Sunday, November 12, 2017

Race and Writing

Fio writes characters of different races and ethnicities in her romances because that's life, or, at least, life as it should be. She doesn't like to make too big a deal out of this practice, but she does want non-white characters to be identifiable as such by readers. Sometimes Fiorella's characters out themselves, like Moira, the heroine of her second book, who tells the hero she is one-fourth Japanese. Hispanics can often be identified by their surnames, but Fio wracks her brain with subtle ways to identify black characters as black without sounding awkward. She doesn't use the term "Afro-American" because it's unwieldy and because she herself, despite the fact that her family has been in this country for only a couple of generations,  has never been called "Slavic-American."  She won't use the term "people of color" either because everyone is some color. That leaves her with references to things like hairstyle (a member of the theater guild board in her second book), a certain girl that a bigoted father doesn't want his son to date (second book again), or an AME minister being kind enough to conduct a burial service for a disgraced clergyman (first book). But sometimes, like in the book she is now writing, Fio just up and says it:

"A tall black man came out of the door of the docent’s office and headed toward the stairs, his head bent as he concentrated on the playbill in his hand."

And, in case you're wondering, he's the hero's best friend.

No comments: