That’s right. You are just being honest. You are not being compassionate, or considerate, or thoughtful, or loving, or polite, or even pleasant. Just. Honest.
There are times when someone has to deliver an unpleasant truth. There may even be times when that person is the “just being honest” fanatic. But so much more often, unvarnished honesty is unnecessary, unkind, and unwarranted, and a little thought put into the delivery of the message would go such a long way toward making it valuable and constructive feedback rather than a shattering blow that can only be forgiven, not forgotten.
[W]e do need more incidental diversity, but it’s often seen as The One True Path to doing diversity right. Review after review praises books for their understated approach to diversity, saying how it’s not an “issue,” the diverse characters “just are,” and how wonderful it is that barely any comment was made about a certain character being queer/Black/a wheelchair user. Sometimes, books only hint at a character’s identity, or indicate it via a throwaway mention or two.
That approach works for some stories. It especially suits fantasy or science fiction settings where authors can build a world from scratch. In real life, though, marginalized people are affected … when [that isn’t] acknowledged in realistic fiction, I notice. When the absence of those elements is praised, I notice especially.
And I wonder — perhaps uncharitably — are diverse characters only OK as long as they’re not too diverse?