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message 1: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments I've got this up on my blog. What do y'all think about heroes who were once racist, or have some misgivings about race?

message 2: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (halfpint66) | 221 comments Never read anything like that before.

message 3: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments It would depend very much on the content of the story. People can change and if written well enough, it can be pulled off.

Interesting, because in my book there is a relationship that takes place between two minor characters who are from two different races. The guy tells what led him to be attracted to her and how he had a change of heart. It will be interesting how people take it.


message 4: by Nana (new)

Nana Malone (nanamalone) | 31 comments Wow, I've never read anything like that before. It would be interesting certainly. It would be a serious challenge for the author to show hero motivation and change of heart and growth. But what a good path for hero redemption.

And the heroine would have to be done carefully as well. That's a hard thing to get over, someone being a racist.

message 5: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Fiction or otherwise I couldn't consider anyone who was once racist a hero. But I think unless the author does a darn good job with character development there is no way someone is gonna buy an ex-racist falling in love with a minority. I mean you can't just write a book like this in 20 pages and expect it to seem realistic. You can't change someone around completely and think the audience is gonna be satisfied, no.

What would be hard convincing me of is a minority woman falling for a man who used to be a racist. A lot of women wouldn't wanna get involved with someone like that because you always wonder if they really changed or what.

Also I am on the fence with people who say they are changed racists. If you hated groups of people for the color of their skin and that's imbedded in you and apart of you, how do you really change that? I mean that's changing who you are. I have seen some folks say they have changed but I think it has to be shown with action and not words. I mean people say everyone can change but racists are built on hate to the point where they wanna kill folks for being who they are. How can you so easily change that? It would take a while so if someone wanted to write a book like this, they can't just make it no Happily Ever After romance because that won't work. These people cannot get together and have no problems.

For it to be a realistic story it needs to show realism and the situation needs to be drawn out and the character development better be fierce because if an author has a man racist on page 1-20, then meets a minority woman on page 25 and all a sudden he is so taken by her he is not racist, oh people will be throwing that book on the floor. LOL!

Why? Because this is the type of story that cannot be brushed over and him being a racist can not just be used as a plot device. It has to be a major thing in the story and people need to see his change so they can believe it. Then we need to see the heroine go through a change as well and see some convincing reasons as to why this woman would date an ex-racist. It can't just be that she's some forgiving woman who fell hard. Especially if she is a black woman cause that would not roll with a black chick.

Just because a black woman dates out of her race does not mean she would trust a man who is an ex-racist. So this type of book needs to be done well and not just using the "racist" thing as a different angle. That won't cut it.

Would I read it? If it's well-written, realistically written and has super character development that makes me believe an ex-racist and a minority woman could fall in love, sure. If not, nope. I would just think the author is using the ex-racist as a device.

And I'd be pissed off if the woman is written as some idiot that fell for an ex-racist and she had no issues with how he was in the past. Oh that would really pee me off. LOL!

My 2 cents. LOL!

message 6: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Have you guys heard of Nero Ned with Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union?

He was a "racist" skinhead that fell for her. But the kicker was, Ned really wasn't racist. He was just some dork who latched onto the skinhead group in his local community to feel like he belonged somewhere.

The filmmakers and writers did a good job because it was easy to tell that Ned really wasn't racist just trying to be. So when he fell for Union, you could buy it. You could see it because we knew deep down Ned was not a racist. So the character development did the job.

But if Ned had been some KKK guy who we KNEW hated minorities and had spent his time on earth (no matter how young or old he is), torturing minorities and killing them, then you turn him around to where he is not racist and have him falling for a black chick in two hours. NO...WAY.

Now can the KKK Ned be convincing as a man who changed? Sure if the author does a good job of making us believe it. It's the author's job to do this. And it can't happen in two weeks or six months, no. It better be over a course of some years to where we are convinced Ned really changed.

But if we see Ned struggling with his family's involvement with the KKK or we see in the beginning that he is going against racism, things are more believable. So it might be easier starting a story with the guy having these feelings of changing and he can be having them for a while.

But an author shouldn't start the story off with him being ex-racist. That's a cop out and too easy. No, SHOW me he changed or at least he is going through the process he went through. I wanna see the hard work. LOL! I wanna see the author get in there deep and try to convince me.

message 7: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments Well in Ironic, dude really was a racist, but he was blinded in an accident and doesn't kniw that the woman who saved him was black. Then she finds out about his background, and leaves him.

If I had written it, he would've been undercover in one of those skonhead groups. Of course, that's a cheat. But she had him fall in love with someone he didn't know was black.

message 8: by Nana (new)

Nana Malone (nanamalone) | 31 comments I mean there's just no clean way to do it without alienating your female reader if it's a bw. Or to cheat and have him be undercover or whatnot. I'm sure someone can pull it off and really have it be a loved story, but given that there is a limited time to hook the reader, it's a tough sell.

message 9: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments See everyone feels pretty much the way I do. I wish I knew the author. I'd be interested to see what type feedback she got from that story. I'm gigling at the notion of even trying to pitch it to an editor. Of course, it came from Genesis. I'm pretty sure the concept would send a white editorvrunning into the night.

It's funny, Crystal Hubbard challenged me to write a male stripper hero, and the other day she finally conceded thatvitvcannot be done. One author had a male prostitute hero, but it was a historical and he was left at a bordello as a baby. Either of those themes seem easier.

