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Thumper

Diversity - Does it apply to the AA reading audience?

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Hello All,

Early this morning, when I started playing the Zoo game on Facebook, I read the newsletter that author Bernice McFadden just published. The topic of the main article was diversity, or lack thereof, in the white reading audience. Basically, telling white folks to give authors of color a chance by reading their books too. I initially thought that McFadden was referring to everyone, you know, I'm pretty diverse--although not as diverse as I would like to be at times--I will leave the rivers and lakes that I usually swim in. It got me to thinking, depending on when a person was born and/or became a book reader, it is possible for some AA to have been reading nothing but AA titles without reading one title written by a non-black writer. Is diversity equally important to the AA audience as it is for all of the other book reading audiences?

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After reading your post, I set it on the stove and brought it to a simmer. Well, not a simmer, but I had to think about it. See, I don't think I can answer this question... "Is diversity equally important to the AA audience as it is for all of the other book reading audiences?"

The question implies that I should know what "other" book reading audiences read and what's important to them. However, maybe I can address the question by taking a poke at this... "it is possible for some AA to have been reading nothing but AA titles without reading one title written by a non-black writer"

Although it may be possible for some AA to have been reading nothing but AA titles, we, for the most part, live in their world. I don't care if we are reading their novels or their short stories, we read about their lives and their stories on a regular basis. Their cupboards has never been bare. If can jump into the skin of the "others" I am trying to figure out why I'd want to read your stories. I mean, were is my vested interest in reading stories about a culture that I really do not have socialize with? You can't make me, you can't make me. You can't shame me into reading your books, and I don't want my friends to know that I even care about you.

But Thump, maybe I missed the question.

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Well, Thumper, I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as useless knowledge. Knowledge is, indeed, power. I don't think a reader can ever go wrong by broadening his/her outlook, rather than limiting it.

So, in response to your question, I would say, yes, black people should diversify their reading habits. A good book is always a learning experience, and the universal themes that characterize good books are made even more compelling and enlightening when they are filtered through a culture other than one with which a reader is familiar.

One of your and my favorites, "Gone With The Wind", was such a successful paragon because of a universal story line that was not only about love but about survival. In the process of reading this book, the culture of the old South was brought to life, which was something black people needed to know about no matter how galling it was. Bottom line is that one of the main things that this historical novel had going for it was that it was very interesting!

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