The Less White You Are, The Less Visible You Are—Wait, What?

So it’s hard enough to find a positive portrayal of persons of color in novels, as I’ve mentioned before, but what do you do once you’ve actually got a minority character? Well, the next step is usually to make a book cover featuring the protagonist… even if the protagonist is a person of color. And that’s where it gets tricky.

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Can We Have More Minority Representation in the New Year?

How often do you see minority characters in fiction? They’re pretty rare. When you read fiction, unfortunately you normally see a white protagonist alongside a plethora of supporting white characters. Possibly a minority sidekick, if you’re lucky. Minorities of both sexual orientation or race are underrepresented in teen and young adult fiction, according to this YALSA study.

But why is it so necessary for authors to write characters that accurately represent our world? It all boils down to facts—namely, the fact that races other than Caucasian exist in the real world, and when there is a fantasy world in which no minority characters exist, it’s basically telling minority characters that they aren’t good enough to exist even in a fantasy world. If elves and hobbits and dragons and dwarves can all wander around Middle Earth, there shouldn’t be anything terribly far-fetched about a few characters of color in the mix as well.

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