What if the hero was raised by racist parents, but saw the light once he got away from them?

message 10: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Feb 29, 2012 03:18PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) I think it could be done but not in a very short story. I think we'd need to see this change. I think the genre matters. If it were contemporary, Women's Fiction or something like that, the story can be drawn out in a good amount of time. But I couldn't buy it in a short romance that's neatly written just to put the two together. No. It just wouldn't be believable.

But I gotta say I don't think many IR readers or black women would wanna read it. I mean the thing in my head would be, "Why in the heck would this woman want a man who was a racist?" That's what would go in my head over and over and I just can't believe a black woman would.

Not saying it's impossible, just that a BW falling for a man who was racist would be harder for me to believe than a man claiming he is no longer a racist.

I also think most authors would cheat just to make the romance work and I don't go for that. LOL!

message 11: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Feb 29, 2012 03:17PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Ros said:

What if the hero was raised by racist parents, but saw the light once he got away from them?

If the author can come up with something that would convince the audience of the reason he wants to change, sure it could work. But the key again is can the author make the audience believe it?

I would be more inclined to believe the guy changed in this scenario if he were like a teen or early 20's. There's room for him to change and grow but it's hard to get someone who is a racist at 30, 40, etc to change so a younger guy would be more believable. At a certain age, the way you are is usually just the way you are gonna be.

So for the young guy it could be that he had racist parents and was sheltered but went away to school or moved to a place where he was exposed to different people and could see for himself how they were. That could work but would that mean he'd no longer be racist? Not necessarily. He might like the black guy that works with him but still racist toward him or the ideas of blacks. See what I mean? It would have to be developed to show he is changing. You'd have to do something that really would change him and convince the audience at the same time.

I think it would be better if the person's FAMILY had a racist background and he didn't. That could be interesting because we could see why he isn't like his parents and could also believe he'd fall for a minority woman.

Some people don't turn out racist just because they are raised with racist parents but most do because it's been instilled in them at birth. You also have racists with non-racist parents who grow up to be racist on their own.

Racism is ignorance and unfortunately it's the strongest kind.

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1211 comments I am going to be the lone voice in the ether who says YES, bring it on! With the caveat that by the end of the book I'm utterly and thoroughly convinced the formerly racist hero has well and truly changed. I agreee that the most plausible scenario is a teenaged boy who falls into a group of skinheads, then flash forward to having left that past behind.

However, I did read The Woman from Cheshire Avenue which dealt pretty realistically with this theme. WARNING: If you're into HEA's, skip this one.

My review:

message 13: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1383 comments I think in order for one to buy the premise the author would have to either be very talented and persuasive in their storytelling or there would need to be nuances in the form of racism the hero professes to have had.

For instance, how long ago was he a racist? Was it when he was younger? A teenaged punk maybe hanging out with other losers? Is it something he really believed or a sentiment he was just parroting out of ignorance, not really understanding why he believed the way he did?

It would also matter how the author crafts the story. For instance does she introduce you the hero, make you like him and then over the course of the story reveal his past? Having met and already liked him are you more inclined to understand his change of heart or feel betrayed by the story? Do we get to see process through which he came to understand his beliefs he was wrong? Does it feel authentic?

I think there are ways to sell such a story. But I do feel it relies on the talent of the author.

message 15: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments There are different degrees of racism. Many people aren't as racist as they think. Technically, I grew up racist against white people because you were pretty much expected to choose a "side." Even though I attended "mixed" schools, they were very much segregated. If you hung out with whites, you were called an oreo and alienated by the blacks. At the end of the day, you still had to go home. At 16, I decided I was tired of the b.s. I never hated white people, I was just indifferent to them, but I knew black people who hated them and would talk about them, but one of these guys upped and got a white girlfriend. Uh. . .

I focus more on the "indifference" issue, or the "out of sight, out of mind." You have plenty of people who just aren't around that particular race and all they know are the negative stereotypes. When they finally meet them and talk to them, they're opened up to a whole new world. That's what happened to me when I allowed myself to hang around other races.

If you're talking a stone cold "racist" who hates blacks because they don't know anything else, hasn't been exposed to anything different, then it will be hard. However, if you take them from their environment and they are forced to be around that other person, it's possible for them to have a change of heart. One of the perfect examples of this is the movie "Enemy Mine" with Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr. They weren't lovers, but they had been taught to hate one another, but were forced to rely on each other. You don't have just the race issue, you have the nationality issue, as well, two people at war.


message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I agree with what has been said. My basic thoughts:

1. It would take careful characterization and in depth storytelling. Not a short book.

2. Depends on the type of racist. Chaeya hit on it very well. There are many people who are racist out of ignorance. I've met a lot. I live in Texas, and I went to a major university that got students from every small town in the middle of nowhere in Texas where they never saw a black person. I met some stone-cold racists and then I met casual racists who were brainwashed by their family and their community. I could see the latter more easily. I was never attracted to these kinds of guys for the reasons of how I was treated by these kinds of folks. So I don't see it very easily in a book, to be honest. On the other hand, I think that people's hearts can be changed. Sometimes it takes supernatural intervention, but it can happen. Would I date a person who was in the KKK (not because of his parents raising him that way but willingly)? No. So this book would be a hard sell for me.

3. Black people can be just as racist. How many books have we read where the heroine was borderline racist but the white man convinced her that he was the woman for her? Why not the white hero? I don't particularly like this IRR trope very much honestly, but it's quite common on the flip side. Again, it takes a lot to get past that because many Black Americans have very ingrained, visceral reactions to racism. How many of you around my age or older who watched Roots disliked Chuck Connors and Vic Morrow for years because of their roles in that mini-series? I'm raising my hand. On the other hand, what about the handsome 'gentle' plantation owner who falls in love with his slave like Tim Daly in Queen? By nature, slavery is a racist institution, but we might be more kindly disposed to the latter character because he's loving with his slave lover. Not necessarily, but possibly.

