As you probably know, I am planning on writing my novel.
This is nothing new- I’ve been planning (and planning) for quite some time now. I don’t usually reveal much about it to people in casual conversations, but some people know about bits and pieces of it.
And while many say they like the idea (maybe they’re just being nice?) those who know about the relationships in the story are often not so crazy about them.
The thing is- almost all of them are interracial.
Some people don’t pay any attention to this fact, but others- especially Americans- do. All the time. They say it’s unrealistic and forced. Almost “too politically correct to be true”.
And I despise political correctness. So naturally, I take this as an insult.
But the thing is- my story is not set on Earth. Characters in my story are humans, but “race” as a category doesn’t exist in their world. That’s right. Race (as we know it) is a social construct and not biological fact. There were cultures who never had race as a category. People in my story belong to such a culture.
Of course, you might say, if there aren’t races, there aren’t interracial romances. Fair enough. But my (potential) readers are humans from Earth, and if I say, for example, that one character has dark skin and kinky hair and another white (light) skin and yellow hair- that’s going to be perceived as an interracial romance.
Most of the relationships in my story are between people who don’t share the same skin colour, hair texture, or eye colour. It’s not so much of an issue for them- it’s like brown haired guy dating a blonde girl in our world. So why do people tell me relationships in the story are “forced”?
Like I said, I don’t reveal much of the plot, so there are all various and logical questions people could ask about my story, even if it’s only about relationships. For example:
– If interracial marriage is the norm in their world, how come not everyone is mixed race?
Which is a good question. To which I have a logical answer. But no, people don’t ask this. All they read is blue eyed guy kissing dark skinned girl, and another example of a couple whose skin shade doesn’t match, and they say it’s “forced”. (Also, people often assume that because I am white, so are my characters, if not mentioned otherwise. Who said, btw, that blue eyed guy must be white?) But even if we forget about this- am I right to feel angry because people perceive relationships in my story as “forced”? (And no, it’s not a romance novel, and it’s not really about who’s dating who, and race is not an issue). And it is “forced”? In a world that is not our own?!?
And just a note- no, I don’t have any personal experience with race issues. But this just makes my position as a writer better in a way: it is much easier for me to write. Without many stereotypes, without learned idea of what’s good and what’s bad when it comes to interracial dating, without shame and guilt (why is always, to some degree, about shame and guilt?)- it is much, much easier for me to write about interracial relationships. Maybe that’s because it’s easier for me to see them as something “normal”, not controversial or unusual.