Monday, September 03, 2007

Open Mouth, Insert Foot, Chew Vigorously

OY! Cie here.

Okay folks, I am who I am, what I am, and the product of my background.

In addition, I occasionally have all the social skills of a rabid skunk.

That said, I do get to have opinions. Sometimes even unpopular opinions. In fact FREQUENTLY I have unpopular opinions. But that doesn't mean there is malice aforethought. It doesn't mean people don't get to disagree.

I am a middle-aged, white (almost to the point of glowing in the dark) American of mixed ancestry on one side and Irish heritage on the other. I was originally from a small town in the middle of farm country. The town was (and is) VERY conservative. I, generally speaking, am not. (Which is a whole 'nother set of issues for another day and another post.)

ANYWAY, I was on another author's forum, and they were talking about one thing and the thread went in another direction, to "Why aren't there more black/African/African-American vampires?" And I posted the following:

I'm sorry, but I just don't see it as prejudice that there aren't more black vampires. It's just a tenet of the world. And truthfully, I think ANY author would get so much stress in our current socio-political client if they wrote a black main vampiric character. There are authors who've done it (Cathy and I included), but it's a real risk. No matter what is done, it's "wrong" to somebody. If the character wasn't flawed they're unbelievable. If they are, the author has to be desperately careful HOW they're flawed or they will catch he**. In this series it would be the same thing as happens with the rest of the characters only so much worse, because there would be inevitable accusations about prejudice. When I think how violently people react to Richard and Nathaniel and multiply that, it makes me absolutely shudder. Maybe I'm being chickensh** and unfair, but that's how I feel. In the USA at this time race is still a hot button.

And immediately people took this to be prejudice on my part. Um, WHA? That is SOOOOO not what I meant. Hell we DO have a black vampire -- Carlton in the Thrall series is black. But that's not the point. The point is that there are people who will attack viciously enough and assume the worst enough that I, for one, was given pause and had to really THINK about writing that character. There ARE cultural differences. I've run afoul of them more than once in real life. Hell, I'm running afoul of cultural differences that are not based on race every day having moved to Texas from "up north." Acknowledging that it could cause a problem doesn't strike me as being prejudiced.

BUT people took it wrong. Someone basically snapped that an author wouldn't have to study a "culture" that blacks and whites are no different. So I added the following post after.

Absolutely. But that doesn't mean that people won't argue about it. In fact, there are people who are always determined to argue about everything. We all bleed red. In the end people are people. But culture differences do exist and viva la difference. Because if everybody was the same life would be deadly deadly dull and there'd be nothing to read about.

So, I guess what I'm asking is, was I offensive? I really didn't mean to be. Truly. But I suspect anything further I say or do will only make things worse.




Mel said...

I don't read it that way, but at the same time people don't like you to put a mirror in their face and point out the truth.

Most people like to think we've abolished all racism and for you to mention cultural differences then you must be prejudice.

Darla said...

I agree, I don't read what you said that way either. I also think what you said was right on the money.

The way I see it is, your the author, you portray your story as you see it, not how someone else sees it.

This is my opinion...If someone wants to think I'm predjudice or racest, then let them. You can't please everyone all the time, and to try and do so only gives you added stress you don't need.