Generally, when people write, they write what they know. I’m a white female, so generally, I write white characters as well. They may have various nationalities (such as Lucien being French), but they’re white.
I don’t feel comfortable writing characters in a different race, particularly if it has a real world setting. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, because there are authors who do a good/decent job of it.
This became an issue in SHATTERED, WARPED‘s unpublished sequel. I could clearly picture the antagonist. She had dark golden skin, luxurious black hair and dark brown eyes, and a voluptuous figure. She also had an Indian name.
Can you see the problem?
I did, and I spoke to a POC writer about my issue. At that point, I still only had her in my head on not on paper.
When you have a full cast of white characters, and the only POC is the antagonist, there’s an issue.
Sure, she wasn’t based on anyone in particular. She was a supremely powerful sorceress who wanted – and generally took – whatever she wanted. But she was still the only POC of color.
In the end, the character was not scrapped, but she was rewritten. Instead of being an Indian sorceress, she became a version of Elaine of Astolot. Most of my legends and fairy tales are pulled from history, so it follows my story – and more importantly – won’t (or I hope it won’t) make POC readers uncomfortable.
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