This is an interesting piece on the perception of “box-ticking” for diversity markers in literary awards. If you think boxes are being ticked, then you think those ticks are superseding quality.
Such arguments should be deeply offensive to anyone in the business of words. They not only presuppose that equality and quality are mutually exclusive, but that diversity is actually dangerous. Why? Because it results in a diluting rather than sparking of excellence. It means that those of us who fall under diversity’s wide umbrella have been held back, not because of discrimination and prejudice, a narrowness of perspective that tends to accompany privilege, or a lack of representation, but because we are not as good. Or conversely, if we happen to have made our way, it is because allowances were made, quotas met, liberal consciences assuaged, but never, God forbid, did we get here on merit alone.