Updated: Jun 17, 2020
There's a lot going on in the world--there's a lot going on in the country of my birth in particular--and because of my specific profession (outside of writing and art, that is), I am legally constrained from commenting on most of it the way that I would like to, and probably, the way that I should. What I can say is this:
Racism is garbage.
The fact that, in this day and age, in this country supposedly founded upon the ideals of equality and liberty and representation, there are people (and some of those people occupy positions of power) who think one race, color, religion, etc of human beings is better than another, is terrifying. Worse still, many of those people--heretofore known as "racists"--actively work to perpetuate those beliefs by systematically and systemically disenfranchising those they consider lesser. That, my friends, is garbage. Racists are garbage, and they live among us. They vote. They incite violence. They run for office. All too often, they win.
Yet, perhaps it should not be so surprising. There is hypocrisy in our past, and it goes back to the very beginning. The USA as we know it would not exist without the genocide of America's indigenous populations. Those losses can never be recovered, and those actions can never be atoned. The land of the free and the home of the brave was founded on oppression, racism, and slavery. The least we can do now is to remember, to mourn, and to stay vigilant so that the mistakes of our collective past are not repeated in our future. We owe our ancestors, of blood and spirit, better. We owe our children better.
We owe Earth better.
The system is in dire need of repair. I would like to think it is not broken beyond saving. Of course, if I did think the system should be disassembled and rebuilt from the bottom up, I certainly couldn't say it. I wish I had the answers, but at the end of the day I'm just another citizen, and I am not nearly as informed as I should be. I am working to change that, but I have a long way to go. We the privileged--in whatever form and to whatever capacity that privilege exists--have a duty to use our voices to fix the system. At the same time, we cannot let our voices drown out the voices of those who actually need the system to change. The system works in my favor already; it should work in favor of everyone.
I try to make my books inclusive. I often fail. I am working on making my art more inclusive. I often fail even worse. I am not perfect, and neither is my work. They say "write what you know," but if I did that, I would only ever write rather vanilla prose about upper-middle class white people in suburbia. Who wants to read that? I certainly don't. But though I have characters from diverse walks of life and diverse backgrounds--heck, most of my characters were born in different time periods, let alone locations--there are countless cultures in this big, bright, beautiful reality of ours that I have not yet captured in my prose, and to which I could never hope to do justice. But inclusivity is important, and I will continue to strive toward it. I will continue to do my best to portray my characters respectfully and authentically, and if I fail...call me on it! PLEASE let me know so that I can become better as an artist, as an author, as a human being.
I acknowledge that it is no one else's job to educate me on these matters except my own, but we all have blindspots. We all need to learn and grow...just some of us a little (or a lot) more than others.
In closing, racism is garbage.