I have several blog posts I could write about this, but today’s post was inspired by a TikTok I was watching about the new Marvel movie.
I’m not a huge Marvel fan though I do really like super heroes – I’m just a little bored of it atm.
Anyways, the premise of the TikTok is that why the Eternals movie is getting review bombed – arguably because of diversity?
It was the comments beneath it that got me fired up. They kept arguing with the creator about why we have so much diversity and a lot of this applies to any creative medium.
The recurring comment I kept seeing in the TikTok comments was “we just don’t like having politics imposed on us.” (We being mostly white people, politics saying “diversity”).
So I thought I would spend today’s blog post ranting in reply and coming up with more related stuff later.
My background and POV
If you’re aware of my background, you know that I came from a really small town conservative white area. 98% of the people who live there have grown up there for generations and talk the same, look the same, believe pretty much the same thing, etc. It’s taken a while for me to learn and grow away from that.
So unfortunately I’m familiar with these kinds of comments because my parents and family say stuff like it all the time.
I’ve personally always loved seeing racial and cultural diversity in stories. When I was younger I was obsessed with Native American stories, for a while it’s been Japan + East Asia, and now I’m getting into finding more African stories by Black authors.
I am white and am used to seeing everything and everyone looking like me. In my mind, my background is boring, why would I want to see anything like it?
I’ve always found other cultures to be 150% more exciting and interesting.
I love learning about ancient history. All my history books though have a very white archaic POV. It always starts with Egypt, then Greece, then Rome, then medieval Europe – etc. But what I’ve always wanted to know MORE of is what was Asia doing then? What was the Americas doing then? How about Africa?
If one wants to argue we don’t see about the other continents a lot because we don’t have the first person accounts to back anything up, I squarely place the blame on my white ancestors for not seeing that as valuable enough to save and distorting history.
I would also argue though that we DO have these histories, but a lot of it is based on oral traditions and stories. A lot of it requires some digging and listening to the people who come from those backgrounds.
What Diverse stories and casts are and are not
However, I always come back to the fact that POC and other cultures have ALWAYS existed.
Having a more diverse cast is NOT “identity politics”.
It’s NOT “diversity being imposed on us.”
It’s NOT “political correctness BS”
Having a diverse cast however IS reflecting the reality that’s ALWAYS been here.
It’s recognizing that other people have interesting and worthwhile stories to share to.
It’s recognizing that at the end of the day, we all matter. Everyone deserves to have a chance of have their voices heard.
When we make our shows and books and movies more diverse, it’s allowing everyone to enjoy those creative works better. It’s reflecting more truth.
ESPECIALLY when we allow BIPOC and LGBTQA+ to share their stories and their characters in their own voices.
Diversity makes the SCI-FI and Fantasy community more creative and interesting
ESPECIALLY in fantasy and science fiction, we should be welcoming these more diverse stories with open arms.
If no where else, everyone deserves to have a story in the science fiction and fantasy community. It’s a community for the imagination, which is only made better when we look at more interesting and creative possibilities.
I guess that’s why I get so heated when I hear conservative people talk like that. I live in America where we’re supposed to be a diverse country, we don’t have ONE formal cultural tradition that goes back thousands of years.
I’ve been trying to read more diverse authors this year and I have to say, their stories are so unique and interesting. It’s refreshing and inspiring.
I’m tired of the medieval European centric stories and myths or Greece and Roman. We have so much of that already.
Other cultures have really interesting myths and legends that are ready to be told, I think it’s about time we let them be told. (Also is there is a lot of overlapping themes and stories in mythologies around the world which I find fascinating).
Sit back and Listen
So all of this is to say, I don’t think having diverse casts is pushing identity politics on anyone. If anything, if we DON’T push for it, we will continue to see the same recycled content from one lenses point.
White people have dominated the media for years in America, having a more diverse cast in stories isn’t saying white people don’t matter anymore. It’s just saying “hey, these people are interesting and cool too. They deserve to be listened to and shown as well.”
To me, if anyone has a problem with that, they need to be quiet and think hard about why that makes them so uncomfortable and angry.
And I just want to say, in terms of historical fiction, I am SO TIRED of seeing the same stories on Queen Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, and other British Monarchies like the Tudors told over and over again in different ways.
For the love of God, I just want some stories about the other monarchs like in Africa, South America, Central America, and Asia.
If the Royal Dairy series can find these royals to write about, I’m sure we have enough content out there for them.