Marlon James: Why I’m Done Talking About Diversity; Or, Why We Should Try an All-White Diversity Panel

You’d think with the rise of Donald Trump in the US, Marine Le Pen in France, the newly energized Neo-Nazi and KKK movements, and with people from all over the world (but particularly Europe) suddenly emboldened to be public with their racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia, that now would be the perfect time to raise the banner high for diversity. Now would be the time to have discussions, and raise awareness. And yet now seems like the perfect time to stop talking about it.

Or at least stop talking about it in the way we always have. Why now, when that voice seems to be needed most? The problem is all this talking. Liberals, in particular love to talk. We debate issues, we explore the conservative angle (despite them never returning the favor), we talk about solutions, we even try to tolerate those who would not tolerate us. The problem with all this conversation, is that it is all we do. We have diversity panels and invite writers of color, perhaps Roxane Gay (who has long called out the lit establishment on this habit, and who inspired me to write this piece), or Junot Diaz, or an Indigenous American and/or Australian so as to not ignore original peoples. We invite a gay man or woman, with extra bonus points if the homosexual is a person of color. Then we invite a few white persons who claim to get it, even if they are mystified by the racial arguments breaking out on college campuses (aren’t they all rich kids?) or Black Lives Matter.

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I really love Hermione being reimagined as black, but I really hate when people say “well I can’t relate to her anymore” like, bitch shut up! Children of color have to relate to white people all the time. Hermione being black doesn’t change anything about her. She’s still the same person. If the HP fans can’t “relate” to Hermione the moment she’s black, then maybe they aren’t real HP fans. That’s some nasty shit to say seeing as a lot of fans are POC. The same goes for half indian Harry.

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