Monday, July 07, 2008

Another paranormal.

So I'm currently reading this:

I've generally been entertained by the series. Even if they are vampires. So far I'm a few chapters into it.

This latest one has the MainWoman as Chinese. Taiwanese, if you want to get technical. And one part of me goes squueeeeee...There my bitches at! The other part of me goes uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh. Danger, danger, danger. Because while I agree with Bum in her argument about the convolutions romance writers go through to place Americans in stories where other peoples would work (probably better, more interestingly {is that a word? Is that word that should be used?}), I always have this dual reaction when there are Asian characters.

So it was rather providential when I read this from Karen from Karen Knows Best:

See, I have realized that I tend to avoid books wherein any of the main characters are Latino, particularly Mexican. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I can’t buy the cultural makeup the writer is laying down for those characters. More than once I’ve been overheard saying, “Cojones, dammit, not cajones!!!” or “hispanos are human beings, not a different species!”

Which is funny, because what I sometimes take to be stereotypical representation may in reality come from the author’s life expereince. Case in point: Karen Templeton’s character Félix in Baby I’m Yours. I had trouble with him because I thought he was a stereotypical Latino man based on things like George López or what have you. Turns out Ms Templeton based Félix on a number of actual people she knows in New Mexico where she lives.


So am I being racist in reverse? Am I actually assuming—with all the attendant asshattery—that no one can properly write Mexican or Latino characters that I can relate to?

Which is I feel about non-Asians writing about Asians. Like I think that we're a mystical people who others just can't get, rather than...well, mostly like everyone else and one doesn't need to belong to the club to write about the members.

I don't know.

I want to see more Asians, more minorities in romance (where they are not the mystical or quirky or whatever sidekick, and really just a big offensive cardboard cutout of stereotypes. I'm looking at you, Iris Johanson, Melanie George and others I will remember later). However, I will fall into the trap of looking for errors, how the author gets it wrong.

Contrary? You betcha.

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