The Problem of Us and Them

A serious post for probably the first time.  I wanna talk race.  Not in the clench up and prepare for impact kind of way though!  Race in literature.  Specifically, my series.

In Feeding Frenzy I’ve mostly ignored it.  I think I clarify that the main characters are white, and the sorority girls are mostly white.  Other than that?  You should feel free to assume that the other characters are nonwhite.

I chose this route purposefully.  It is called erasure when you don’t clarify, when you say you are “color blind,” and it is a problem.  I knew that as I wrote it, and I did it anyways.

It’s a problem because when we don’t clarify, we read characters as white, by and large, because in our culture, white is the default (See: Band-Aids, TV shows, make up…).  There’s nothing wrong with being white, of course, it’s just that a lot of the world isn’t white, so it’s sort of strange to be reading something and only see creamy white skin and hear pasty white voices.

Here are some voices I’d like to hear more often.

I chose to do this in Feeding Frenzy because I was a wimp.  Writing a book is scary enough, I thought, and I don’t want to get it super wrong when I say how the doctor, the cops, the prosecutor…all not white.  Plus, I rationalized, it’s not really relevant to my characters.  There is a strong us and them in the book, but it’s humans versus monsters, because the girls are privileged enough not to have to worry about looks in daily life.  And anyways, Lia doesn’t have most of the same hang ups we all have because she had the prejudices and messages of her childhood removed. This is all true, but it is insufficient, so I’m working to correct that in Sacrifice.

I will probably get some things wrong.  I am extremely fortunate to have many diverse people in my life who can read and tell me if the characters sound interesting to them, personally, but there isn’t like…the NAACP White People Certificate Program you can attend to be declared Not Racist and gain access to All Plates at Cookouts Nationally.  That isn’t a thing, so chances are I may do something unconsciously that will be somewhat problematic.  But it’s important to try, I think.  My friends and loved ones deserve to have stories that reflect the lives we share, and I would like to honor how amazing they are to me.

adara laugh

She is awesome. I wish I could crystallize this moment and gift it to people who deserve a friend like her.

 

 

So, please consider this an apology for my cowardly behavior in Feeding Frenzy, and if you have any advice on things you’d like to see in stories of people of color or other sexualities, genders, religions, and lived experiences generally, I would adore to hear about them.  Otherwise, please know that I’ve course corrected for Sacrifice and will continue to try to learn, apologize when I goof, and strive to do better.

Thanks very much for being wonderful humans, I hope to be the same.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s