Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

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White Authors/Protagonists of Color

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message 1: by Wilhelmina (last edited May 23, 2009 04:48PM) (new)

Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
Yesterday, Tayari Jones linked in her blog to a white author, Shelley Ettinger, who writes about her struggle about whether she should write stories with non-white protagonists. This is the link:

http://readwritered.blogspot.com/2009...

What do you think? I have mentioned before that I am easily offended by what I call "Black folks from Mars" - stories that feature Black people who are completely unrecognizable to me, and I have spent the vast majority of my life among Black people from a wide range of backgrounds. (They didn't call DC "Chocolate City" for nothing!) But I am also annoyed when authors write about communities loaded with minorities - DC again, and, of course, NYC (Woody Allen, this means you!) and write as if we don't exist. I think that white writers can get it right (George P. Pelecanos, for example) but it takes work. What do you think?


Janet | 94 comments important question. Aside from Pelecanos, are their other authors that people know of, respect? Someone we might want to read next month or later this year?


Misha (ninthwanderer) This very subject was at the center of a HUGE blowout in the online science fiction/fantasy community earlier this year.

http://wiki.feministsf.net/index.php?...

It started with a white author getting defensive about criticism of how she portrayed minorities in one of her books, because she thinks of herself as one of the "good guys" when it comes to race issues and attempting to represent people of color as people and not as stereotypes. But she (and her friends) mostly didn't want to hear it when readers and writers of color told her she had more to learn and think about. It got pretty ugly, with the readers/writers of color ending up feeling very marginalized by how white readers/writers responded to the discussion, or so I've read. I don't want to try to represent what someone other than me thought or felt about the issue.

Anyway, I'm not really active in that community so I never participated in the discussion, but it did lead me to think about my own privileges and prejudices as a white person, and that's one of the things that led me to this group and wanting to read more writers of color. Another important thing I got from reading the discussion is that it's incumbent upon me to learn about people who are not me -- it is not their job to "educate" me. I'm responsible for how I live in the world and how I relate to other people. But I'll be honest that sometimes I'm afraid I'll open my mouth and my privilege will come leaping out. I'm trying not to let that scare me out of the conversation, though, because I think we all have to participate if we're going to make progress. So I guess I'll risk looking like an ass in the hopes of making myself and the world a little better.

The discussion has stirred up again recently among some of my Canadian friends over an author who admitted in an interview that she doesn't know how to write First Nations people, so when she writes fiction about white people settling Canada, she just pretends no one was there already. Uh...


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
she doesn't know how to write First Nations people, so when she writes fiction about white people settling Canada, she just pretends no one was there already. Uh...

You've GOT to be kidding!


Misha (ninthwanderer) The author is Patricia Wrede and the book is The 13th Child. I'll add the caveat that I haven't read the book, only what people have said about it.

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=c...


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
I wouldn't advocate reading them in this forum, simply because there are so many writers of color for us to explore, but I have run into several authors who I believe have done an excellent job with African American protagonists. One of my favorites is Barbara Hambly who has written a series of mysteries, starting with A Free Man of Color, set in New Orleans in pre-Civil War times. The protagonist, Benjamin January, is an African American, born in slavery, freed by his mother's "patron", and trained as a doctor. Unable to find work when he returns to America, he works as a musician and is surrounded by a number of characters, mostly black, some white, all believable and interesting. Of course, the historical period is a rich source, as is the city.

I recently read Run by Ann Patchett, and I thought that she did a very good job creating believable Black characters, but I have since found out that many people disagree!

I've never been to Botswana so I can't judge the accuracy, but I enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, who is white, and I absolutely LOVE the HBO series.


message 7: by Wilhelmina (last edited May 26, 2009 06:44PM) (new)

Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
I just read a good deal of the SF discussion that Misha gave the link for above, and I had two reactions:

1) I'm glad that I've gotten older and much less angry than I used to be. It's exhausting!

