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Fringe Fiction General Chat > Racism in Books

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1720 comments I'm not talking where the author's views are racists and bleeds (or doesn't bleed) into the writing. I mean where a character(s) is racist and such, how much is too much. Does too much even exist for it? I try not to hold back on my writing, but I'm trying for real characters instead of the usual barrage of detail.
So in short, would an overload of racism turn the reader off? Or (in this world where any little thing is nitpicked at because it goes against their opinions and such) would it reflect badly on the author?


message 2: by Kim (new)

Kim Faulks (kim_faulks) | 2 comments I think as long as it is the character expressing this by words or actions then it is fine. As writers we have to be true to the characters and if this character is a racists then so be it.


message 3: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Are you asking if there's such thing as too much fiction? ;)

As long as you're true to the characters, everything else be damned.

If you have a racist character, then that's what you write. It's always easier to cut than it is to add. So I recommend, go ahead and write your racist character (s) with as much detail as you want. You can always trim the fat later.


message 4: by Michael (last edited May 08, 2014 06:16PM) (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1720 comments That is true, and always what I aim to do. I'm just a tad bit uncertain since racism is q bit of a touchy subject to some.

Also very true Lily!


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer McDonald (JenMcDonald) | 162 comments Think of all the great books like mockingbird, a time to kill, and the help. If certain characters weren't overtly racist the stories wouldn't have been as thought provoking or interesting.
Great thread btw.


message 6: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Jennifer, I second that!

Here's another good example. In the Heat of the Night. Think about it.


message 7: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1890 comments Mod
If you're going "rule of drama" route then whatever it takes to make people boo/hiss. If you're going for realism, less is more because I think people are more quiet/oblivious of how racist they sound. Like it's disappointing when the protagonists are layered only to have antagonists serve no purpose but be an easy target for safe resentment. Done right - it's a social ill. Done wrong - cheap conflict that could have been substituted for a more engrossing topic.


message 8: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1720 comments I like your point Jemnifer!

Did not think that deeply on it Courtney. Will have to put some thought into that


message 9: by Petronius (last edited May 09, 2014 12:46AM) (new)

Petronius Jablonski | 4 comments Consider Faulkner and McCarthy. Scathing hatreds are described for what they are: a primal force no less objective than gravity, described with the same matter-of-factness as any other feature of our world.

A writer can't avoid describing tribalism in some shape or other. It's as characteristic of our species as walking upright, its manifestations running the gamut from tasteless jokes to massacres. If it's intrinsic to our nature we are beyond tragic, doomed to perpetual conflict from primal forces.

I wish more writers explored this question. If tribalism is hard-wired why do we yearn to rise above it and often succeed? What are we reaching toward, the cold light of Reason or something more primal.


message 10: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn Courtney wrote: "If you're going "rule of drama" route then whatever it takes to make people boo/hiss. If you're going for realism, less is more because I think people are more quiet/oblivious of how racist they so..."

Agree


message 11: by Jojobean (new)

Jojobean I think if an author makes a character racist then they have to do it all the way and not be afraid to make their character do things that real people do/have done


message 12: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Rand Petronius wrote: "I wish more writers explored this question. If tribalism is hard-wired why do we yearn to rise above it and often succeed? What are we reaching toward, the cold light of Reason or something more primal. "

Some authors really shouldn't, though. I can't help but think of The Color of Law. I was a book that drew from To Kill a Mockingbird and tried to confront racism but managed to be quite racist in it's own right.


message 13: by Tiger (new)

Tiger Gray (tiger_gray) | 291 comments Michael wrote: "I'm not talking where the author's views are racists and bleeds (or doesn't bleed) into the writing. I mean where a character(s) is racist and such, how much is too much. Does too much even exist f..."

You can do whatever you want. However, I feel that you can ask someone to read about a racist, but don't ask them to agree with a racist. That is, the trait should probably not be presented as positive or a non-issue, especially if it's positive and/or a non-issue no matter the scenario.

This is one of my problems with Anita Blake, for example. Not only is she objectively horrible, the author wants me to believe that she's a woman of high moral fiber contrary to everything I've read about her.


message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1720 comments can't believe I missed all these replies, thank you!

the character in mind is someone who has pretty much grown happy in his life. due to certain events, however he spirals back into his old self. it won't be in a positive light, however I will be trying to make the readers understand why he's doing it, but not so much agree with him.
I really do like all these replies though :)


message 15: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Sounds interesting. Keep us posted!


message 16: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1720 comments shall do, for now though i'm working on the romance version of When Angels Fail. Trying to perfect everything before I go on to Vol 2. haha
I do got all my notes, dialogue, excerpts, all that for my racist character. revisiting this thread and watching American Psycho in full has got me inspired..


message 17: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Heh, good choices ;)


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