4. Like Vixenne, I think it would be an interesting twist and make for intriguing reading. I never watched it, but I have heard Ed Norton was very riveting in American History X, and maybe even a bit attractive after he realizes how wrong racism is. Think of a hero like that in a romance book. Maybe it would work, with good writing.

5. Don't we read across the tracks romances where there is a cultural/socioeconomic divide between the H/h. I hate cultural snobbery, so I have strong reaction to a judgmental H/h who initially thinks their counterpart is beneath them. I don't think there is a very large stretch between this an a somewhat racist hero, at least in theory. I realize that is debatable.

6. Lastly, I think it depends on the reader's comfort zones, personal issues, and their tolerance of edgy subject matter. For readers who confront racism every day, they probably won't go for that kind of story. For others who grew up in more multi-cultural racially open environments, they might embrace this more easily.

From what I understand, the hero in Ironic by Pamela Leigh Starr (I couldn't get the book link to come up) is somewhat racist initially. I have it in the pile, so I'd have to get back to you on how well she went over.

message 17: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Feb 29, 2012 11:43PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Danielle,

Good points. About Tim Daly and Queen, I can't remember but she was passing for a white woman remember? Didn't he fall in love with her thinking she was white in the first place? Correct me if I am wrong. LOL! That movie came out when I was in high school. I only saw it once so I don't remember much except Halle Berry was in it. But if he fell in love with her during her passing, well that's a big difference because he thought she was white. Would he have wanted her if he knew she were black in the beginning? That's the question.

Besides that, even if Tim Daly was a slave owner it doesn't mean he was racist. You had a lot of slave owners who didn't hate slaves but followed the law despite if they didn't agree with it. So I think the "gentle plantation owner" works and is believable because he is not racist like his peers. I know everyone knows this, I am just saying. LOL!

The same with Mandingo (I loved that movie) Perry King fell deeply in love with a black slave woman and he cherished her. It was believable because his father (James Mason) was a racist tyrant but Perry did not fully agree with how he treated the slaves. He didn't hate them the way other whites around him did. That's why it was believable that he could fall for a black woman. He was not racist like the others. He did his best to treat his slaves with dignity so this is a character we could believe would be with a black woman despite being a slave owner.

I could buy a gentle slave owner who loved a black woman before I could a KKK man who cuts off the heads of little black kids when he goes out at night then turns around and claims he's changed. That I couldn't buy, just could not see what minority woman would wanna be with someone like that.

message 18: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Also as someone mentioned, the levels of racism. There is a difference between being racist and prejudice. Being prejudice is that you hold certain ideas that might be based on stereotypes or how you were raised. But you don't have to be racist. Racism is when you hate people because of their race.

For example, some people might be considered prejudice if someone asked them their thoughts about people who live in the Middle East. Say the person has never been or known someone from the Middle East so all they know is what they see and hear which is how they are portrayed to that person. But that is not racism just because someone thinks a certain way about someone they haven't been exposed to. The person might have prejudice thoughts and ideas but they don't necessarily hate someone.

Now, if someone hated all people from the middle east because of who they are or were raised to hate them, that's racism. But just because you have ignorant ideas does not mean you are racist. Most of us have ideas of other races or people we are not familiar with. It's natural. If you're not around certain people, you only base your thoughts on what you know or see. What is familiar to you. That comes from what we are taught, television, everything else. So naturally stereotypes get imbedded in us and this does not make anyone racist as we all know.

The key to racism is not necessarily ignorance but the hate racists hold. When you hate someone for their race, that's a racist.

And like I said, it would take a lot for a writer to convince me that a minority woman would wanna be with an ex-racist. I can see if the "hero" hid it from the heroine at first then told her he used to be a racist but that's a cop-out and would cheat the audience.

message 19: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Also about being prejudice, it's different from racism because it doesn't ever have to deal with the subject of race. People can be prejudice or have prejudice opinions about people based on different things. Some people have a prejudice against fat people. Some have a prejudice against women. Some have a prejudice against gays and on and on.

But racism deals strictly with race and hate. And it would take a lot to stop someone from hating.

message 20: by Karen (new)

Karen Scott (karenknowsbest) | 26 comments I agree about the distinction between being prejudiced and being racist. I honestly don't believe that racists can change. If you've spent most of your life hating people on the basis of the colour of their skin, how can a change be wrought overnight? I don't buy it.

I'm of the belief that once a racist, always a racist. And any former racists who now say they're reformed characters who love all people are just lying. Or they want early release from jail...

message 21: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments Norton was awesome in American History X, unfortunately the movie didn't receive the type support it might have otherwise because the director had some type of breakdown. It wound up with an Alan Smithee credit because Norton edited it himself. I do think a racist can change, my question is how do you come to believe in the change? I wish I could remember the Oprah show with the former skinhead who married a black woman. I think they had a book as well, but I really don't remember.

I think the class thing is different. I don't think the hatred there rises to the level of racism. Snobbery is real and can be painful, but when was the last time you heard of someone being dragged to their death because they live in a trailer park?

message 22: by Delaney (new)

Delaney Diamond (delaney_diamond) What Chaeya said...and I'll add that I do believe racists can change.