2) I would love to hear what some of you younger (20's? 30's?) people think of the comments.


Janet | 94 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "I wouldn't advocate reading them in this forum, simply because there are so many writers of color for us to explore, but I have run into several authors who I believe have done an excellent job wit..."

excellent point. There are many many writers to explore.

read the first 70 pages today online, while waiting for Someone Knows my Name to come in the mail (couldn't find it at the library).
it's stunning.


Mary Anne | 4 comments Mina,
I did not care for Run, as I felt that the entire family set up was just too perfect, i.e. caucasian former mayor of Boston and his late wife adopt biracial twins, who he is now challenged to raise by himself, and of course, they're exceptional.
But that's the only book I've read recently that fits in this category.


message 10: by jo (last edited May 27, 2009 09:08PM) (new)

jo | 805 comments Mod
richard price is priceless.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Wilhelmina wrote: "I wouldn't advocate reading them in this forum, simply because there are so many writers of color for us to explore, but I have run into several authors who I believe have done an excellent job wit..."

I was about to ask the group about Run as I felt that it was not Patchett's best effort. Her other novels were excellent. I also had my own ambivalence about Taft A Novel.
I am white myself so I don't want to make presumptions about the accuracy of portraying people of color. I just had a bit of a problem with the plausibility of Patchett's depictions of African American characters in her novels.


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
And I found the boys in Run to be very similar to the friends of my nieces and nephew who grew up in the Boston area!

The books that I find most annoying are the ones that portray people of color as somehow magical, or the ones with (for lack of a better term) I'm going to call the Uber-Mammy, the black women who mother every poor lost white person who wanders by. I'm fairly tolerant, at this point, of those who just let us be normal folks.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

LOLOLOL Yes, like those movies on Lifetime channel.


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
jo wrote: "richard price is priceless."
In spite of my intentions, I haven't gotten around to Richard Price yet, jo. Which book is your favorite?


Rona (ronagirl9) | 104 comments This thread is fascinating to me, and I thank Mina for bringing it up. It's a question / dilemma that I think is even more interesting now than ever before, as all people of all colors in this country have had more exposure to people of other races, from all over the globe, and from all classes and backgrounds, than probably at any other time in American history.

Going back to the original blog post from the 'Read Red' blog, my reaction is that literature can mirror as well as amplify any crisis, controversy, phenomenon that's happening in the 'real world'. Thus, of course racial dynamics are going to come into play when a white writer who may or may not have much experience / exposure to different people of color attempts to write characters who are people of color. I remember commenting on one of the blogs (http://seeking-avalon.blogspot.com/20...) regarding the big blowout on race in SciFi/Speculative Fiction (SF for short), and giving the blogger props for breaking down what some of the glaring problems are in SF re: race. At the same time, SF as a genre has done amazing things to further the portrayal of people of color--although i have to admit I haven't read many of the white authors who do so, have mostly read the Black writers (Butler, Delany, Hopkinson) and love their work.

I guess I'm rambling a bit but my bottom line (for now anyway!) on this is that white people of course should write whatever characters they want to, but they need to be willing to be in dialogue with people of color readers and writers and be open to criticism when they write unrealistic, two-dimensional or otherwise problematic characters. It all goes back for me to the basic question any good writer wants to address when writing a story: 'Does this work? Is this plausible? Am I doing justice to the characters?' Often I've found that the way white writers write POC characters says more about their own biases and prejudices (which includes over-romanticization or placing on a pedestal people of color characters) than it does about the characters themselves.

Is it possible for ANY writer, then, to not completely color (pun intended) their characters with their own biases? Proabably not, but it's our job as writers to try to do justice to the souls and voices of our characters despite our own leanings or beliefs.

I think the main problem comes about when white writers get 'offended' at being called out on writing stereotypical or problematic characters of color. My advice for these writers: get over yourself, listen and learn, and maybe you will be able to then write a character of color that can really live in the minds of your readers with a soul that lasts past the final page.


