Race in YA

I read an interesting article awhile back on the YALSA Hub about race in YA, and it got me wondering, is YA too white-washed? Certainly, there are a LOT of YA books about Caucasian protagonists, especially girls, but this could be said of many literary genres. Annie Shutte, the article’s author, comments that, too often, when a protagonist is an ethnic minority, the image on the cover is a silhouette, the character’s race cannot easily be discerned, or the cover model is Caucasian. I can’t help but agree that this is a problem in publishing and is in no way limited to YA. Look at the cover of any Harlequin romance novel about a sheikh and the model you see is most likely a white guy with a really nice tan. But what should we do? Should we stop buying books like this? Should we write to the publisher and express our concerns? And what do teens think about this? Do they have trouble finding stories with characters who “look like them”? Do they want to read stories about characters of other ethnic backgrounds and if not, why not? I wish I were running a TAG group. I think this could be an interesting topic of conversation.