I once read an article about a former skinhead going through the painful process of having all the hateful tattoos removed from his body. The skinhead admitted he'd done a lot of bad, violent things, and he was ashamed of his past behavior. He, his wife, and kids were in hiding because of threats to their life.

Some of these people are indoctrinated from the time they're young to hate. When they're older and can think for themselves--or they experience some event that changes their minds, they do want to get out.

According to the article, there are organizations that help former racists break free and start their lives over.

It's been a long time since I've seen American X. I do remember it was hard to watch, but I liked the transformation that took place in Norton's character.

I would definitely read a book with a former racist hero. I'd want to read it just because it was different, but I would need an HEA. I couldn't read something like that without closure.

message 23: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Mar 01, 2012 09:03AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Stacy-Deanne, regarding Queen, Tim Daly was Queen's father. He slept with her mother, who was played by Jasmine Guy.

I have to disagree with you about slave owners not necessarily being racist. If you own a person because you believe they are inferior because of their skin color, that's racism to me.

I can see your point about prejudice being different from racism, but I have experienced both, and yes there are racists who aren't filled with hate per se, they are just indoctrinated. To me, it's different from prejudice. Prejudice is someone who doesn't know any better and has no personal experience to counteract wrong perceptions about people of different races. There are some racists who know better but still hold on to racist ideas, even though they wouldn't necessarily kill a black person. I have experienced both.

I do believe that socioeconomic prejudice can lead to violent attacks and social injustice on people. Look at what happened to the Irish both in Ireland and here in the US. Irish are as white as British/English people, but because they spoke Gaelic and were economically disadvantaged, and Catholic, they were considered less than human and essentially treated the same way a person of a different race might have been treated. During the mid to late 19th century, during the time of mass immigration from Ireland due to the Potato Famine Irish were treated as second-class citizens in much the same way that Blacks have been treated (except they weren't nominally slaves). They put signs in the windows of shops that said, "Irish Need Not Apply." There was actually a lot of Irish/black intermarrying because they were considered on the same social strata for a time. How about the Jews in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s? They weren't a different race than Non-Jews. They were discriminated against because of their religious background, and subjected to mass extermination. Also the Romany people, who technically are also white. So there is plenty of cultural/socioeconomic injustice going on.

Various examples of cross-cultural feuds that have been very good fodder for romantic stories.

message 24: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments Jews are considered by many, including some Jews as a different race. The history of the Irish is a bit more complex. The violence there is more economic than anything. And slave owners didn't necessarily own blacks because they thought they were subhuman. They owned slaves because it was in their economic interest to do so. You have to remember that organizations like the Klan didn't exopist before slavery. Much of the hatred of blacks came about because they were humiliated and chose to blame their loss of wealth on blacks.

message 25: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Mar 01, 2012 10:00AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Many European Jews are/were white by race/genetics. Hair as blond and eyes as blue, and the only difference being is that they ancestors were Jews.

The institution of slavery was allowed to persist due to racism. It is definitely an economic issue, but it was very easy to allow slavery to continue if you could dehumanize someone by using their skin color and facial features to say that they weren't worthy of freedom and the same rights as whites because those things made them animalistic, stupid, and immoral.

I won't dispute you on the KKK.

message 26: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments Of course they looked white, but most Jews will quickly tell you they're not white. As for slavery and racism that's a chicken nd egg argument. Racism and white supremacy were created to rationalize slavery, that doesn't mean all, or even most slave owners believed it. If you read people likebJefferson you'll see how schizophrenically they had to contort their minds around the issue. And really, this is even MORE horrific. If they continued slavey because they believed blacks were inferor, that can be dismissed as ignorance, much like flat earthers or phrenology. But if they knew better and still did ut ipout of sheer greed, that's evil as hell.

message 27: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Mar 01, 2012 11:36AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Danielle,

Thanks for the Queen reference. LOL! I had forgotten. It's been years.

About the slave owner thing I respect you disagreeing but I respectively disagree with you respectively disagreeing with me. ROFL!

The reason I say that about the slave owners is that of course it was wrong to have slaves, but it was the law. I think some slave owners took advantage of that law and weren't necessarily as hateful or racist as some owners were. I do believe the majority of them were but we must remember that having slaves was unfortunately allowed in the law so I do think they were wrong for not standing up if they were the ones not very racist and fighting for slaves but there was just so much against that back then.

But either way owning slaves is horrible.

message 28: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Mar 01, 2012 11:38AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Great discussion, Ros! LOL! Thanks for starting it.

I wanna share something about myself concerning my own prejudices in the past. Now,

I know a lot of black people who do not like Asians because they feel all Asians are racist towards blacks. A lot of blacks have also had bad experiences with Asians because they say Asians assume all blacks steal, etc. I have had bad experiences with Asians and I will admit, back in the day it did make me not like them as a whole. I admit that was wrong but I am also being honest.

I have gone into hair shops run by Asians and been followed around because they assumed I would steal. I have been hurried up at the counter by the Asian man because he felt threatened. I have had Asian workers watch me out of the corner of their eyes to make sure I don't pick nothing up off the shelf. I have had Asians at the counter stare at me like I was crazy for coming into their store.

So after getting that treatment from a lot of different Asian businesses (for a while), I stopped shopping in them. I said, "Why give someone my money if they don't want me in their store?"

So then I learned from other blacks that they had the same treatment in Asian stores. So I went for a long time having a very negative opinion of Asians. Yes I know that was wrong, but that's how I felt. How I had been treated outweighed giving the benefit of the doubt. I was hurt and it upset me that they didn't care enough to see that just because I was black, I wasn't like the man coming in the store at 2 in the morning or 4 in the morning to rob. I was there to do business with them. But they saw color first.