Misha (ninthwanderer) Someone I know online (and unfortunately I can't remember who) said recently that the problem of how white writers portray people from marginalized groups is when they set out with the intent, "I'm going to write a character who's [black:][latino:][gay:]etc" and start with that concept, rather than just writing people and letting the character's race, ethnicity, religion, background flow from the character. White writers often get it backward, and starting with the concept of writing a character who is X pretty much inherently means the character will be two-dimensional, because then the character rather than being a fully-realized human being becomes merely a receptacle for all of the writer's ideas about what X people are, good or bad.


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
Toni Morrison, in her last few books, has seemed to play with that idea by leaving the ethnicity of the characters as vague as possible. In our discussion here of A Mercy, there was one character about whom we were not altogether certain!

(By the way, all of our past discussions are still in the discussion folder, and if anyone wants to make a comment after the discussion month is over, please do! Some of us will be sure to respond.)


Rona (ronagirl9) | 104 comments Great point, Misha. I think that's EXACTLY what every writer should do with every character they write! I myself have started writing thinking 'I want this character to be a biracial woman of color blah blah blah' and then half-way through i realize that i need to throw that out because she's morphed into a gay Latino man or whatever. Character is character, and race is part but not all of a person's character!


message 19: by jo (last edited Jun 01, 2009 08:00PM) (new)

jo | 805 comments Mod
Wilhelmina wrote: "jo wrote: "richard price is priceless."
In spite of my intentions, I haven't gotten around to Richard Price yet, jo. Which book is your favorite?"


i like Clockers, Freedomland, and Lush Life equally, mina.




message 20: by Qiana (last edited Jun 03, 2009 06:55AM) (new)

Qiana | 189 comments You know who also writes black characters very well? Neil Gaiman. I haven't read all of his work and mostly know him through comics, but I thought the way he crafted black characters in American Gods and Anansi Boys felt effortless, confident, and convincing. I already wrote a bit about this is my reviews of these two texts, but I was really impressed with the way he developed individual voices and personalities apart from the easily recognizable cultural typecasting. While it is true that most of his characters are white, I don't feel like whiteness is "the norm" in his work. Even the few appearances by black characters in Gaiman's Sandman series are thoughtfully developed.


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
You're so right, Qiana! With Gaiman's wild characters, the LAST thing you think about is race! There's not a stereotype in the bunch!

A lot of the authors we have mentioned could be considered "genre" authors - SF, crime fiction, etc. - although they are such fine authors that they transcend labels. I'm willing to bet that the same would be true if we discussed TV shows - "The Wire" and "Homicide", for example. Is it easier to avoid stereotypes when working in a particular genre?

(Complete aside - "Homicide" is the only TV show I've ever seen where, when a black woman is awakened in the middle of the night, her hair is actually DOING that Black-woman-hair thing!)


Rona (ronagirl9) | 104 comments i don't think it's easier to avoid stereotypes in genre fiction, but i do think that SF and other genre writers are, by their nature, willing to push the envelope around what's acceptable as far as story-telling, and so are willing to create characters that don't fit society's stereotypes. the fact that that means they/we create more realistic characters is telling in and of itself!


William (be2lieve) | 557 comments Mod
I remember being compelled to read the book Pay It Forward just because it seemed wrong on so many levels...a book written by a White female author whose protagonist was a Black male Vietnam veteran whose character was played by white male actor Kevin Spacey in the movie version....its been a long time and my memory of the book is quite dim now but it must not have been totally egregious or that would have stuck with me.


message 24: by jo (new)

jo | 805 comments Mod
love this discussion about genre and cross-race representation. i agree with rona that stereotypes are present in every genre, and i think it's a good point you make, rona, that "SF and other genre writers are, by their nature, willing to push the envelope around what's acceptable as far as story-telling, and so are willing to create characters that don't fit society's stereotypes."

