5 reasons why we should write about Interracial Relationships
I was cruising through the romance websites when I found one about interracial relationships. I thought, wow that is cool. But it doesn't really apply to me because well I'm I white girl from a middle class family and blue eyes. I'm the last person that should put my oar into the water when it comes to discussing race. Except when I looked at my books all but one of my books is an interracial relationship and the other one is an inter-species relationship. I was wondering why I was doing this. Remember glow in the dark white girl here. But then I thought of my family. I have two siblings in interracial relationships. I know when my brother started dating a Maori girl there were some in our circle that asked how we felt about this. She is a nice person so we were sweet about it. But it confused our friends. They could not understand how we could condone their relationship. They didn't care that she was a smart and lovely woman with a kind heart. All they cared was why we were letting my brother who is also a glow in the dark white guy date a local Maori. I think this is why I write about interracial couples in my books. I also make it seem completely normal. Here is a list of why we should write more diverse relationships. Besides the obvious one of course.
1. Normalising- The more we read, view or experience something the easier it is. That is how we came to same sex marriage not that I'm an advocate but meh, society chose to do it and people wanted it that way so who am I to say what they are to do? I grew up in South Africa where it was actually illegal for interracial relationships. I should say we couldn't care less if people wanted to hook up together as long as it didn't bother us but the rest of our family and friends certainly had opinions on it all. But I saw there as time went that the more couples there were the less of a stigma there was.
2. The rule of expectation- When we expect something massive or amazing and it isn't we are disappointed and often quietly angry. I've thrown books across the room because of this. I think part of the reason people fear interracial relationships is because they expect something bad to happen. Some cultural misunderstanding that will wreck their relationship. If we write books though where the couple somehow overcome this we will soon come to expect that to the norm instead of worrying about the trouble that will happen.
3. Relatable- I like to read books where I can relate to the characters because this allows me to escape into another world. The problem though is when there is no one that is like me in the books. I was once looking for a doll that looked like my niece and I couldn't find one. When I did the cover for Sorrow also sings and Blind Leading I had trouble finding pictures of Hispanics and Polynesian men. Don't even get me started on Asian men. In the end I actually had to use photoshop to turn normally white guys into the characters that I needed. I use stock photos and they are done with one thing in mind, to reach as many people as possible. Hence heaps of hot women and guys but not of many races. Frustrating to say the least.
4. Broaden your horizons- I live in New Zealand and one of the things encouraged of the young is to travel overseas and experience the world. People who travel apparently are better workers as this wider view of the world allows them to work through different issues in the work place and relate to their coworkers better. Well if you can't travel then why not transport yourself with a book and people in it who are from somewhere else and who look different to yourself. I think this is the reason why I like Anime so much as it allows me to explore Japanese culture in a way I feel comfortable.
5. Statistics- There is actually a lot of people out there who aren't white middle class men, shock horror. Who would have thought? But to be serious there is a very diverse world out there and we should write about the world in maybe not a realistic way then at least representatively. (I made up that word but I think it works) I use stereotypes for some of my side characters as it allows for a fuller character without having to flesh them out myself. What if I had thousands of other stereotypes to choose from because people were writing about more diverse characters. I could actually have a muscly type who isn't an idiot or a thief who was dark and broody with the morals of a snake.