It's the big new (or not-so-new when you think about it) subject in publishing. Lack of Diversity. It's splattered over headlines, debated within panels, and agonized over in the industry.
You know where else it has an impact? Fandoms. The publishing world is driven by the reactions and opinions of book fandoms, but not always in a positive way. Diversity is supposed to be a positive concept. It's supposed to be a term that encourages minority voices to find the representation denied to them for so long, a term that allows the world to be depicted as it really is: multi-cultural.
Yet, diversity has made a surprisingly quick left turn. Suddenly, to even attempt becoming a diverse writing is a terrifying thought, because the fandoms of "diverse" books are the most critical. Many well-known authors such as Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and most recently Sarah J. Maas have become victims of the word rather than champions for it.
There is no hiding the truth. Up until recent years, diversity has been nearly nonexistent in the publishing industry. Popular writers were either male, white, or at the very least American/English. That's a fact, and I will never try to deny it. Things have changed, though. Publishers are now hearing the cry of the public and understand the need for literature that not only reflects the desires of the public, but also the cultures of the public. Sameness is no longer a term we want to hear.
However, just as Sameness blanketed the literary sphere in the past, the attempt to force Diversity into the same position has already begun. White writers are becoming scared to attempt writing diverse characters, for fear of misrepresenting a certain group/race/culture and being verbally attacked in the process. Diverse writers are becoming scared NOT to write diverse characters, for fear of the exact same thing.
Note to readers and writers: Just because you are a diverse author does not mean you should be forced to write only diverse characters! And just because you are a white writer does not mean you should be forced not to write white characters! We need both, whether in the same books or separate ones. But we also need to understand that this is an opportunity for CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM rather than bullying.
Sarah J. Maas is the perfect, current example of when the public can turn nasty, even while trying to be a proponent of diversity. Her fandom has recently exploded on Twitter with some of the most negative and hurtful backlashes I've ever seen. She's been accused of being a purist, of purging her characters, and I've seen multiple tweets blaring profanity and telling her to quit writing.
Readers! If a character is misrepresented in literature, it is your job to draw attention to this so the writer can learn from the world and grow/adapt through it. Yelling at someone and telling them they are worthless is not your job. All that makes you is a bully; you make yourself no different than the people who once refused to even consider a character who was different than them.