i can think of a couple of reasons why crime/mystery fiction (don't know anything about SF!) should lend itself to cross-race representations. one, off the top of my head, is the formulaic nature of genre fiction, which provides a palimpsest in which to insert characters without getting too deep into issues of culture, psychology etc. the second is that crime fiction has always played with race, often of course in racist ways, but since race was there from the start it sort of lent itself to elaborations, reversals, and other developments. its availability, in other words, might have made it easier for white authors to tackle it -- and do a better job with it.

the cops-and-criminals scene is a great one in which to explore issues of race and racism, because it's one of the areas of life in which people of various races meet and mingle (if you can call it that).

too bad, as always, that it's mostly white guys representing this mingling...


message 25: by Jackie (last edited Jun 04, 2009 09:55AM) (new)

Jackie | 49 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "And I found the boys in Run to be very similar to the friends of my nieces and nephew who grew up in the Boston area!

The books that I find most annoying are the ones that portray pe..."


That was my main issue with The Secret Life of Bees--"the Uber-Mammy, the black women who mother every poor lost white person who wanders by"!! You captured my sentiment exactly. However, my feelings changed a bit when I saw the movie version with Queen Latifah and other wonderful actors--I believe, the movie was produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

My parents just listened to Run on tape and recommended it. So I'm more curious since you've semi-endorsed it. (c;



Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
I couldn't make it out of the book store with "Bees". Jackie! I got offended just scanning through the book.


Jackie | 49 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "I couldn't make it out of the book store with "Bees". Jackie! I got offended just scanning through the book."

THANK you!! I was curious as to why so many prominent black actors embraced this story.

At the same time, as a trans-racial adopted person, I found the concept of people of color "adopting" a white child somewhat notable. In addition to the "Uber-Mommy" another prominent narrative is the person of color "rescued" by Western civilization. This commonly held belief can be insulting and dismissive to the culture and people of the originating country but also a total disregard for the children in our country who are not being properly cared for or embraced. The way Secret Life attempted to turn this on its head rang really false though!




Qiana | 189 comments I agree with you, Jackie. I'm the only black person I know who hasn't finished this book or seen the movie. I read a lot of things I don't like, but I just couldn't get through it....


Jackie | 49 comments Qiana wrote: "I agree with you, Jackie. I'm the only black person I know who hasn't finished this book or seen the movie. I read a lot of things I don't like, but I just couldn't get through it...."

Qiana, have you seen the hbo series "the wire?" it's written by 2 white men and I did not have a problem with it and I wondered why that didn't hit me the same way as secret life of bees. One caveat would be the portrayal of the mothers in season 4--but that's a whole different discussion.



William (be2lieve) | 557 comments Mod
I dunno..I think you guys are being a little harsh..I liked the book..haven't seen the movie..I like that the little white girls grown black woman friend had such a sense of self that when obstructed by the white mob she spit in the face and beat up the white man in her way..hardly an Aunt Jemina..escaped from jail and went on the lam with her, to ensure her own survival...Although one of the Bee sisters did do the unlikely and take her in the other sister clearly despised her and all she represented...The Bee sisters represented strong entrepeneurial sisters that ran a successful business owned their own quite grand home independent of men, mind you, and survived repeated attempts from society to undermine them...Could the story have been better told had a Black authored it and the protagonist been black instead of white...possibly. Could the Wire have been a better series had Blacks written it instead of Pelecanos and Price? Possibly. Could either of these projects reached as wide an audience if the switch took place..NEVER!


message 31: by Jackie (last edited Jun 05, 2009 05:12AM) (new)

Jackie | 49 comments William wrote: "I dunno..I think you guys are being a little harsh..I liked the book..haven't seen the movie..I like that the little white girls grown black woman friend had such a sense of self that when obstruct..."

