Friday, July 02, 2004

On Race and Writing

JP has a thought-provoking post about the speculative fiction genre-- more specifically, epic fantasy-- and the issue of race after citing this interesting article by noted writer Ursula K. Le Guin.

He says:

Le Guin also adresses issues such as race in fantasy - something that has long troubled me, but that very few Western fantasy fans seem to include in their lists of wearied cliches....
Naturally, a Western writer will tend to set her story in a setting that derives from their own setting in a way. But when that's all that nearly every writer in the still largely Western genre does, it does make one question the supposed fantasticality of it all.

... and...

At some level, this issue of race and setting needs to be taken on in earnest, if the fantasy genre is not to ultimately be little more than a collective wish-fulfillment for the western, white-skinned world.

He does admit that some fantasy writers, like Ricardo Pinto and Steven Erikson, have made some efforts to address this fact. However, it reminded me of the quandary I usually faced while writing: what color of skin are my characters?

Of course, this is more than just skin-deep. I suppose that one reason I gravitated into writing speculative fiction is because I find it easy to 'make-believe' that my characters are not only brown-skinned but are also white or black or albino or even no color at all. Hey, this is all 'speculative', right?

In any event, I suppose it doesn't really matter what color your eyes see the world just as long as you write it down and you write it down well. But sometimes I DO get bothered about the color.

After all, it comes down to knowing what color your imagination is.

Wala lang.

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