Publishers have always had very rigid rules for publishing under their labels in romance- length, HEA, must have this, can’t have that, must have this kind of love scene, must have two, etc. I am not an author, but was in a book club for years with several published authors, a couple who are well known, plus was able to attend intimate romance workshops, mini-conventions with more well-known authors. One frequent topic was the “rules” publishers put down for romance books.
I’m not necessarily saying I think the rules about writing minority characters are always helpful, but publishing is a business and if they think it’s what the average consumer wants, then that’s what they are going to require, just as they required certain situations in romances in the past. The fact that hold power to rather arbitrarily make or break authors isn’t really a new thing. I agree we’re seeing more and more representation (mostly in contemporary novels) and that the trend is likely to continue without rules, since those books are doing well.
Where you and I disagree is that I feel that sometimes past wrongs and slights need to be addressed, and sometimes that means not just leveling the playing field, but actually assisting through actions that seek equity, not just equality. That means, for a short time hopefully, those who benefited from the privilege of the previous system may be adversely affected. Affirmative action in hiring was a way to achieve equity by hiring minorities/women/disabled for a percentage of the jobs because they had been excluded from those jobs for too long.
I’m not sure if I’ll continue on, because I’ve pretty much said what I feel. I thank you for the respectful, pleasant discussion. I look forward to more lively discussion. :-)