This afternoon I will be on a diversity panel at the NYPL. I thought I’d post some of my slides for those of you who are unable to attend. A full report will be posted tomorrow…
The US Children’s Publishing Industry:
Is the door open or closed?
My thoroughly unscientific, simplified representation of diversity in publishing in 2013 (based on observation and anecdotal evidence):
I believe there’s a direct link between limited diversity in the publishing profession and the lack of diversity in books for young readers. Although it is important for white authors to learn how to accurately represent people of color in their work, that alone will NOT change the status quo. I’m wary of groups whose goal is to “celebrate diversity” without also promoting equity.
What IS the difference between diversity and equity? Diversity focuses on difference but equity focuses on fairness. These definitions come from the UC Berkeley website:
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.
Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all…while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
What would YOUR ideal children’s literature community look like?
The UK Publishing Equalities Charter offers specific actions groups can take to promote equality and diversity. Learn more at equalityinpublishing.org