"It makes the readership uncomfortable because they’re not used to seeing it."
Key takeaway—they’re not used to seeing it, and it makes them uncomfortable. The “Rule of Three”—that three black characters makes it a “black story”—is a very common assumption in white audiences, the idea that it’s “not for me” anymore. We think the more mainstream audiences see diversity everywhere, the more they’ll embrace it. But we (they) have to get past any assumptions of agendas and focus on how awesome the story is. It’s a challenge sometimes.
Would it be fair to call having a female protagonist the “Rule of One” making that book a girl story? I have encountered both sets of rationale too regularly (depending on my library audience) and I don’t think I yet have an effective set of tools to combat these fallacies. What are some good methods to open up a dialogue to dismantle these assumptions?