Open Discussion – Why is it so important?

Happy Saturday, Diverse Reader Friends!

I hope you had an awesome week and that your weekend holds promise. It’s time to kick off our weekend with a new discussion. What do you think it’s going to be about?

Yep, diversity. Y’all, if you watch the news, scroll through your social media newsfeed, you may get a hint of diversity. Some of us have more diverse group of friends than others. Honestly, it depends on where you live, who you’re friends with, etc.

There’s something vitally important about stepping out of our bubble and exploring other cultures, ethnicities, the things that set us apart, but also bring us together. And books have a way of offering another view if the one around us is limited.

So what say you. Why is ethnically diverse Christian fiction important to you?

Discussion led by Toni Shiloh

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14 thoughts on “Open Discussion – Why is it so important?

  1. Because of the millions of ethnically diverse Christians out there, to start with. An agent said she wasn’t sure she could market my book. “Who would read it?” she asked. I looked it up. 54 million Hispanic people in the U.S. alone with 90% identifying as “religious” and with a quarter of them identifying as “Evangelical Christians” (i.e. Protestant). That is 12 million right there…that feels marketable. Also those are 12 million people who have never read a Christian fiction book about them. That’s mind-blowing. I want my son to grow up and read books that have strong Christian men who are Latino, so that’s something I wrote. I don’t want him to only see what’s in the media, where men of color are gangsters or drug dealers or murderers. In the wake of the whole Philandro Castro horror, as well, we need books that show other sides of people of color (like what people are actually like, not just what society or the media says they are like), good people with strong character, so that more people can open their heart. I don’t want to get all political, but if in a jury of their peers, an officer is more likely to be charged with a crime for killing a dog than for killing a person of color, there are a lot of closed hearts out there.
    Already I’ve been surprised to see a small shift, an opening of a heart, of someone who I thought would never read my book and did. For me to see someone, a Christian, move from arguing for over an hour about why undocumented people should all be deported to saying she felt for the main character and wondering what could be done to help law-abiding Dreamers, it touched my heart and gave me hope. It reminded me that God told me to write this book and I listened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! When you drop statistics like that it seems insane that we don’t have more fiction geared to the Hispanic culture. I think the problem a lot of marketing gurus make is assuming that people from a different culture wouldn’t like the same things a white person–or any other person–would like.

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  2. Wow! I’m so glad I stumbled upon this. I am an aspiring CF writer and all of my books center around bi-racial characters and relationships. Christians are just one race, culture or people. We are a vast ocean of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Our fiction books such reflect that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So glad you found us, Cynthia! I agree wholeheartedly. We need to take the time to make sure our writing reflects the world’s demographic, so that they can see the light of God.

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  3. like anything else in fiction, it is a thread of real life. to write something “purist” doesn’t reflect our true daily lives. even as escape reading, it has to have real elements in it – even fantasy is anchored by recognizable elements (then again, fantasy is diversity on steriods! LOL)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Hahahaha, everyone in this discussion is taking the words out of my mouth, so I don’t want to be redundant. 😀 But I’ll add that I don’t think Christian publishing will want to fall on the wrong side of history. By that, (I know it may sound extreme) I mean like Crusaders who murdered people in the name of Christ in medieval times, or unscrupulous Church leaders who contributed to the need for the Protestant Reformation, or preachers in the U.S. who condoned and pushed for American slavery over the pulpit. In super-simplified and understated terms, when we don’t value humanity as we should, the legacy we leave isn’t too pretty.

    Revelation speaks of those from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” who were redeemed by the Lamb, and I think it’s important for Christian Fiction to reflect that kind of diversity–especially at a critical time when there’s a struggle and a fight going on for the rights, the dignity, and the very lives of people of color. We wouldn’t want Christian publishing’s legacy to be, “At that critical time, we still shied away from publishing diverse books because it didn’t make sense to us, money wise,” or “We didn’t think it was important enough,” or “We discussed it but couldn’t get our ducks in a row to make it happen.”

    Now, I’m not saying that Christian publishing is deliberately devaluing humanity, or that no one in Christian publishing sees the seriousness of the time we’re living in. But I do think it’s important to consider the picture we’re painting that people will look at, years down the road. Will the books we’ve published indeed reflect that we value all humanity? What will the lens of history say about what we’ve produced, and what we haven’t?

    Now, even as I’m mentioning “the wrong side of history,” I don’t think Christian publishing has to come at this from a negative angle, producing from a place of what we *don’t* want to be, or just trying not to paint a bad picture. But literature is a huge part of any crucial point or movement in history. How positive and powerful a message it would send to the world should Christian Fiction become more dynamically diverse now!

    And when I talk about Christian publishing, yeah, I’m including myself. 😀 There’s so much more writing and publishing I need to do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Great reply! This: We wouldn’t want Christian publishing’s legacy to be, “At that critical time, we still shied away from publishing diverse books because it didn’t make sense to us, money wise,” or “We didn’t think it was important enough,” or “We discussed it but couldn’t get our ducks in a row to make it happen.”

      Your words hit me right between the eyes, Nadine! Definitely want to look and make sure my words glorify God, and give hope to the readers.

      Liked by 1 person

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