Armchair BEA 2016: On Diversity Fatigue and Rage

Okay, so I was initially going to be pretty glib in my response to the diversity questions because I have a bit of diversity discussion fatigue (but probably not for the reasons you think). I was just going to post a link to the Diversity on the Shelf challenge I host (which it’s still not too late to sign up for!) and let that be that.

But then this weekend someone called my daughter and her best friend the n-word when they were at the Dairy Queen, and I realized that I can’t afford to be glib.


angry Beyoncé


Here’s the thing: I am tired of talking about diversity because, for me, it is something that I have spent my whole life thinking about and being angry about. I AM TIRED OF TALKING ABOUT IT. I think it’s good for white people to get in on the action, though, but more importantly, it is time for white people in charge to STOP TALKING ABOUT AND AROUND IT and to start hiring and publishing people of color. Period. That’s it. I’m tired of the bullshit responses of “create your own” and “make your own” like people of color HAVEN’T BEEN DOING THAT. I’m tired of tokenism and I still cannot believe we are having this conversation in 2016 after the success of Lost and the dominance of Shondaland and the numbers at HGTV  and HAMILTON and yet somehow it is always a shock or lightning in a bottle that people crave diverse stories. I mean, seriously.

Daniel José Older has an excellent thread of tweets about diversity fatigue. You can read the whole thing here, but I just want to highlight these two tweets because they basically capture what I am getting at:

It is insane. And infuriating.

I have posted about this before. So you see what I mean? THE SAME CONVERSATION OVER AND OVER AND PEOPLE STILL DON’T GET IT.

Basically what it’s like for me to be a black woman living in America:




It is exhausting. I am tired.

Armchair BEA 2016 Intro

I’m Akilah, and I’ve been blogging here about books since 2009, though I did blog about books on my LiveJournal going back as far as 2002. So, yeah, I’m not new to the game. However, this is only the second time I’ve participated in Armchair BEA (the first was way back in 2013).

Now, onto the questions (I kept the original numbering. Clever or annoying? You make the call):

2.  What is your favorite genre and why? My usual answer to this would be contemporary realistic YA lit, but, well, see #8.

3.  If you could recommend one other book blogger, who would it be and why? I follow a lot of great bloggers, but today I’m going with Crystal @ Reading Through Life. She is a voracious reader who also helps run Rich in Color, a blog devoted to diversity in YA. Also, and more importantly, I discovered her blog during the last Armchair BEA, so it seems fitting.

5.  If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song you choose?

The chorus is “Back in the day / when I was young / I’m not a kid anymore/ but some days / I sit and wish I was a kid again.” My bookshelf is basically all old books and series I loved as a teenager.

8.  What is the most interesting thing that you have learned through your reading this year so far? I am finding that though I find myself drawn to YA and it still makes up the bulk of my reading, I am less and less interested in it and would much rather read either middle grade or novels with teen/YA protagonists written for adults. Still contemporary and still realistic, of course, but definitely a shift in my preferred target market.


ArmchairBEA 2016


I’m looking forward to participating in Armchair BEA and reading and encountering everyone’s blogs. Happy posting, everybody!