Writers and political correctness do not go hand in hand. I repeat, they do not go hand in hand. If you want to be politically correct, choose something else to do – become a politician.
Our responsibility as writers is to tell it like it is. But it’s fiction you say. True, but even in fiction the truth is an absolute necessity. Let’s say you are writing historical fiction. I once came across a writer who was writing a book about the deep south during the time of slavery. That writer refused to use the correct appellation for the slaves. He persisted in calling them African Americans. Well, that was downright wrong. I skimmed through the internet trying to find out when the term African American began being used in the mainstream – it was tough to find anyone willing to discuss this, let alone give it a time frame. But I think I’ve locked it down to the early 80s.
Would this writer be considered a bigot for using the word ‘Negro’? No. because that was the term used during that period of time.
Author Anne Rice has this to say about political correctness.
I agree with her 100 per cent. Do you?
It is absolute insanity to say that only someone from one culture should write about that particular culture or race. I actually have experience in this particular area. One of the books that I’m shopping around to literary agents is called THE SHAMROCK TWINS (it is actually with a wonderful agent right now who I (cross my fingers) hope will sign me on as a client). Anyway, this agent I spoke to here in Toronto asked me
1) if I was Irish (no, I’m not)
2) whether I had African background (no, I do not) since my twins end up in Africa on a quest to find their pot of gold.
What rot, is all I can say. A storyteller tells a story regardless where he or she comes from.
Let me know if you believe an author should write honestly and from the heart.
2016 Creative Writing Classes at Beyond-The-Lamppost
Tues. afternoons January 12 – March 29 in Oakville “Shaping Your Story”
Wed. afternoons January 13 – March 30 in Oakville “Get Your Story Finished”
Thurs. afternoons January 14 – March 3 in Oakville “Almost there: Revising & Rewriting Your Manuscript”