I swear, I have no prejudices (that I know of) against people of different beliefs or religion, colour, sexual orientation whatever. Except I guess for if you try to force your views on me or convert me, though I’m not averse to anyone stating their case or getting involved in a discussion. BUT I am getting a bit fed up of reading ‘a certain percentage of your characters have to be people of colour’ in submission guidelines. I mean, yes, promote diverse writing, but make it a requirement?
WHAT THE HECK!!!
If I want to write about a tiny village somewhere in the UK, it’s probably more accurate to have only white people populating it. Even today there are such places. It’s not racist, and it shouldn’t make anyone feel left out. Ditto for historical writing, even if it’s in the near-past. If you write about a small out-in-the-country place in China, is it likely to have many non-Chinese people settled there? Passing through maybe possibly I guess, but living there? And what if I don’t include a physical description of half my characters? How do you prove what colour they are, or know what their beliefs or orientation is if it’s not specifically mentioned?
How do you know.
Apart from physical descriptions, is there really a difference between people of different colours? In how they act or speak I mean. Different ethnicities I’ll grant you, but as an example, you get people who look oriental but were born in England or America or Australia and they speak with those accents, and they were brought up with those cultures. Other than outer appearance, how are they different?
If I’m going to have to start describing every single character’s exact physical appearance, I’m going to give up on getting anything published right now: it’s not how I write, and I don’t like the idea that appearance matters more than a character’s actions and reasons for their actions. Do you state each character’s religious choices when you introduce them? No. Only if it’s important to the story, or it’s something someone points out or notices.
As I might have suggested before, if you’re making a point of stating these things, aren’t you highlighting that they are different and therefore deserve different consideration? Maybe I feel like that because I’m white and English. Or maybe that sort of thing just doesn’t make a difference to me.
(Please excuse my wording if it is at all offensive, and keep in mind that these are my views possibly poorly expressed, and no-one else’s. They were not intended to offend/upset.)