Diversity stories: Lack of diversity in book world continues to stir debate; lucky diverse Faribault, Minnesota

Author Junot Diaz is one of the writers who has been speaking about the need for more diversity in literature, specifically attacking MFA programs, calling the one in which he participated “too white.”

Does the book world have a diversity problem?

First there was the news that male writers enjoy disproportionate representation in the literary world, both as reviewers and as reviewed.

Then we learned men appear to out-represent women even in children’s literature, traditionally the domain of women.

Finally, there was this jarring news: that less than 3% of children’s books surveyed in 2013 were about black people – and even fewer by black authors.

The consequence of that homogeneity was on display at a Book Expo America Bookcon readers’ convention this month in New York, when the announcement of an all-star lineup of children’s writers provoked an uproar. The problem? Every one of the 30 writers – and one cat [!] – lauded were white.

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The Banadir Restaurant in Faribault, whatever ethnicity that is.

Diversity is key for a strong community:

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa.

Think about it! Faribault has become one of the most culturally diverse communities in the state.

Some think of this as unfortunate. I along with many others think of this as a whole new world of new possibilities.

The vibrant Somali community of Faribault

We have the unique opportunity to grow together not only through our schools, places of worship, but also our businesses. Speaking from being in the heart of the Main Street Faribault area, it is exciting to see new businesses opening where buildings sat empty.

New intriguing clothing and food businesses not only serve their ethnic community but the new and developing community of Faribault. These businesses keep spending locally and this affects other businesses (that have been here for up to three generations) in a positive way.

Change has always been what makes America great, and diversity has been the backbone of our society. We need to change our old ways of thinking and adapt a new, more accepting lifestyle.