I come from a multicultural family. I have biracial in-laws. A son-in-law whose family emigrated from Ecuador, so he's Hispanic and Mayan? Incan? They're not sure. He's cute, he loves God and he works hard and that's all we care about. A grandson adopted from Ethiopia. A biracial nephew and three bi-racial great nieces/nephew, and one who is deceased, gunned down by a pair of thugs as he ended his first year at Tuskegee University thirteen years ago... The thugs happened to be Caucasian and druggies... they didn't see color. They saw a college kid who might have change in his pocket, and he did because his dad had just sent him $40 to get food to last the final few days of freshman year. He was gunned down between the college and the convenience store. Gone. Just like that.
I don't see color. It means nothing to me. If you're being loud or raucous and obnoxious in public... (raises hand because she may or may not have been guilty of this a time or two!) I really wish you'd stop, and that's got nothing to do with color and everything to do with manners...
This poll didn't surprise me at all because it seemed like a no-brainer, and I'm so happy to say the results bore that out.
When I first started writing I was told (by authors of both races) that I couldn't write stories with mixed races because I'd offend the black community and what did a white woman know about black romance?
|Heath Caufield, Lizzie Fitzgerald and Zeke Caufield... and a puppy! |
If you keep it a "human" level and not a color issue, then you can write Southern... Australian... British.... Biblical.... Frontier Western.... Colonial.... Scottish..... Regency..... Mixed Race.... Renaissance.... And so much more!
We write characters with disabilities.... characters with children... characters who care for sick parents, not necessarily because we've lived it... but we've researched it.
This takes me back to "I don't see color" I see story. I see travesty. I see anguish and sadness and joy and the miracle of birth and the grief of death. None of that sees color. It sees and seeks human emotion. The kind of stuff we are all made of, the good, the bad and the ugly... and don't folks of all colors deserve stories of faith, hope and love, reflecting them?
So my upcoming mixed race/ethnicity Shepherd's Crossing series is SO MUCH FUN and so wonderful to write because I can take my early experiences of being in a city at war for civil rights (Rochester, New York) and blend them with my experiences across the Northeast with college kids, seeing all kinds of mixed couples who didn't see color! Asian, African, Irish, German, Native American, Indian... No color lines. So hooray for all of us, raising so many color-blind kids!
When I gather eggs, they come in lots of colors.
When you crack them to make a cake, they're... eggs. People are like that, just like Mandisa's new hit single "We All Bleed the Same".
As authors we need to look beyond the average and go for the higher expectation so when I did this poll, I wasn't worried about the results because even if they didn't match my goals, I'd run with them and I'd still write my stories.
Here is the intro on super-scientific facebook!!!
A Saturday poll for you and your answers will help me to shape a late-month Seekerville blog... I like diversity in my stories. My life is FULL of people of all races, creeds and ethnicities... I don't see color, I see characters, and I love, love, love writing diverse stories... So what say you, my friends? Let's talk about the beauty of realism and color in stories... while keeping the romance at the heart of the story!
1. Let me escape into the story, but give me a real story. That's what I'm after. (39 Votes)
2. Diversity is fine with me. I just want to love the characters. (34 Votes)
3. I like stories about real people, it's all about the story! (20 Votes)
4. I don't have to be a person of color to love stories with all kinds of people. (15 Votes)
5. Bring it! (7 Votes)
First, people want great story. So don't water it down, but don't belabor the downsides of life... we all have 'em, no one wants to live on the dark side of the moon but they'll acknowledge its existence.
You probably noticed I didn't include a "No diversity" choice. There was a good reason for that. First, who's going to admit that on facebook? (Ruthy is making a face right now) In a group forum?
Second, did I need it? No, because I think we've got a nice sampling here with people not voting for the blanket "BRING IT" as much as affirming that it's all about the story and the characters.
No matter what you're writing, gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) realism should be our guide. You're going to make the characters suffer, right?
So do their outward appearances really matter?
No. A Hostess cupcake is only better for that white cream in the middle. Our peanut butter Whoopie Pies on the farm are best when sandwiched with my homemade chocolate frosting.... and who doesn't love a chocolate frosted white or yellow cake?
Sure, that sounds silly... but then, so does separatist writing!
Let me know what you think, and do you have a mix of people in your stories? Have you thought about it? Let's talk.
With over 40 novels and novellas published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York where the Blodgett family happily grows pumpkins of many colors and sells to people of the same! She lives with critters and little people and some big people and windows that always need washing, but that's okay. She loves washing windows! Ruthy says windows bring light to the soul... and she's got the Windex to prove it. Friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter and she loves when folks visit her website ruthloganherne.com.