My Most Hated YA Trope…

A white washed cast.

 
Now I’m a young black teen who lives in one of the multi cultural cities in the UK so when I read books that are clearly set in a world that either is or mimics our world it really worries me that almost everyone is white. Not just white either- straight, skinny and almost certainly prett- I mean ‘plain’. Plain has basically lost it’s original meaning because some YA authors would use it to describe the most beautiful protagonist ever made.

Now let me get a few things clear. I am NOT against any white, skinny, heterosexual protagonist who is beautiful. What I am against is that that protagonist is in 90% of YA Novels. Dystopian or Contemporary, Romance or Fantasy. It’s the norm. But it isn’t the norm is it?

I think it’s getting to the almost dangerous point where I automatically white wash every person in a novel I read and I only don’t do this the odd occassion where I can clearly see the person in mind because of the authors creative descriptions. I already knew I was doing this unconsciously but while I was reading The Rest Of Us Just Live Here I realised I was still white washing a character who the author said was black. That was probably just my stupid self being stupid, or have I been more deeply ‘programmed’ to just always see a character a certain way or ethnicity?

I don’t know or maybe I do and I’m just afraid to say the truth. It doesn’t matter because the conclusion stays the same either way. Something needs to change in YA and it is slowly, but surely.

I am also trying to actively read more minority ethnic authors  authors as well to just support them I guess. I really do need to read more LGBTQ+ books as well, just to broaden my understanding of the LGBTQ community through books.

Anyway, if you do have an opinion on this subject matter please do voice them in the comments because I will be very interested in hearing them.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

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