Posted by: annemartinfletcher | May 31, 2012

Off Topic: Diversity and Literature

I believe that a diverse military is a strong military — as long as we understand each other well enough to work together.

I’m also a strong believer that good literature can help people to connect and understand each other, even when they are from very diverse backgrounds. Some literature that does this includes Native Son, Of Mice and Men, The Milagro Bean Field War, and Born on the 4th of July. 

Do you notice something about the first classics that popped into my mind? Not one of them was written by a woman. So let me quickly add Little Women, The Color Purple, Song of Soloman, and The Glass Castle. Every book I mentioned shares the troubles, inner thoughts, and lifestyle of people who didn’t fit into the mainstream-America stereotype — yet they were all apart of America.

Is there a book you read that expands your understanding of people different from you?

An upcoming anthology, Jane’s Stories IV: Bridges and Borders, has gathered stories, memoirs, essays, and poems from women with a variety of experiences. My favorite is the story of a woman who risked her life several times to immigrate to the promised land of America, to help her family, and her disillusionment here. The  publisher, Jane’s Stories Press Foundation, a non-profit organization that I volunteer for, is dedicated to increasing the diversity of voices in literature.

To get your own copy of Bridges and Borders, please go to kickstarter.com, search on “Janes,” and make a pledge. You can even watch me stumble through a video explanation of the anthology. While you are at it, please leave a comment, here or there, about a piece of literature that changed what you think about someone.

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