Another aspect to consider here is that John Green is a white man. In publishing, as in everywhere else, white men rule the world. Green has been embraced as an author in a way female authors, even white female authors, rarely are. He’s been established as the star, the groundbreaker, the leader of the YA movement, in spite of female authors like Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins being credited with revitalizing the once dying genre. […]
The fact that there are so few celebrated authors of color in YA is also a sign of Green’s privilege as a white male author; his books, no matter how groundbreaking or well-written, would not have received the support or acclaim they received if they had been written by a person of color. It’s very likely that they would never have been published, but dismissed as “ethnic” or “urban” and therefore deemed an unacceptable financial risk by traditional publishing. Through self-publishing, more authors of color have been able to find a voice and a market for their stories. Is this harmful to literature? Or does broadening the scope of which stories are told enrich the cultural narrative of our literature? I truly believe that if this were pointed out to Green, he would acknowledge the validity of this fact, but since he is a white male author, he isn’t obligated to examine it from that perspective.