Open Disssion: Where are the Diverse Books?

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Have you ever walked into a bookstore and wondered where all the diverse Christian fiction books are? If you’re lucky, your bookstore has a huge collection to offer you. (I’ve seen ones where the genre has been regulated to a shelf.)

You peruse shelf after shelf, but there are no diverse books. Your assumption: ethnic authors don’t write for the Christian fiction genre.

And that’s where you would be wrong. If you’ve been joining us here every Saturday, you know there are ethnic authors who write Christian Fiction. So, why can’t you find them in the bookstore? Or even on places like Amazon?

The answer is quite simple. They’ve been labeled by their race. Here are some examples. After an African-American writer publishes a book, the book gets labeled with the code “Fiction / African American.” Some other minority codes are “Fiction / Hispanic & Latino” and “Fiction / Asian American.”

When the books arrive to the brick-and-mortar stores, they’re already slated to land in their appropriate sections. So that Hispanic author you love to follow is not shelved with the other Christian fiction books, it’s shelved in the Hispanic/Latino section. Sometimes the book is shelved based solely on the author’s ethnicity and not of the characters.

Since I love asking thought provoking questions, I’m going to do so now. Is it right to shelve books by their race and not by their sub-genre (i.e., romance, Christian fiction, mystery)?

What are the pitfalls of doing so? What are the benefits of continuing this trend? And if you don’t mind sharing, if your books feature minority characters (or you are a minority), if you had the power to categorize your book, would you add the ethnicity label?

Let’s get the discussion started!


Discussion started by Toni Shiloh