A LONG AND UNCOMFORTABLE RANT

So get your tea, coffee and some delicious food, because I’d like you to read this all the way through, even if you don’t like some of the things I have to say. I’d like to start this out with a little less personal statement:

In 2016, Let us make the decision to not pin the actions of a few on the whole. 

Continue reading “A LONG AND UNCOMFORTABLE RANT”

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Thoughts on the Church Shooting in South Carolina

So, I just recently finished watching FOX News with my mother, and I saw some more information on the church shooting in South Carolina. I am angry. I had to just stop watching partway through because it was just bothering me so much. It caused me wonder a lot of things. Mainly, why we can be so judgmental over something as simple as skin color difference, to the point where we shoot each another over it? Let’s face it, this wasn’t a religiously based attack. This was a racially based attack of terrorism.

I wish we could live in a time where such things aren’t an issue. I constantly want to believe good things about people as a whole. I want to live in a time where we are, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, judged based on the content of our character and not on the color of our skin. I watch the news and I consistently see that’s not the case.

Let’s put some things in perspective. St. Augustine? Black. Jesus Christ of Nazareth? Also likely dark-skinned. Yet I don’t see anybody saying anything about their skin color when they talk about them. No. They talk about their sayings, their teachings, their life, their philosophies. I’m not seeing that we can’t notice the differences in color. Unless you’re completely blind or seriously colorblind that’s not going to happen. Hopefully, we can even celebrate the differences. God made humans as  beautiful creatures in every single pigment. When He made male and female and called it good, and He did not exclude future generations or diversities. He said it was good. End of sentence.

But just because you’re not religious like me does not give you have a right to be racist. Please, let’s realize that we’re all human. We are all one race. That’s why I don’t like referring to color differences as racial differences. You don’t hear about basset hounds that hate only chihuahuas. That’s mainly because they don’t speak, but that’s not the point. We’re all humans, and hating a human for any other reason than for them doing something terrible is wrong. If you find yourself doing otherwise, or someone else doing it, stop it! We may never get rid of racism, but we can start with fixing our own thoughts and actions.

For my final thoughts on this summarized in a better way than I could, please see a fellow blogger’s post linked hereIt’s an excellent conclusion.

A Thought On Unseen Racism in Novels

This is a continuing thought from something I reblogged recently on Tumblr, but I didn’t want to spam the post with a giant paragraph of stuff. I may have written something similar before, but I’m upset about it all over again.

I think we need to be far more aware of our use of race in novels. From what I am told, it has been determined that Aragorn from Lord of the Rings is neither white nor fully human. But that is never made clear in the books. Because of that, Tolkien lost an excellent chance to have slightly more ethnic representation in a movie series that’s criticized for having so little. He didn’t think about it at the time, I’m sure. But what if he had? The legacy of Lord of the Rings could have been very different. Tolkien could have paved the way for ethnically diverse fantasy novels everywhere. 

But the fact is that nowadays unless it is distinctly explained that a character is not white, it’s assumed that he/she is white in a fantasy novel. If it’s set in Ancient Western Europe, this makes some sense. There were a lot of white people in Ancient Western Europe. But most modern fantasy stories are not in Western Europe. A lot of the time, it’s in an alternate Earth universe of some sort (ex: Middle Earth, Alagaesia, Narnia, etc.). So why are we automatically assuming everyone’s white in this a.u.? Why even assume that white skin is the dominant group? Why assume there’s white skin at all? Why can’t these humanoids have blue skin? I have no idea. Perhaps it would make people think of it as a Sci-Fi novel if we went that far.

Because of this, I made sure in the novel that I’m writing, The Dark Soldier, that there is plenty of ethnic diversities. The main character is not white, not because I have anything against white people. I’m white. But we have too many white male protagonists. That’s boring, cliché even. So yes, while nations like Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America do not exist in this fantasy world, ethnicities similar to theirs do. There are characters distinctly pointed out to be black, white, golden, olive skinned or in-between shades. There are many mentions of racism in the series. And not one piece of this bothers any of my friends or my illustrator. She’s made sure to paint people with the skin colors that I described them, for which I am very grateful.

Maybe it’s about time we stop being scared to talk about race in novels. It’s the best way we can stop being racist ourselves.

NOTE: It has occurred to me that I might need to explain something. I do not write this in some feeble attempt to make up for white people being racist throughout the centuries. Literally everyone’s a little bit racist, as the song goes. I don’t know why we as a culture have decided to focus on white people doing so. If I was doing that, I would be writing a book without any white people at all and making sure everyone knew it so that I “didn’t appear racist”. What silliness. I’m writing this book for every tribe, culture, nation and human that has any prejudice towards any group of humans at all. I hope that maybe people who were racist against a certain group before will think to themselves, “You know what? I know this character is [certain race they are racist against], but they’re cool. I like them. Why am I even racist against their group in the first place?” That’s the idea. I hope it works.

Race In Fantasy

I want to talk about a little thing called race today. Don’t worry, I don’t believe this will result in any rioting.

When writing fantasy, or any other book, do not be afraid to talk about different races. There is nothing that upsets me more than a book than only has one race of people because people are afraid to talk about anything else. Sadly, this is prevalent in much of today’s fantasy books. I’ve read quite a large amount of fantasy and even just regular fiction books where the protagonists are all white humans. Goodness gracious. The world is not just made up of white humans. Diversity is awesome in our world, why not make it awesome in yours? Basically, don’t be afraid to have more races than your own. If you aren’t, come up with a good explanation, or make up for it with different races of other creatures.

I think Lord of the Rings did an excellent job talking about this using the animosity between dwarves and elves. The two hate each other intensively for some time. Yet, there are those like Gimli and Legolas who eventually learn that they can enjoy each other’s company and even develop a friendship regardless of the matter of birth. They successfully talked about racism without having a single mention of skin color. (Not that there were any other ones than white, but the fact remains.)

Still, don’t be afraid to break the fantasy norm or even call attention to it. Have black-skinned elves! Have asian dwarves! Have Middle Eastern people! Have half-elves and cross-breeds! The possibilities are as endless as the universe you make!