Then as I got older I realized how I felt toward Asians was the wrong way to be. I was doing the same thing to them (assuming they were all racist), that they had done to me (assuming all blacks stole or robbed). So that's when I woke up and realized I can't be that way. That was a few years back.

Now, more and more Asian shops started popping up into my neighborhood and you know what, these Asians that are working in these stores around here now are the nicest people you'd ever wanna meet. They don't follow you around, they don't treat you different. And with that I really realized how wrong I had been.

I let the racist Asians dictate how I treated other Asians or how I felt about Asians and I was wrong and I admit that. But you know what, it was a lesson I learned. And it was weird to learn a lesson from something bad that happened to me but I am glad I did. I think we all go through lessons when it comes to race. No one is perfect.

Now am I gonna lie and say I don't have stereotypical views of some races? No. I won't lie. I do because there are some races I am not exposed to personally and only see reference to them on television, etc. But the difference between me having views that might lean on stereotype and being racist is that I don't hate anyone. See I never hated Asians. I was just upset at how a lot of them had treated me and blacks in general.

Anyone else have a revelation like this? I gotta tell you most of the blacks I know hate Asians. I mean they will say they HATE them because of how they are treated in their stores.

What I don't get is, for the racist Asians, why do they open up stores in the black neighborhoods in the first place if they don't want you in there? I never understood that. LOL!

message 29: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) And the funny thing is I have Asians in my family. But still I let the racist ones dictate my feelings the most. I shouldn't have given them that power.

message 30: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments Yes, there are some Asians who are very racist; they come over here and pretty much want to turn this into a better version of their country - meaning, they don't want to deal or associate with anyone other than their own people. However, I pop my little butt right over to Vietnameseville and buy my spices, herbs and fish. They treat me rather well at my favorite grocery store.

Here's the issues with the stores. In the 70s and 80s, most new communities started tract housing built around more of a neighborhood shopping center, rather than your little neighborhood markets. Many older communities were taken over by blacks and other minorities, and when Asians wanted to set up shop, they either had the choice of buying something in their own communities (more competition) or going to the other communities with the minorities (less competition and cheaper). When I lived in South Central, I watched these people get robbed and bullied by not just gangs, but just the neighborhood troublemakers and badasses in general. So you can understand how they could just stop liking black people in general. You have teenage mothers coming in with their kids making a mess and then get mad at the shopkeeper when he tells them to mind their kid. I've seen this with my own eyes. I've been embarrassed for my own people watching this mess.

When I was a kid, we had a neighborhood store manned by a real nice white lady named Alice. It was Alice's store. For a few years, we would always stop by there and buy candy on our way to school. When all the Section 8 black people moved in, that's when the robberies started and one time she was robbed at gunpoint and she said screw it and the store became abandoned. All the original residents in the neighborhood were angry and they started a Neighborhood Watch in hopes to combat the problem, but slowly all the shops in the area just went down and where I lived became just one kick above being the ghetto. We grew up middle class, as did all of the black people in my neighborhood who were two-parent families, fathers worked, moms stayed home with the kids - we did all the things white people did, just didn't get credit for it. Then we got that lower class element that brings everybody down. It's bad enough you have the media that keeps flounting that blacks are from the ghetto, single parents and so on. I'm sure Asians see this and hear from others what we're like and they come over already prepared to hate. But that's a whole nother subject. It's really ridiculous a lot of the stuff I went through.

But my spirit guides have a way of backhanding me once in a while. One day, I saw this white guy walking down the street. He had a shaved head and tattos and the first thought entered my mind was he was probably racist and a skinhead. He passed by me, smiled, and very friendly-like said "how you doing." And I could almost hear a voice going "now don't you feel stupid?" At least my invisible friends like to teach me lessons. I no longer judge based on what my eyes show me.

On the slavery issue, don't forget too about the KKK, it wasn't just that they blamed blacks for losing the war and your general racism, blacks were also competing with the lower class whites, Irish and other immigrants for jobs. This spurred riots, even in Northern cities when blacks started to migrate up there.

Great discussion.

message 31: by Shiree (last edited Mar 01, 2012 05:27PM) (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments Roslyn wrote: "I've got this up on my blog. What do y'all think about heroes who were once racist, or have some misgivings about race?"

I don't see where it would be too difficult a thing to happen because love I believe happens through interaction with a person. So there is immediate attraction and that would be the only thing that couldn't be used in this situation because a skin head wouldn't immediately find a woman of color physically attractive.

So lets use what I call "attraction by interaction" for exmple this skin head is not ignorant just think there is a need to change the world say he's became this way at a young age because his parents owned a store that was robbed and killed by Black gang memebers. Can't say it's stereotypical when it happens in the real life somewhere every day to someone or it wouldn't be a consistant senario on America most Wanted. Say they never found his parents killer and so he just hate all black people in general because even those who had witnessed it refused to testify. So he created this extension of a group to clean up his family neighbor hood of Blacks but in a legal way. He's a racist skin head that has a law degree.

How his perceptions change is by one woman that has been working at the library he has frequented since college. He notices because of who she is and how she interacts. He notices because she know who he is by the media and by the tattoos and such that are only revealed when he is dressed casually amd yet she treats him with the same kindness she does everyone else.
The story builds from there and it would give the writer the opportunity to put more sexual tension in the story instead of just rushing to the gusto.

