I’ll beat your ass if you ask such a question to my face. No, I’m serious. For one, because there is a level of explanation INSIDE the story. For two, you deserve it.
Fuck, what type of question is that? Why is that person Black?
As a white person, it’s what I get. And really there is a reason. I didn’t just throw him on the page.
Most of my characters are either denied description or hold a minority label. Not all. Because that would be wrong compared to the world.
Why? Why do I add so much diversity? Shouldn’t I play to my strength (What the fuck?) and just write stories filled with whites? I’m white. Whites sell. It should be my to go.
I’ve made a shocking comment to several of my white friends. My half siblings- half siblings are half Black. You have no idea how many white people just stare at me as if I’m some sort of crazed person.
My family is fucked up. Not because there are Black people involved. My father is like the worse scum that looks pretty ever. You’ve probably noticed I have no affinity for him.
It’s not because he has an ex-wife and gave me half siblings. Honestly it’s not because he’s had what seems like a thousand girlfriends throughout my life (while married to my mom the entire time). It’s because he’s abusive. He refuses to realize he is. Nor does he realize he has privilege. Nor does he give me any consideration because I stepped out of acceptable job titles of a female. He’s not as dangerous as he was. He’s weaker, so his abuse is now all verbal. The bruises and wounds healed. My mind and the heart never will.
I jumped a little. If given the chance to vent, I do so it seems. Anyway, I grew up with my half siblings half siblings coming to special meals and gatherings. I saw them at Christmas and Thanksgiving. It was normal. (Actually there is another half sib-half sib, but he’s a piece of shit, so he doesn’t get consideration.) These three Black people (my father’s ex wife is still with him; best relationship and mothering she managed) started showing up in my life.
My first thought? “Finally, a girl I can play with.” Sexist household. The males refused me often. She also refused me. I still had no one to play with. *sigh*
It gave me interactions that weren’t media portrayed.
There was also Blacks in school with me. I never saw them differently. They were cooler than me. I was the bullied one. Turns out disability was lower on the students lists than being Black. Still is, I believe.
It wasn’t until after I started masking and hiding my disability (at least enough so strangers can’t tell) that I noticed things like the other students.
So my first real knowledge and interaction with Blacks was through my family.
I grew up in “White America” where whites “don’t have privilege”, we just “used what we have to succeed”. “No one helped us.” If Blacks “just listened to the cops and do what I did, they’ll succeed too”.
I believed that. I had no reason not to. They never stated Blacks were less than (even if they treated them as less). Realize, one of the reasons I hate my father was he insulted those Blacks who came ALL THE TIME. He considered it a joke as if that’s what you do with “friends”.
I thought it was because it’s his ex wife and new lover… No. He’s like that to Blacks.
Wait, I forgot to say something. Half Black. I mentioned that before. Now in my case, I was literally referring to my family tree. Their mom is white, pasty white, privileged poor ass white. You want welfare queen, she’s pretty much it. There’s reasons I don’t like her. But, that Black man she found changed her. She finally had something I could deem positive in life. I wasn’t going to like her. But it did give me hope that people can change for the better.
Several of my Black characters have notes of him in it. But those guys never reached main character status.
Half Black is an insult. I cringe to think I’ve used that. Even here. But it’s part of my past.
Because society doesn’t see anything as “half”. You can’t be half white. You can’t be half Black. You are either white or black. And in this case, they’re Black.
Their father has white heritage. You can tell looking at his bone structure and movement. But society calls him Black. He calls himself Black. The kids aren’t half Black. They’re Black. Period. And I know they have a level of pride being Black. Because you have to.
I look white. I can point out ancestry that’s not, but I am white. I look it. I get the privilege of being white. Nothing about my ancestry changes that. It’s more an insult to those races and cultures to claim I’m like them. Because I’m not allowed to be.
I’m all over the place.
Ugh. This is my brain people.
Back to the real question: why is Alex Black? Or any of my other characters. Why do I do that? “Leave the description alone and let people pick what they look like.”
There is several reasons why they would have everyone white. It’s the normal for media representation. And being a minority in a world would cause an impact. There is no equality or justice. I have assumed everyone in a non descript story is all Black before. As if it’s based in Africa somewhere. That’s really it. Still I do use the “non descript” option for several. You can pick. Like in Crown Princess. If everyone is Black, no one would notice the differences.
I brought up those half sib- half sibs for a reason.
They are my reason.
When I got to thinking, I never saw them in one of my story books. I never read about someone with such dark skin or dark eyes or kinky hair. Or if I did, it was a rare few side characters or enemy. Better than nothing, right?
Is it good enough?
No. How could it be good enough? How could that beautiful girl I wanted to play with never see herself as a princess (Read Annabella and Ji)? How could my nephew’s favorite uncle (He has the dedication, yes) not be called the hero?
When I finally realized I had privilege, it was a life changer. College (and $30k of debt) taught me that life isn’t what I was taught. Everything I knew was wrong. Or it felt that way from a sociology viewpoint.
The reason there was no Black princesses or Black heroes was because there wasn’t allowed to be?
Go back to my opening. “Why? Why do I add so much diversity? Shouldn’t I play to my strength (What the fuck?) and just write stories filled with whites? I’m white. Whites sell. It should be my to go.”
Why do whites sell?
Being able to spend time writing is a privilege. Being able to survive and write and publish is a privilege. Something many Blacks will never have. And even if they were to write something…
I consider marketing hard.
They’d call it harder.
I can market to everyone equally and have people take a chance.
Society says, “Blacks should stay in their lane”.
Why can I cross the line? But they can’t? Why do my ancestors and distant cousins get mowed down and I don’t?
Strictly because I am white. I don’t have any other privilege. But white is enough. It’s what people see first. And the only skin color to not have some level of privilege is Black.
I grew up thinking I wasn’t privileged.
So now I’ll use it.
Alex is Black. I could make a black dragon with white skin. It’s been done before. Doesn’t make sense to me.
I’ll add in Black characters. Assume those non descript characters that don’t hold face time or get a name are a complete and an utter mix.
Natalie does end up referencing them. There are others besides Alex who have the darker skin, but he’s the darkest. Almost Black. Because it’s magic.
Annabella and Ji are both Black.
And don’t complain it’s just Black and white. You are just too blind to realize. If Tsuba Ren were turned into a picture or movie or tv show? The hero is supposed to look Asian. You didn’t know. You assume everyone was white.
And that’s why I’m starting to shove more color. You’re going to see golden skin tones. Medium shades that are actually medium. And try going darker with Alex’s skin color.
Think blacker than Nyong’o, the famous Black model. She’s dark, but Alex is darker. Because everyone wants to see light as best.
Natalie’s hero and savior is as dark as you can get on the human body. That won’t change. He will never pick to be white.
Because I grew up with half sib-half sibs who never saw themselves as prince and princess.
Prince Alex has a nice ring to it.
Princess Annabella is different and special.
You let me get out of my lane? Guess what I will do with it.