Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Inter-racial Genre Controversy

I do not intend to start a hate-filled debate. I'm hoping to mend fences. I saw on another blog that some --not all, by any means-- writers of interracial romance resent white authors who write interracial. Was I shocked? Not really.

I do disagree that all white authors who write interracial get a "break" somehow. I don't. I've only written two interracials, and both were by accident. The first, "Sex World 1: Guardian" had a m/m plus menage theme. It did well in its day, but I'd say that was because it was m/m and had nothing to do with one of the heroes being dark-skinned. Frankly, since it was never intended to be I/R, I was content to let that slip under the radar.

My second I/R was deliberately written with a black female and her white husband. Set in the future, I wished to convey that in the time of "Bonds of Matrimony" race issues were deader than moon dust. I wanted to show how beauty comes in many colors and forms. Millicent Devereaux was successful because of her own hard work, but she'd gotten lost in her stressful job. She recognized her failing and wanted to save her marriage. Did all this have to do with her skin color? No. Perhaps that's why no one cared it was I/R. Sales have been okay, but I don't think I got special privileges because I am white. In fact, I think it hurt me.

So what's my point? I/R sells because of its specific cultural framework. The heroines are products of today's present black culture. I don't think the color of the skin of the author matters so much as correctly portraying the characters and their situation. Black authors who live the culture probably have a leg up on white authors like me who have to be taught the culture. I bow to their expertise.

To me, this is just another real life example of "write what you know." It's no different than the huge amount of research I did on Ancient Egypt to write "The God's Wife." If I put forth the effort to learn, I should be able to write based on my research. Again, I think this has to do more with expertise than skin color. I'll have to work twice as hard to get half the credit. Challenge accepted.

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