This isn't necessarily an upbeat Slice of Life. It is a reflection of something that happened about a week and a half ago that I am still thinking about.
I went to a children's literature event that was fantastic. See my celebrations post here for more about the fun. I fangirled about meeting authors of books that I have loved. It was also great hearing from authors that were new to me. Being in a room with so many authors and readers gave me chills. People were chattering about books, authors, and connecting with each other. A buzz of happiness and excitement filled the air. As you may suspect though, there was another perspective that I haven't shared yet.
The event was happening near Chicago which is a tremendously diverse city. As I gazed around the room, that is not what I saw. Granted, we were in a suburb, but the room contained very few people who appeared anything other than white. I noticed it in passing, but really thought about it more deeply after I saw an author's name in the bulletin. I knew she was not white and the thought came to me, "Well, it will be easy to find her in here." Not too long after that, I noticed this message on Twitter:
I'm at a big Illinois book event. Sorry gotta just say this, it's 99% white.Yes, librarians in the midwest are probably not very culturally diverse, but there were teachers there too and we were not far from Chicago. I don't know what the answer is, but I believe it is an issue that needs to be addressed. I sent an email to the organizers because I am not sure if they are thinking about this. Being white, I only thought about it in passing when I first walked in. It only really hit me when I thought about how I might feel as a person of color walking into the room. This was an amazing event and I hope to attend again, but I also hope for some change.
— Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) February 15, 2014