can create a more inclusive society where everyone feels represented and valued.