Suddenly a story that could be about racial division turns into another story about love undenied and what is love suppose to do to people when it's right? It changes both of them for the better or it isn't right.

message 32: by Shiree (last edited Mar 01, 2012 05:43PM) (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments LOL, oh a male stripper most def can be done. Just like because a woman is a stripper it does not make her uneducated or lacking of a reason to be doing such a thing. A reason bigger than the picture.

What if he was an undercover cop investigating the sex traffic trade and a particular "Chippendale type" enterprise was a tie in to a rashing of missing young men.
Sex trade may be majority women but it is by no means a "women only" market. So he's seasoned detective, younger than he is investigating missing young men who have turned up dead or missing. His motivation? His baby brother or nephew is missing or an older brother that dissapeared when he was a kid and was never heard from again...the possibilities would be endless.

He could also be a younger than the heroine, living off his looks and body and don't mind using women to get what he want. A good writer and a strong heroine such as one that becomes his parole officer or a bounty hunter that bailed him out only to have him jump bale. That could turn easily into a romantic comedy.

message 33: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments But I think the undercovercop thing would be a cheat, much like if it were the racist who is actually an FBI agent investigating hate groups. But it would make for an interesting story line.

message 34: by Shiree (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments I guess I'm not getting this "cheat" thing. Why would you want to restrict your craft and thought process by worrying if someone would think or consider it a "cheat". I haven't every heard such a statement made by Caucasion writers in regards to their books or thought process. They have done and over done everything in the book going back to "borrowing" from classics of the eighteenth century such as fairytales. I think our readers expect to much realism in fiction and fantasy. This is why I write my way to attract the readers who are looking for my stories and not trying to play to the masses. So far my career is being mapped on the "build it and they will come" factor and it's working for me. So who come up with defining what's a "cheat" factor in fiction writing? Tell them to stuff it and write the story you want to tell.

message 35: by Karen (last edited Mar 01, 2012 10:52PM) (new)

Karen Scott (karenknowsbest) | 26 comments @Shiree, there are plenty of writers who don't "restrict" their craft, there are also plenty authors who can't sell their books either. If you're a writer of IR romance, and you put in a pure racist as a hero, I'm bypassing your books, and moving onto the one where the hero doesn't represent a real life problem I've dealt with all my life.

To me, the idea of a racist hero is akin to having a serial rapist who has now reformed, as a romance hero. Would you buy that book, and believe the romance?

message 36: by Shiree (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments @Karen, I understand how you feel. However, I did see on a documentary not to long ago a man who was a white supremist who fell in love with and married a Black woman. It changed him completely. He was slowly having all the tatoos removed and he was now a guest speaker against racism and misconceptions one race has for another. So it isn't your romance but that Black woman that lived it for real probably would enjoy reading a book that she could personally relate to. A lot of women find dating Asian men a "It's not for me" type of read, but there are also many that will. I have found some readers act as if the writer is not a good writer or the story is not a good story because they didn't like it. I see it as a book that I didn't like but don't mean someone won't. A racist can change I think. A serial rapist is driven by something akin to an addictive personality. I respect that you are repulse enough by the idea there is a comparison but it's okay to agree to disagree.
I'm use to readers passing up my books becuase of the POV I sometimes right from such as my transgender male lead in my Japanese Hosts Anthology. It's okay, because I'm interested in reaching those who want to read the book then to convert those who don't.

message 37: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments It's not a matter if restricting my craft, it's a matter of being honest. Time and again the readers have railed against the seemingly IR book that turn out not to be IR because the hero is really biracial. They see that as a cheat. Of course, there's nothing wrong with making the guy an undercover cop or something, but then he's not racist and that's not what I'm talking about. I'm wondering about the possibility of a former racist, or stripper or some other icky type guy becoming the hero.

Speaking of icky guys, what are some other types you would have difficulty seeing as a hero? I'd bever cared for BDSM books. I didn't have anything against them, just didn't find them interesting. Also the thought of a black woman being whipped by a white man...and to me, books where the black woman was a domme. Don't find a guy who wants to lick my boots sexy at all. Then I read Bridget Midway's Love My Way. I have no idea how she pulled it off, but no ick factor at all. It was fascinating and sexy. How about y'all? What do you think of BDSM books, or guys who might be icky like a stripper?

message 38: by Shiree (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments Well I personally mentally can't wrap my head around the finding pleasure in pain thing that is why I don't go there unless the character takes me there; but I have no problems with guy strippers. I guess because being a child of the sixties with my party years being in the eighties Chippingdales was a big deal and I would go to the shows. I had a lot of fun and the fantasy was about hooking up with one of them that was pleasing to the eye, not to mention they smelled really good too. LOL All those sweaty muscles and God help me such beautiful men of all cultures giving you a lap dance and you can't touch him which puts your entire body on high alert because he is right there with beautiful bedroom eyes staring into your's wanting you to touch him. Then when he does what you want him to...he takes your hand and place it on his body. See it's okay to touch as long as he initializes. Heck yeah I can see myself falling for a icky stripper. LOL to each their own.

message 39: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 454 comments I've never thought strippers were icky. I remember watching that HBO series "Real Sex", and they showcased this black woman who managed an all black male strip group. These guys were so hot. In the word and tone of Sam Kenison "OH, OH, OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH," - Dude, I so wish I was her. Plus, she hooked up with one of the strippers. I'm already playing with a story around that.

