If you’ve ever cared for a small child, you know this.
Life starts out with everyone clapping when you take a poo and goes downhill from there. – Sloane Crosley
It’s not long at all before simply pooping isn’t enough to get attention. Then it’s about controlling your poop. Pooping in the right place. Not making a mess of things.
For anyone old enough to read this, can you imagine the reaction of anyone in your life if you announced that you had successfully pooped in the lavatory. Would there be cards? Applause? Gifts?
And then imagine the other reaction if you announced that you had not pooped in the lavatory, but instead had pooped… well, pretty much anywhere else.
As we mature, the basic stuff is no longer praise worthy. As we master a task, it’s only really notable when we completely screw it up.
I think we may have reached that point with diversity in speculative fiction.
I do not mean that everything is fine and dandy with diversity in speculative fiction. Not at all. I’m saying that diversity should be a given, just like properly using the restroom.
Unless a project explicitly is about diversity or a specific group1, then there’s no need to call attention to the diversity of characters or authors in the project, just like there’s no need to call attention to one’s successful use of the lavatory. Publishers – like myself – should get no special kudos, cookies, or recognition for simply doing what is expected.
But if a publisher fails to be diverse… well, then they’re covered in shit.
(Long time readers will know this isn’t a new analogy for me. Apparently unlike me, who didn’t realize it until I finished writing. Sigh.)
1 The Apex Book of World SF, Women Destroy [a-zA-Z].*, and Steampunk World are examples where diversity is inherent to the project itself.