I’m tired of posting what other people are saying about race, now it’s time for some of my own thoughts.
When I first said “I’m going to write this story that’s in my head” I’d already decided that it was going to be a multiracial setting. I was tired of reading works where there was a continent of white folks and a continent of
dirty savages black folks and never the two shall meet (except if they’re killing each other).
And then I noticed a couple of issues:
The first was that, in using a setting like pre-dynastic Sumer as a “base” for my secondary world, I inevitably found myself creating brown-skinned, black haired people (the Sumerians called themselves “the black headed people”) so at first it seemed odd to create black characters with kinky hair or white folks with any hair colour (especially since very light skin + desert climate doesn’t work so well). I decided I definitely wasn’t going to spend a lot of time describing any of my characters (so as not to exoticize “the other”) or use food metaphors in my descriptions (seriously, who wants to hear that their skin looks like coffee?).
Then suddenly I realized something: Why was my protagonist’s best friend black (thus being a “black best friend”)? Why was the only white person in the story so far occupying the top position in the City? (Though to be fair, sie didn’t come in and take over.)
And then I thought “Man, I really am failing at this race thing….”
To be fair to myself, I’m not too far along in the story, so other characters will inevitably come along that will hopefully not make me want to slap myself. But the thing is, if this story is ever published, who is going to read this post, and say “Oh, okay, at least she was thinking about this.” Nope, they’re going to look at the book and say “Man, Gef is such a racist.” I guess there’s always the option of changing the characters, but for the moment, I’m content to leave them as is for now.
What do you think? Would it be better if I changed these characters or is it too soon to tell?