Today I want to do something new on my blog and its a book recommendation that featured Diversity.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or if its because I’ve been studying it lately but I’ve been drawn to the fact there is so much inequality in the world. Growing up I knew that, of course I did. Privilege is a thing, I come from a white middle class family who live in a small rural town in the UK and I go to university in a city, I see homeless people everyday and I’ve witnessed sexism and racism and experienced sexism and harassment from men.
One day I was at work (in my little town) and the phone rang, I picked it up and at first the lady on the other end sounded so sweet but then the phone call took a turn and she became extremely racist. I was so shocked I sat in silence wondering if I was actually really hearing this woman right as she told me ‘black people don’t really have qualifications, they lie to get jobs and steal your money’ and how the girl who was at the hotel she stayed at had a baby and she wasn’t married. ‘Someone should tell her, that’s not right at all’. I remember staring at my supervisor as he served a customer begging him to look up at me because I didn’t know if I could put the phone down or if I would get in serious trouble, I didn’t know the procedure for dealing with people like this? Can I just put the phone down or do I have to just carry on and put a complaint in at the end? The lady was becoming worse and worse so I just did it, I ended the call.
I didn’t care if I got in trouble, for a girl with anxiety this took a bit of courage, I wish I had the courage to speak up for the people she was insulting and tell her straight but I was a young girl in a new job and I frankly felt out of my depth.
I got up from my chair and went to my supervisor and broke down. I couldn’t believe someone could be so vile and hateful, this was the first time I had ever at first hand heard those types of things being said. Of course I had read and watched news stories which spoke about such remarks but hearing them first hand makes it even more real.
The news lately is full of Black Lives Matter, Muslims being attacked, Sexism, Standing Rock and the inequality against the Natives, Rape Culture, Abortion rights being taken away and I wonder if our society is going backwards? Sure we do have some rights but are we truly really free?
I want to promote a book here today that’s linked to Diversity, a book I read as a teenager which broke me. It’s called Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and it’s focused on Racism but it shows white people as the victims and growing up having lived in a small town and not experiencing Racism it hit me hard. Probably harder than it would now because I make sure to read the news articles on numerous platforms to get the real news, to see the stories from around the world. I know the truth about the world now and know the extent of racism but back then I didn’t really know about it because my small rural town sheltered me from it. I didn’t know how it would feel or have any reference point until this book came along and I remember reading the book and going downstairs to my mum crying my eyes out because the racism the book featured was someone’s reality. I have since studied the book also for my Children’s Literature course at university and heard how other people studied the book at school whereas I studied Lord of the Flies, I think it’s a book that should be studied as it really gives an insight into racism and Malorie Blackman has subverted Black History.
Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.
Sephy is a Cross — a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought — a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?
Representation is important, it’s important for everyone to have a book character they can relate to. If you are interested in reading more books with Diversity but don’t know where to start? Try Twitter, look up the hashtag #diversebookbloggers and you will find some accounts and blogs which speak up and give you recommendations.
Have you read Noughts and Crosses yourself? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, also let me know if you would like more features like this!