Just to clarify, I LOVE "The Wire" and respect David Simon and Ed Burns for what they've accomplished. The writing is fantastic! The characters are beyond compelling! I just had a problem with the imbalance of the portrayal of "bad mothers" in Season 4 with no "good mothers" in sight. I think that was compounded by the fact that the season focused on 4 young boys rather than on girls--which would have developed empathy for the poor choices the mothers made. The kind of empathy we all had for Michael Lee, for example, was not available for the mothers as we were not given their back story. Was that a failure of the writers because they were white men? No. It was simply one of my very limited critiques of the series. Probably my only one and had nothing to do with the authors' racial identity, probably more to do with their gender. Which was my point in the earlier post. I had no problem with the race / ethnicity of the authors of the The Wire.

At the same time, I feel that the reality of a project's viability in the marketplace is completely separate from a conversation about whether racial stereotypes are perpetuated, even unwittingly, by white authors when they portray people of color. Obviously, you can make the case that white writers, producers, directors have a track record of getting more of their projects to market. However, to use that as an argument against an observation about whether a racial stereotype is depicted in a movie or book is not really relevant in my opinion.

You do raise some good points about the other sisters in The Secret Life of Bees. I did, appreciate the character portrayed by Alicia Keyes (I forgot the character's name) but I felt that her character might have bordered slightly on the stereotype of the angry black female. I think, more broadly, I felt that the 3 sisters, the "nanny" and the beekeeper existed in the book solely to serve the needs and heal the wounds of the white girl. Actually, that's probably a more accurate summary of what bothered me about the book. At the same time, I understand the author has communicated her good intentions and has real affection for the African American friends she has in real life. However, I'm not sure that causes any artist to be completely immune from legitimate examination of her work.



Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
I really don't think that "The Wire" would have been better written by a black person. It was right on the money as it was and certainly ethnicity is no guarantee of quality. I have no doubt that the author of "Bees" had good intentions, but there lies the problem. Those who have bad intentions are easy to dismiss; it's harder to encourage those writers with good intentions to carry their ideas into a good piece of writing with nonstereotypic, fully developed characters whose lives do not revolve, in one way or another, around white folks.


William (be2lieve) | 557 comments Mod
I certainly never said nor suggested that because white writers more often get their products to market they should be immune from examination. Some of the most egregious stereotypes are more likely to be found in the black authored neon bright covered "urban" lit books than in most of the books discussed so far in this thread. And while a book is usually the work of a single author, you are much less likely to see black charicatures in a production such as the "Wire" where a writers role is very limited. The Wire employed Black directors, drew local Black actors from the Wash DC, Baltimore area to ensure authenticity and employed many black technicians and stage hands.


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
Very true! The guys who did "The Wire" are, if I am correct, some of the same guys who did "The Corner" on HBO (which I did not watch) and, to some extent, "Homicide" on NBC which I loved. The willingness to use local people grew during the filming of "The Corner" because of issues raised by actor Charles Dutton. This was explored a while back in a series in the NYT, which later became the book How Race Is Lived in America Pulling Together, Pulling Apart. With books as well as film, one needs good people to raise the issues and good people to take the questions seriously.


Jackie | 49 comments Absolutely!! That is the reason why I respect the work of David Simon and Ed Burns. I believe they spent a year pretty much living with the family on which "The Corner" is based. In fact, 3 members of the family appear at the end of the HBO series based on their lives and one of the women appears from time to time in "The Wire." Amazing!! This is what authentic race relations looks like, for the most part generally, and can be reflected in an artist work, specifically. A genuine interest and time taken professionally, but more importantly personally in the lives of others, engenders understanding and conveys respect.

Also, does anyone have an opinion on "Memoirs of a Geisha" written by a Caucasian male?


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Hated "Memoirs of a Geisha."


message 37: by Wilhelmina (last edited Jun 08, 2009 07:48AM) (new)

Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
I didn't read the book because I strongly suspected that I wouldn't enjoy it, but I did see, and I disliked, the movie. The most glaring thing to me was that her extraordinary beauty was based on the fact that she had blue eyes. Good grief!


