Racial Diversity Survey

Dear non-unicorns, I have finally returned with the racial diversity survey results! I was supposed to have it up yesterday, but I went to a party and the rain poured down when I was coming home and I swear my bladder was about to explode. Basically, it took a looooong time for me to get home.

Without further ado, here are the survey results!

THE RESULTS

Free WordPress sucks in terms of JavaScript, so if you want to see the cooler, interactive version of this infographic, you can check it out here!

RACIAL DIVERSITY INFOGRAPHIC

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WHOA THAT WAS TEDIOUS, but also incredibly informative and eye-opening. Tell me: did you realize anything from these results? Were you shocked/unsurprising/confused?? Let me know!

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About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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25 thoughts on “Racial Diversity Survey Results!

  1. great to see your results.

    “Race” is a tricky thing to ask, my concept of it stems from the anthropological point of view that divides it more or less into caucasoid, negroid and mongolian. European, American, Australian and so on are not classifications of Race, just continental origin…

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  2. First of all, Aimee, this is super fantastic and you’re amazing and this is amazing…but also frustrating, because the industry has so many issues.

    Second, the race question is something we really struggle with in Psychology as well. Race can differ from Ethnicity, and the legal, government definitions are often very different from people’s own definitions. In research, we still tend to list options and “other,” because it just helps with stats, but in clinical work, I’m more likely to ask a client, “How would you describe your race and ethnicity? How would you describe your gender?”

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  3. That was really interesting, to see the results – I was wondering if you were going to do a follow-up post. One of the things that struck me is that I’ve found a lot of authors are using diverse characters in supporting roles, but not necessarily as main characters. Which can sometimes smack as ‘see, look how diverse I am, the best friend (who is indistinguishable from your average white American character) is XYZ!

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  4. this so impressive, aimee!! creating an infographic is really cool and it’s especially great since you chose a topic that’s important. this graph really shows that we need diverse books. sad to see there are “rarely” or “never” books with characters of the same race. i really enjoyed this post! xxx

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  5. Ohhh this is super interesting. I have to admit I rarely read books about Australians…but then is it my fault for reading more American books!!?? I’ve read ONE book written by a non-Australian who’s had an Australian secondary character and ERMAGERD THEY DID IT SO BADLY. The character existed on cliches and stereotypes and was really quite offensive. I hate reading books where it’s about the race and the character doesn’t seem to be a person, if that makes sense.

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  6. This was so interesting and squee, I may have squealed when I saw my answer there haha! ;D I’m from South Africa and I rarely read about South Africans which sucks! >.<

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  7. I feel like the topic of racial diversity in books is often overlooked because unlike movies the character is more defined by their behaviours and thoughts rather than their appearance. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a issue, I mean just look at all the ethnic characters in books are just stereotypes of their race. This is an amazing post and infographic and it’s really made me think more about the topic. Thank you for doing all this!

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  8. Really cool post! (Although I object to the fact that we humble readers are grouped into non-unicorns. *weeps*) I eyed your survey with great interest (and filled it in, of course), and I’m delighted to see the results. Kind of. Some of them are just plain depressing, like you say, but the wide spectrum of thoughts about whether book characters influence our own identities is quite diverse! (Fittingly.)

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  9. This was pretty much expected tbh because there aren’t enough diverse characters out there to lead the stories we read. And even if they are there, they’re mostly the gay best friends or just side characters or if they are MC-s, their culture isn’t done justice to based on what the people whose race and culture is represented have said in their reviews and thoughts. It’s so sad it’s actually tragic. And as far as Asians go, they’re the most popular diverse characters to use, but it’s also highly problematic in some ways because of which Asians are represented. It’s usually Eastern Asians who have lighter skin and who are privileged regarding their skin color and often fetishized, but Southern Asians aren’t main characters and, in fact, they’re rarely in books at all. If they are, they’re described as “exotic” which is offensive to a lot of POC. This is just one example, but it’s very saddening =/ As a grown up adult I think a lot of people realize that not being represented enough doesn’t define your worth, but as a kid, and even as a human being, I am sure that for marginalized people it’s hard to see that whitewashing applies everywhere and that racial diversity isn’t represented enough or in a great way. I hope this changes, especially with the help of diversifying author lists in publishing houses and giving a chance to more POC authors. They deserve it, the readers deserve it and the racially diverse characters deserve to have their story told. Thank you for taking the time to do this Aimee, because it showcases well one of the very important things wrong in the publishing industry (and in media in general).

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  10. Amazing job on the survey! I was surprised to see that only one African American voted, and it really makes me wish I knew about it so that I could’ve gave my input! I feel that now, I’m starting to see more black characters in YA taking the role of MC’s instead of supporting characters. I have read books where the depiction of African-Americans were quite offensive, and other books where I was so proud of the author for showcasing my race. (Pointe by Brandy Colbert is one off the top of my head) This survey was so damn eye-opening!

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  11. This is a great, and impressive graphic, Aimee. I could only laugh bitterly at some answers. Not because it was funny, but because it validated all that we’ve been saying this whole time that seems to be ignored by publishers or privileged readers, sometimes. These answers were a mix of things: saddening, maddening, and like you said, eye-opening. At least I hope so to any naysayers out there about how we have enough diversity.

    I feel this information could really be used for a great cause. It’s statistics from the book world that I feel can really improve the rhetoric of one’s argument against a naysayer, now, whether it be in a blog post, or just speaking out, in general. This is embarrassing, and I feel angry for those that rarely or never see themselves in books in regards to race, alone. It makes it much harder if you’re intersectionally diverse, and can’t even find ONE part of you properly represented in a book. There should be hundreds–no, thousands— of well written books with Asian MCs with great representation. There should be hundreds of books with intersectionally diverse characters of ALL kinds. No one should EVER feel left out by never or rarely seeing themselves in stories. We need to do better. I hate when people tell those speaking up to just write their own stories. Because although this is true, although we do need more people writing their own stories, we need more publishers/agents/editors willing to accept them. There ARE people writing, and the majority of those people are most likely being turned away. And the ones who make it through whether they write their own stories, or researched. Half or a third of it will be harmful, problematic, or not well written. It’s a shame, and although there is progress, we do so much damage by just blaming rather than actually working in unity to fix this issue. I could go on forever.

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  12. Huh, this is very interesting. I’m always for more diversity in books, but depending on what is written, I guess it skews my view of a particular culture if I am not familiar with it to begin with. Does that make sense?

    I don’t count race or gender as identifiers, usually. Like…I could read about someone from Mars and still empathise with them, I don’t need to be from Mars to understand them on an emotional level. But a cultural one, it’s a bit different. I hate stereotypes, and it always makes me sad when characters are thrown in for diversity but they’re just a caricature.

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  13. I guess a tricky part of the wording is that American or Australian are not races, or at least in the way I interpret the word. I think I was one of the two that put White in there, but it still is interesting to look at the results in terms of nationality too. Whether people read about characters from their country or not. Certainly that is easy when you live in the US, but I’m guessing it becomes harder to do when you live elsewhere?

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  14. I love how you have made this graphic, it was really fun seeing the survey results. I’m surprised as well at how the same race in books can affect you negatively, I think it’s mainly because of the stereotypes in a lot of books especially towards Asians. It’s sad there is diversity, but not enough books explore that and just throw it in there to be “unique.”

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