Edited to add: I am not victim-blaming here. I’m just angry that this remix was allowed to happen. It seems to me that neither Rihanna nor Chris has received any real help or support since the assault and the music industry has exploited them both horribly.
“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman”—File this under #WTF?Henri Leclerc on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is to be questioned today by French police investigating his alleged involvement in an prostitution ring.
“I asked Michael why it was easier to train oil drillers to become astronauts than it was to train astronauts to become oil drillers, and he told me to shut the fuck up, so that was the end of that talk.”—
“I concede that I am not obliged to know everything. I remind myself that it is sufficient to know what I know, and that what I know may not always be true.”—Maya Angelou, in her collection of essays, Letter To My Daughter.
“Back in the days of Narnia and LoTR everyone was pretty much white, but now in our ‘politically correct’ world we have a black Guinevere in medieval Camelot on the BBC. So my question is this, do you feel compelled to represent races other than white in your books because you feel that you should? Or do they just come to you like that?”—
Holy wow. Um… are you kidding? I can only hope so, and that this question was intended for the purpose of make me explode on the internet! Wish granted, my friend, wish granted. ;)
Yes, back a while ago the world and the fiction in the world was even more racist than it currently is. Isn’t that awful?
I dislike the term ‘politically correct’ because I so often hear it used with a sneer, and because the word ‘politically’ is so unnecessary. What’s wrong with just ‘correct’? As in, it is correct not to be sexist, it is correct not to be racist, it is correct to treat everyone with common decency. See? Works perfectly well.
It’s not a case of ‘everyone is weirdly adding people of colour’ now… it’s a case of ‘everyone was weirdly excluding people of colour’ back then. People of colour EXIST: not having them in fiction IS WEIRD. Imagining stories entirely without them IS WEIRD—why would you want to do it?
You bring up Merlin having a black Guinevere. Well, black people existed in medieval times, so why shouldn’t they be in fictional representations of medieval times?
Leaving aside the fact that ‘medieval Camelot’ isn’t set in medieval times—it’s set in a fantasy world with elements of medieval times and other much more modern stuff, and also… what am I thinking of… oh yes… MAGIC AND DRAGONS.
But clearly… Guinevere is the last straw! Dragons, sure, but black people, you go too far!
I suppose my answer to your question is a double yes. Do I ‘feel compelled to represent races other than white’ in my books? Sure: I absolutely think it’s the right thing to do, and that contributing to the whitewashing of our world through fiction is very wrong. I’d rather… not do something I consider very wrong…
But also, yes, they just come to me like that! Creation of characters is a tricky thing, since it is half subconscious and half not, and when I think about what makes for an interesting world, it’s not a world in which anything has been taken away rather than added. ‘A less rich world!’ is a really boring battle cry. ‘Less complicated relationships! Less interesting characters!’
I want to tell stories in the richer world, with the complicated relationships and the interesting characters—that’s more fun. What I write is all born from that desire. The characters who I write about are all born from that desire, too: it’s why they come out the way they do.