Sonya | 4 comments Hi everyone, I'm glad to be here (just joined the group). Love this discussion. (Mina, perhaps you remember we discussed this in CR group a couple of months back? I'd asked you if you knew of any white writers who portrayed black characters well)

I'm crazy for "The Wire" but often wonder why it's most popular with affluent, educated white people. It probably says more about me than anything having to do with the show that this would make me "suspicious"... but, any thoughts?

What I think makes "The Wire" so different from the stereotype-ridden shows or books is that there are SO MANY black characters-- and in a context that's not just about black people. There is every type (well, not every--but a great diversity) of person, in other words; which is of course the reality of any racial or ethnic group. You can imagine the joy/shock for a black actor who could show up to a casting call and see that there isn't just ONE role for a black person (and stereotyped) -- you could be the drug dealer who's "just a gangsta" (Avon) or the one set on breaking in to the business world (Stringer); you could be a corrupt yes-man cop (Burrell) or an upright principled one who's matured (Daniels); or a hard-working nurse whose recovering drug-addict brother is living in the basement, or the City Council President, or the city editor of The Sun papers, etc etc.

Has anyone read Dave Eggers' WHAT IS THE WHAT? I've heard good things about it, but have wondered about Eggers' portrayal of a black African protagonist.

[Note: I'm an Asian American woman writing a half-black half-white male protagonist. Wish me luck! I also teach fiction writing and am teaching a course this summer specifically on writing characters who are very different from oneself.]


Wilhelmina | 1558 comments Mod
I do remember, Sonya. It's great to have you here. Good luck with your writing!

I have a niece who went to LA to be an actress, but she kept showing up for auditions for characters identified as "slave girl #4", only to be told that she wasn't "Black enough". (Her mother is black, her father is black, her grandparents are black, her Aunt Mina is black, etc, etc.....)


Sonya | 4 comments Thank you, Mina. RUN is still on my reading list, by the way.

And good luck to your niece -- that's such a tough industry to be in, my Asian American actor friends have similarly absurd stories to tell.


Andre The producers and directors of the Wire were constantly directed by the extras and real folks it was based on. Keep in mind, most of the characters are based on real people, and one the creators was a reporter so effectively capturing the dialogue and characters was easy.

This topic is fascinating, but the answer is simple. I have a hard time writing women in my novels, so I always get INPUT from women about my work. I think white authors writing people of color need to consider doing that more.




message 42: by [deleted user] (new)


Has anyone read Dave Eggers' WHAT IS THE WHAT? I've heard good things about it, but have wondered about Eggers' portrayal of a black African protagonist.

HATED it. Eggers is a pompous dick.



Mary Anne | 4 comments I have read What Is the What. I have mixed feelings about it. When I thought I was hearing Eggers' voice, I did not like the book. But as a story about how we Americans tend to treat immigrants, irrespective of race, rang true to me.


Sonya | 4 comments A student of mine, who is Asian Indian, recently expressed an interesting sentiment about the reverse of this question, i.e. writing white characters:

"I grew uncomfortable with how I was approaching the development of John's character in the rewrites. I wrote the story in 2007. And during the course of the 2008 election I just had this conflict in how we talk about lives in rural America. The interest in John Edwards as Son of a Mill-Worker and also the stories of "Joe The Plumber", and Palin as Hockey Mom, and So-and-So The (Insert Blue Collar Job)...All of those examples were narratives framed artificially (like a short story writer) that were intended to project a kind of built-in sympathy.  It made me really self-conscious, and even uncomfortable, with writing the stories I was interested in that involved Caucasian characters (particularly my older stories, pre-2008). The core questions for me: am I patronizing people with how I write these characters? Am I being dishonest?"



William (be2lieve) | 557 comments Mod
A bit of a tangent here but since the discussion has included other than just print media in its thread I forge ahead...I was watching the immensely entertaining DVD, "Racheal Getting Married", last night and while I appreciated that 50 percent or more of the cast was composed of people of color and that not one but 2 interracial marriages were featured and that there was not a single deranged, promiscuous, or criminal Af-Am character amoung them there was a slightly off note. Then it occured to me that while I love to see successful Black characters, the setting is tony Greenwich/Stamford Ct., I don't neccessarily appreciate them having to become White to do so. I cannot recall one single mention of the obvious differences in color and culture during the entire movie. Except for a few extra gyrations from the Black half of the wedding party at the reception while the band played And the Black grand mother invoking God and heaven in her toast, you'de think they were all cookie cutter clones..is this post racial America? I find it quite disconcerting...Wikipedia note: the screenplay was written by Jenny Lumet, granddaughter of Lena Horne...But leave it to Mcdonalds to put things in perspective...they have an advertisement featuring a young Black woman sucking vigorously(Freud anyone?) on a new coffee drink while three buffed psuedo Swedish white guys rub her neck and shoulders. When I see a young blond coed type doing the same thing with three Black NFL players in the back seat giving her a rub down, then I will truly believe in a post racial America!


message 46: by Jackie (last edited Jun 18, 2009 10:13AM) (new)

Jackie | 49 comments William wrote: "A bit of a tangent here but since the discussion has included other than just print media in its thread I forge ahead...I was watching the immensely entertaining DVD, "Racheal Getting Married", las..."

William, I'm glad that you mentioned "Rachael Getting Married" because I certainly felt that the wedding guests and party seemed an idealized portrayal of "post racial America." I'm uncomfortable with this term (as I sense you might be also but I certainly do not want to assume too much) because it feels like another word for "colorblind" which is very offensive. I'm not sure if that's what is implied in its use, but it feels sort of bland or better yet, "way too happy" in a smug way. I'm really curious about your take on this term.

I'm going to bring up a "Wire" reference again, but if you caught Tristan Wilds (Season 4 of "The Wire") in an interracial relationship on his new show "90210" I wonder if you found that the handling of that relationship to be very "interesting" in my opinion. I mean to say that they were careful to have his Caucasian girlfriend be the one to ask him out, offer to take the relationship to "the next level" and pretty much be the one who ultimately muddies the relationship. Tristan's character is "the perfect boyfriend" in every respect. hmmm . . . curious.

On the topic of "Memoirs of a Geisha" which I brought up earlier--I realized I never offered my opinion, I was very aware and uncomfortable with the author not being Japanese, but in fact Caucasian. I found the plot to be page-turning and did not have as visceral reaction to the material as "The Secret Life of Bees" but the ending felt trite. I don't know if that has anything to do with the racial identity of the author. So my review of the book is mixed. I was just curious about what others thought as the story did not have one Caucasian character in it--that I can recall.


William (be2lieve) | 557 comments Mod
Jackie my "post racial" comments were offered up with tongue planted firmly in cheek...the term is ludicris...can't offer any insight into 90210..always figured I might go blind or suffer a stroke if I watched it.


Jackie | 49 comments William wrote: "Jackie my "post racial" comments were offered up with tongue planted firmly in cheek...the term is ludicris...can't offer any insight into 90210..always figured I might go blind or suffer a stroke ..."

I agree with your assessment of the term. I'm happy whenever i see wire alum working, but you're probably saving yourself a visit to your health provider by avoiding 90210. At the same time it's interesting to see how the tv writers are treating this interracial relationship even in the context of a show that is beneath your viewing habits.



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Books mentioned in this topic

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (other topics)
Run (other topics)
A Free Man of Color (other topics)
Taft (other topics)
A Mercy (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

George Pelecanos (other topics)
Tayari Jones (other topics)
Barbara Hambly (other topics)
Alexander McCall Smith (other topics)
Ann Patchett (other topics)
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