First and foremost, a little heads-up:

I’m black.

I know, I know, it may come as a shock. I don’t wish to alarm you, but if you’re reading this, I think you should know the truth. I’m the descendant of slaves brought to the United States from Africa, and indigenous peoples in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans – Seminoles to be exact.

Additionally, I am a person living with an invisible illness, an invisible disability: bipolar disorder, type 2.

I share those things because I fit into the discourse of what I’m going to address today – #OwnVoices in the writing community.

Recently, the We Need Diverse Books organization announced that they will no longer be using the ownvoices hashtag in reference to literature for children. This announcement has furthered the discussion of the problematic aspects of the hashtag.

I’ve spent a bit of time chewing over the reasons We Need Diverse Books shared that led to their decision. At first, I was a bit torn about their criticism, but I’ve come to the conclusion that they make a very good point.

The intent behind the creation of the hashtag is inarguably good. (scroll down to the last question of the article in that link to see the creator’s motivation)

Unfortunately, its use has sometimes become problematic. I don’t want to get into critique of the marketing aspect of the hashtag – I don’t feel I know enough to provide anything useful to the discourse. Instead, I can say that the hashtag works for me, and I will continue using it going forward.

Here are my reasons:

… continue reading on my Substack.

Posted by:Gia