I like BDSM, but not all of it. I'm not into the feet thing and licking shoes, but to each his or her own. We all have our kink - which I believe there is no such thing between two consenting adults. I have Anne Rice's Beauty series and there were some things I liked about it and some things I didn't. In fact, Anne Rice has always pushed the envelope regarding taboo subjects: Belinda (underage girl), Feast of All Saints (black women becoming the mistresses of rich white men), Cry to Heaven (male castrati). For some reason, I've always related to her take on things and I'm one of her biggest fans. I let her go through her "Jesus" phase, but now it seems she's back, so I'm interested to check out her latest book. There are general rules in life, but I believe in some instances the rules can be pushed and some broken - it depends on the people involved. But that doesn't mean just any writer can do it - most can't pull it off, that's just the truth of it. If it's written just for titillation - no; however, if it's presenting a story and another way of looking at things (and it's obvious either the author has some personal experience with it or they've done their research), then I'm down for it.


message 40: by Delaney (new)

Delaney Diamond (delaney_diamond) When did male strippers become icky...? Lol. I could absolutely see a male stripper as a hero. Atypical, yes, but I can still see it.

As far as BDSM books, I enjoy the ones with light BDSM. The bondage part is sexy and I can see that as a way to spice up your sex life. I can handle some light spanking, too.

The DSM part is what I can't understand. Doms, subs, beatings, etc., etc. It's not sexy to me. I find it degrading, and no matter how many times authors have tried to explain to me that it's empowering, and the sub is the one who has the power, I've never changed my mind. Not even a little bit.

message 41: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments I dunno, I've always thought of male strippers as icky. I realize that some feel differently, but I think a man who spends that much time in grooming and bodybmaintenance is a bit effeminate. Of ourse I've always preferred the geeky nerdy types to the overtly sexual ones. It's justvgross. If a strange man stuck his package in my facebI'd probably hurl. I also wonder whatvwould cause a man to pick that line of work. I mean, a healthy man has many legitimate means to making money, even tiday it's not that way for women. I guessI think that type guy would be incredibly narcissistic.

message 42: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Mar 02, 2012 11:46AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) For those who need clarification on why authors cannot and shouldn't cheat is...

The "cheat" thing is bad for a book and author because readers don't like to feel cheated. What that means is no one wants to read a book that seemed cleverly set up and the author came up with some lame plot twist or some lame reasoning just to make things work. No one enjoys that as a reader and you instantly know you felt cheated. A lot of readers will read a book from an author and if the author pulls some trick where they felt cheated, they might not ever read another book by that author.

I'm the same way. I HATE it when I read a book and I feel like the author set something great up then they come back with a deus ex machina or some convenient explanation just because they either aren't skillful enough to pull off the story in a decent way or because they are just being lazy, think readers or stupid and will just throw up something. I write and read mysteries and in my genre, we don't play that. Readers will dump you in a minute if you cheat in anyway when you write in my genre and it's in a lot of genres too.

You ever read a book and then when you got done you went, "What? That would never happen!" Then throw the book across the room? Have you ever read a book and went, "What? Oh please! So the baby isn't even Chris'?" ROFL! Anyway you get my point right?

Readers are not stupid. They know when they are cheated. Whenever something comes out with too much of ease on the writer's part, that's cheating.

message 43: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Mar 02, 2012 11:38AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Like Ros pointed out. It is cheating to have the racist hero be an undercover cop IF you did not set it up in the beginning where the audience knows. It's about the set up. You can't just have Brian a racist the whole darn book then because you want Lacy (the black woman) to fall for him, go, "Oh yeah Brian's a cop" The end. ROFL! Oh no. That is cheating because we want you to show us you can write a racist falling in love with this black chick and convince us it can happen.

On the flip side you gotta convince us that Lacy would even wanna be with an ex-racist as well.

As long as you set something up, it's not cheating. Like I said, if the author shows us in the beginning that Brian is only pretending to be racist, it's not cheating. But if you go the entire book with us thinking he's a racist and then turn around come up with some lame thing like he was faking it, it will piss readers off. Believe me. I know it would really make me mad.

When readers read a book where the author has laid out a conflict, they wanna see it resolved in a fulfilling way. It's the readers' reaction such as "I can't wait to see how the author concludes this!" that fuels our excitement for reading the book. So can you imagine how upsetting it is to be built up and let down? it sucks. LOL! And I have read some books in my time that did this and I don't like it.

Bottom line if you gotta cheat then you just might not be skillful enough if you can't come up with a decent way to off your plot. You've bitten more than you can chew. If not then you are just lazy if you throw up anything and expect readers to take it like they are stupid. Don't even attempt it. But if you attempt it, you better make sure you don't cheat because when that book comes out and you obviously cheated and disappointed readers, you're gonna have heck to pay. I don't care what genre you write in, no one wants to read a book, get excited over it and then be let down. No. It's like having bad sex. ROFL! Excited at first then let down.

