The saying is “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but the truth is, we all do—and we’re actually supposed to. Someone designed that cover with specific intentions for you, the reader, to pull the book off the shelf and take a closer look. If I think about it too hard, I realize how shallow and materialistic I am as a reader and how hard a cover has to work just to get me to pick it up. My recent interest in cover design has to do with a challenge I’m undertaking this year to read at least thirty books with a main character who would be classified as a minority in America. Finding books that show this diversity on the cover is actually a lot more difficult than I expected.
Some fields, such as mathematics and philosophy, have more than seven author credits given to men for every one given to women.
If history is really what makes humans human, it seems like the effort to be more respectful and inclusive of other peoples has to include the acknowledgement of and effort to learn about history.
For most of my life, the majority of books I’ve read have been written by white men, from the picture books I grew up with to most of my favorite childhood series, and then almost everything I read as an English student throughout high school and college. It’s not that books by white men are all the same, or that they’re all bad. It’s that these books share a similar perspective. I had become so used to the white male viewpoint that I subconsciously recognized it as the standard.
Ooligan was approached by a fellow writer and editor who is involved in the Portland literary scene, which is often predominantly white. Where are the Asian, African American, Native American, and Latino writers he knows reside in this city?
There is no clear benchmark one can use to determine what is appropriate representation in global-minded nonfiction.