I’m an author who writes stories. When I started on this path, I thought, (and still do think) how screwed up can people be in this situation, or that one. In that vein, I wound up writing interracial romance unions.
I’ll never classify myself as an interracial romance author because I tend to write a variety of stories, some not romantic. But I have been shocked to realize that there aren’t that many interracial romance books out there.
It’s the 21st century.
I say that because it’s supposed to mean that in the most technologically advanced times in human history, we should be beyond this dead idea if racial purity.
I’m surprised that people are still having issue with the concept of love crossing racial barriers. This makes no sense to me and here’s why:
Now, some of you are familiar with the little island I’m from called Jamaica, also known as the land of ganja, Bob Marley, Jerk Chicken and Usain Bolt, not necessarily in that order.
Jamaica is a former British colony, which abolished slavery in the 1830’s and achieved independence in 1962. So we have a pretty diverse history and people have been coming here to visit and live for eons.
So, do me a favor. It’ll take maybe 10 seconds at most.
When you think of Jamaica, you have a certain image of the people in your head, right?
Tell me which of these people looks Jamaican to you:
Okay, so let’s start with names:
Heavy D, Cindy Breakspeare, Lisa Hanna, Tessanne Chin, Michael Lee Chin, Adam Stewart.
Which one looks Jamaican? The answer is all of them. These are all globally prominent Jamaicans.
Cindy and Lisa are both former Miss World winners, 1993 and 1976 respectively. Lisa is a Member of Jamaican parliament, while Cindy is an artist and mother of reggae singer, Damian Marley (son of Bob) ; Michael Lee Chin is a wealthy business man both in Jamaica and Canada who’s bought and sold many businesses, including banks. He’s currently working with the government to bring more business and investment into the country; Tessanne Chin won Season 5 of the Voice(if you haven’t heard Tessanne’s performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water, LISTEN TO IT NOW!); Heavy D, born in the parish of Mandeville, was a rapper from back in the day (Heavy D & The Boyz); Adam Stewart is the head of Sandals, which was started by his father, Butch Stewart.
While Jamaica isn’t perfect, this is a small cross-section of the rainbow I grew up with. It’s something we all are used to.
I got introduced to the concept of race when I moved to the U.S. That is both sad and eye-opening.
Look, I get it. Race is a touchy topic for some. In the U.S. Jim Crow ended in the sixties, about 100 years after slavery was abolished. Anti-miscegenation was a way of life, like a tentative “compromise” between whites having to deal with free black people and wanting to keep America pure and in the right hands.
It’s also a touchy subject for some in India, who, despite the abolition of the caste system, still have to deal with the remnants that say because of family status, certain marriages are “inauspicious.”
It’s a touchy subject in Brazil, Japan, China, all over and that’s why it needs to be written about even more. You can’t come to terms with what you don’t acknowledge and one of the best ways to do that is through art.
When I was writing Unchained Hearts, I remembered consciously choosing to have Virgilia as a black woman. It seems to be a cardinal sin for some in the Black community to have a black woman choosing to love a white man. I touch the issue of racism because to have ignored it would have meant I was naive and oblivious.
In Devereaux Cox, I touched on what I know some African American women see as a betrayal of entrapment; to have a white woman be with a black man.
Interracial love stories are great vehicles for exorcising demons while providing entertainment and pleasure. And, it’s becoming apparent that the demons are still roaming around, scaring off writers.
But not this one.
Granted, there are nuances and contexts some writers don’t understand enough to move beyond the tired, one-dimensional characters that are painful and disheartening to read.
Not all black women are chicken-necking or sassy. Not all black men are angry philandering hoods. Not all Indian women are subservient door mats, and so on. We need more stories that educate writers and readers by unapologetically ripping these to shreds.
When I’m able to, when the characters tell me that’sstory, I’ll write interracial romances. I’m not trying to be a an activist. It’s just that…it’s the 21st century FFS. We need to move forward in thinking and understanding, especially about something so basic as two people from different races falling in love.
There are far more insidious happenings in the world to be hung up on this.