I could cheat all the time with my plot twists but I don't and wouldn't wanna be known as some author who does not have the skills to pull off what she puts out there. If you can't do it, then stick with plots you can handle.

message 44: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Sometimes you can read a book where the author cheated but you enjoyed the writing and the story so much you can forgive them and try another book. But very seldom in my case has that happen. I tend to believe if you can do a cop out in one of your books, you probably do it in all of them.

message 45: by Shiree (last edited Mar 02, 2012 11:47AM) (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments @Roslyn Well I guess that is where you hit it on the head for me. I like my Black men dark chocolate, closly shaved haircuts and very masculine but when it come to White men and Asian men I like them with beautiful hair and dream eyes and masculine in his effeminate ways. Meaning very comfortable with that side of his nature. I guess that's why I always had a thing for musicians and male vocalist. I beleive my perfect partner would be asexual/pansexual androgynous person.

message 46: by Violetta (new)

Violetta Vane (violettavane) Wow, this is a fascinating discussion! I can't help but put it in the context of an argument that's going on about "Fever", which is a book that isn't marketed as IR, has a racism as a major theme and a TON of racial slurs:

I think I'd be torn about reading an IR with a reformed racist. On one hand, I can see how it might be compelling and unique. I think a lot of white supremacist groups have cult-like structure so that they victimize their members while teaching them to hate. In real life, my husband has a good friend, who is white, who ran away from home when he was a young teenager and had a hard time on the streets. He was "taken in" by a gang of racist skinheads and for a short time believed in that ideology. Then he broke out of it. He moved to another city, turned his life around... and started a gay relationship with a black man. They lived together for a year then separated amicably. He eventually married a white woman and moved to the Virgin Islands.

Now that I've written that up, I honestly think I'd have more sympathy for an extremist racist who a) was kind of pushed into those views b) pulled themselves out of those views on their own. But if the character was racist because they just sort of accepted it was okay to be that way, I don't think that's a story I'd be interested in reading.

I agree totally about "cheating." Plot twists are one thing; I loved having my mind messed with. But if a story promises depth and then pulls right back to the shallows, that's something else.

message 47: by Shiree (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments @Stacy. Oh, I understand feeling cheated by the read but as you said if the story is set up well then you wouldn't use the "obvious" fact as the big twist. I mean some authors are good that they can have you empathizing or even falling in love with the villian of a story. But I didn't realize that is what Roslyn was talking about as a "cheat". I thought she meant the easy reasoning such as a character leading you to beleive he is one thing when he is actually another and that be the big reveal. Such as a racist not really being a racist. That cheat wouldn't bother me as long as you don't write the book having this man basically lie to the heroine throught the entire book and at the end he like explain his behavior away with a simple explanation. I also hate books that their would be no story to read about if the two leads stop screwing long enough to talk. Okay Round two of tornado's coming in so let me get dressed and ready for it. Sigh.

message 48: by The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (last edited Mar 02, 2012 12:43PM) (new)

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1211 comments @Shiree: Take care and let us know if you're okay.

On BDSM: Most BDSM books are what I've heard referred to as "glitter-kink" which basically means pretty people in high-end clubs being lightly flogged and they fall in love and are together forever. I would file most romance books with BDSM themes under that definition. I'm a huge fan of Bridget Midway because her books are not glitter-kink. She has a real understanding of the lovestyle because she's done her homework. She goes to leather events, talks to real life Dom/mes and subs and her attention to the nuances is what makes her books stand out.

I would so love to read about a black female Dominant because I know of several and their stories are so fascinating, especially how they deal with issues of race and gender in that world (and they do come up) and how the relationship dynamics would play out.

The BDSM books I tend to be partial to are the ones that would scare the glitter-kink/sugar-kink contingent because they delve into areas a casual or bondage-light reader would find uncomfortable, such as the 24/7 submissive or sadism where real pain is involved. I find those to be better written and very compelling because they get inside the heads of the characters, rather than focus on the tools of the trade.

On the racist hero: I've been thinking about this topic a lot over the past few days and it made me wonder, what ever happened to the idea of redemption? It's fascinating to me that it's easier to accept a raging Lothario who's put his balls into more holes than Tiger Woods suddenly finding "the one", but somehow balk at the notion that a guy who has spent his life hating minorities having an epiphany and changing. I think a skilled author can make that happen, and happen in such a way that we have sympathy for that hero. Having said that, the heroine can't be some do-goody pushover. She's got to be tough, especially when the two of them have to face his past or those who don't understand the attraction.

I guess as a lifetime reader, I'm always looking for something out of the ordinary. Speaking of strippers (female), Roslyn's Try a Little Tenderness fell into that category.

message 49: by Roslyn (new)

Roslyn | 249 comments See, I don't care for the raging Lothario either. I think that's the reason I don't care for Regencies. I can't suspend disbelief enough to accept that these men somehow avoided the STDs I know were rampant then. I really have a thing for the virgin or near virgin hero. Especially when paired with an experienced heroine.

Yep, Midway helped me understand BDSM on a level I'd never gotten before. Still not sure I'd want to read about a domme, but she would probably convince me.

Redemption is a funny thing, and as I talk anout this topic I become more intrigued by the notion of the racist hero. I might do it as a free read. No sense in pissing my fans off. Anybody else want to go in with me? Maybe we can post the chapters as we go.

Try a Little Tenderness is the reason Crystal challenged me on the male stripper. She pointed out that I'd made it work with a woman, why not a man? She has a point. In that book, Lola has been sexually abused and was in foster care. i was really reluctant to go that route. The strippers I talked to were very open and generous with me and I really wanted to do it properly. I was determined not to go into the realm of "patholgy porn". But so many of them told me about their sexual abuse issues that I felt it would be wrong to ignore that aspect of their lives. They all read it and told me that they thought I'd been very respectful. That was important to me. As a former social worker I think it's always important to treat people with dignity and respect.

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1211 comments Roslyn wrote: "See, I don't care for the raging Lothario either. I think that's the reason I don't care for Regencies. I can't suspend disbelief enough to accept that these men somehow avoided the STDs I know wer..."

LOL! I love regencies but you're right they totally gloss over the STD and how many out of wedlock kids those guys had to have had.

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