I was thinking about this today…Who am I listening to? Who are the people whose voices I hear the most and how are they similar or dissimilar to me? Because those are the people who are feeding my story ideas and perceptions of the world.
So, I went to Facebook. I’ve unfriended a ton of people on there, but I still have a decent amount of friends and they represent a fairly broad range of the people I know, so I think it’s pretty representative.
The result? Disappointing in some respects, but encouraging in others.
Overall, my FB friends are majority my sex (63%), my country of origin (88%), my sexual orientation (83%), and my perceived race* (77%).
(*I literally put Heinz 57 for the race question on my college application because I’m a little bit of a lot of things. But when it comes down to it people really only care about what they think your race is based upon appearances, so that’s what I went with for this.)
So, it’s somewhat unfortunate that I’m mostly friends with people who are like me. (At least as far as those narrow criteria are defined. All you have to do is look across each of those groups to see how much diversity there can be even within a fairly homogenous group.)
But I’m slightly encouraged that there’s some variety in there. In terms of country of origin I had friends from seven countries other than the U.S. and friends from five different racial groups (and each of those with more than one person).
As far as I know all of my friends are either male or female. And either heterosexual or homosexual. (I have a few friends who might have a bi experience here or there but are largely one or the other.) So, in that respect I really don’t have any exposure into certain QUILTBAG communities.
(Hopefully, I just used that right.)
I’m sure my mix of friends isn’t as much diversity as some people would want to see. But given where I grew up and where I’ve spent my life, I’m relatively pleased by the variety.
Now, looking at the blogs I read regularly, that’s much less encouraging. It’s pretty much white and heterosexual Americans that are either male or female. What I don’t know the answer to is whether this is my preferences showing through or whether that tends to be the standard of what I can find in my field (writing, specifically speculative fiction).
I do have links to blogs by people who fall into other groups, but a lot of them don’t post regularly, so aren’t in my go-to list.
But is that all there is to it?
Is there an Internet hate/silencing that occurs that means that I don’t see as many active blogs by homosexual writers or writers of various ethnicities? Are those types of blogs kept within those communities more than blogs for white heterosexuals? Is there more of a need to blog within a “safe space” for certain groups than others and because of that are those voices more hidden than others?
I don’t know.
As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I amuse myself in this little corner of the blogosphere without too much concern for what’s happening in the broader blogging world around me. I lurk. I don’t follow other blogs. I rarely comment on other blogs or forums. I just observe and write from my little self-contained space.
I’m the kid on the playground playing by myself off in the corner missing the big fight by the kickball court.
But I do think it’s something worth thinking about. Especially as a writer.
I’ve been reading a lot of discussion lately about what people should write about (or not write about) and thinking how that ties back to writing what you know. If you don’t expose yourself to a broad range of ideas or life experiences, then you don’t have a wide range of options to choose from when you go to that idea well.
I like to think I’m well-exposed to a broad range of ideas and opinions. But maybe not. Maybe I’m just more exposed than the people in my little group of like-minded individuals? Hm.