Race. As they say in the noble game of cricket, it can be a sticky wicket. But it’s a subject some, like me, approach fearlessly.
Not that I’m approaching the subject of race as if it were a contest or a battle, but as a subject of complexity and nuance, without trying to hide the ugliness it harbours, or over-enhance the equality argument.
I attempt to present the subject as it is for what it is, rather than how I — or anyone else — might imagine it to be.
Is literature turning colour blind? That’s the question posed by The Independent, to which I replied:
Ultimately, you can only write from your own experiences. Yes, fiction allows us to extend that reach with our imagination, but there are practical limits and key differences when writing about people.
You can’t guess and just make things up when it comes to people as you can when considering the future — people exist and their cultures are a known quantity.
I had the same issues when writing A Darkening of Fortune, where Joe — a guy of Arab extraction — is the protagonist. In part, I write from my personal experiences of the people I have known of different races and cultures, but there were limits to what I could write before running the risk of speaking / writing out of bounds.
If, as a topic, you avoid race, you run a greater risk of either simply avoiding people of any race other than your own, or aligning yourself with stereotypes. Neither option is agreeable.