default whiteness

May 20, 2016

So I read this tweet the other day and it kind of shook me to my core.

Mainly because I realized that I still default to white. STILL. And I have been reading a lot of books for a long time, and I know better. But when I read a book (esp. if it’s written by a white person), I automatically think the characters are white. In fact, I did this HARDCORE with a series I finished recently. In the first book, there are hints that a character isn’t white, but I brushed them aside until it was explicitly stated that she was brown in the last book. And even then I was waffling about whether or not to count it for the Diversity on the Shelf Challenge (which it’s still not too late to sign up for!) because of that. THAT IS CRAZY. I know better. And yet.

So yeah. I’m hoping to get on Naz’s level is what I’m saying.

Happy reading, everyone!

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  1. Trisha

    This is definitely a noble goal and a quite difficult one to attain.

  2. Morgan via Parenthetical (Sass)

    Oh, I definitely feel this in my core. I do it time and time again even as I fight against those who make cis whiteness a default in books, and I can’t help but feel immensely guilty about it. I wonder how much training it takes to get into a state of mind where POC can visualize themselves first without assuming every single character is going to be lily white from the get go.

  3. Naz Hernandez

    Hi, Akilah!
    I didn’t know you had featured this tweet of mine. Thank you.

    I appreciate your honesty about this topic. It’s important that readers acknowledge this about themselves, even if they don’t see it as an issue. We should always aim to reflect upon what books we read and why we read them.

  4. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    My biggest problem is actually that I barely pay attention to character descriptions at all and don’t really have any type of mental image. I actually consider myself a rather visual person in general, but I just do not envision characters when I read. I have no idea whether I would assume most are white or not. :/


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