Quick intro: Hi, I'm Zoe Nichols. New to this blog but pretty comfortable in the genre in general. You can find my stuff at Torquere and in the upcoming year, you can add Phaze and Cobblestone to that list too.
Okay, enough with the pimpity pimp pimp.
On to the subject! A little while back on my Livejournal, I brought up a particular topic that had been bothering me for awhile. It eventually came out because there's a publisher (sorry, I don't give names because hey, they might only bother me) that has some not so great titles and some not so great storylines in their interracial section.
Now, usually, I can ignore this. I mean, if the publisher took it, someone is likely to read it, and the writer gets paid. Que sera, sera.
In this case, no.
I can not brush off stereotypes. Particularly stereotypes that are based on skin color. I don't understand, whatsoever, as to why it is hard to portray black people. No, seriously, I don't get it.
We can write exceptional Mexican characters, we can write all the sub-categories that form the term Asian, we can write the British, Scottish, Irish, Native American and a multitude of others.
We can not write black people. And this astounds me. Because the aforementioned races have cultures that many of us know nothing about. Yet, we're perfectly fine illustrating them and their differences, a lot of them extreme from the average American white dude who is the default m/m hero.
Nothing wrong with him, don't think I'm saying that. I happen to be a black author and there's a good chunk of my stories with white dudes. A lot of times with other white dudes. I'm guilty too. What I mean is, why do we, the authors, when we do touch on black folks, find it so easy to stereotype a black person as ghetto but we go out of our way to present the Mexican culture as best we can?
It's kinda bizarre to my eyes because while I know black dudes aren't gay as gay can be, I also know for damn sure that the Mexicans and the Italians are both known to have cultures that are surrounded in machismo and yet, they are also, next to our white dude, two of the most popular cultures explored in m/m. So it can't be because the African-American culture isn't gay-friendly.
Why is it so easy to brush off one but research the other? What baffles me the most is that your average American black dude is likely the same as your average American white dude...except for his skin. He celebrates Christmas, he goes to church, he drinks with the buds and its entirely possible that he likes a blowjob as much as the next guy.
Tell me please why it is so hard to portray that? Why does he wear brand labels and talk like a Hollywood gangsta and drive an SUV? What's wrong with a Jeep? This is not to say that these guys don't exist. Just like your drunk Irishman exists and your stingy Jewish guy and your brainy Chinese guy. Stereotypes exist because there's a grain of truth in them. But they're not entirely true and treating them like they are? Sucks.
We all deserve to like reading about ourselves - even if it's just a skin color we share with the character.
I started devoting more of my writing toward showing the difference and exploring it because...frankly, it makes me sad. We're doing so good everywhere else....yet why are we failing here? So, I'm trying.
And what do ya'll think? Not just about black characters because hey, not everyone's gonna share my pet peeve. But what about other cultures that are mixed and matched in stories? Interracial is creeping up slowly and I think it's pretty nice to see. What about you?