Equal Opportunity to Read Literature for Diversity
“We all know someone who is different. Let’s not forget that.”
As he campaigns in the Democratic primary race for the White House, Senator Bernie Sanders has made a cornerstone of his platform of dealing with the gap between ordinary people and the global economy. He calls inequality a crisis and, as he says: “We will create an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy few.”
In the rush to sell the humanities in the face of cheap introductory videos created for marketing purposes, it can be easy to forget what is at stake when it comes to promoting understanding. Diverse characters – people of color, women, the LGBTQ community – have important roles to play in humanizing and expanding our sense of community and empathy. We value diversity as a way to understand ourselves better, and how we can make a difference in the world. More importantly, we know that in a world that has become increasingly segregated, our ability to get along effectively – let alone in our interactions and political conversations – will require our skills to challenge perceptions, stereotypes and inaccurate assumptions.
So if you want to make a difference, reading this collection might help you do it. We’ve rounded up 20 novels by diverse authors that feature many of the “others.” Each of these books is shaped by a unique aspect of everyday life, like loss, religion, gender and immigration. So whether you want to hold up diversity as a positive example or challenge the stereotypes that still persist in all our interactions, consider stepping outside your comfort zone with these excellent books.
― Taylor Brittany