Armchair BEA 2016: On Diversity Fatigue and Rage

May 11, 2016

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.

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  1. Heather

    Sorry to hear that about your daughter and her friend. I can’t believe people are still that is go orang and mean. Well, I can believe it but I don’t want to.
    I linked to Diversity on the Shelf in my post. I can understand that people get tired of talking about this because it feels like we’re saying the same things over and over. But obviously some people aren’t getting the message and they are missing out on great stories.

    • Akilah

      Thanks so much for linking and commenting!

  2. Sharlene

    What?? That is disgusting, it really is, and I am sorry that happened to your daughter and her friend! 🙁

    But I want to applaud your Diversity on the Shelf challenge! It is awesome and I always forget to write reviews of books I read but I have to go and write some this week for your challenge. So thank you!

    • Akilah

      Thank you! I’m looking forward to reading your reviews. You always talk about great books that I haven’t encountered before.

  3. Gabriella M.

    Ugh. People suck. I’m sorry that the children had to go through that. No one should have to endure that kind of BS.


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