Being a Better Writer: On Writing About Race

Oh boy.

Yep, this post had to come at some point or another. Given the charged climate of “PC” these days (that’s “political correctness,” not “Personal Computer,” sadly) days, this topic is one that’s come up again and again in writing. Online, offline … just about everywhere.

It’s also charged enough that simply based on the title of the post alone, I can already expect that there are angry comments being written to tell me how “wrong” I am … despite the title being the only thing those commentators will read.

Yeah, there’s a reason I’ve been okay with putting off this post for so long. It’s a charged topic, one that incites a lot of anger and rage from a lot of people.

That in mind though … it’s something that needs to be talked about if you’re going to write. In part because we can’t ignore it. That old adage about there being some readers who will never be happy? The concept of race is one area where there are definitely going to be people who are going to live up to that creed. No matter what you do, you’re going to do something wrong. Well, not really (though there are things you can do wrong). More like, … some readers are going to choose to see something wrong no matter what you do. They’re not interested in logic and reason. And they’re out there. They will make what you write “wrong” no matter what you do, because they can.

So what can you do in that case? Sure, you can’t please them … but you can make sure that what you’ve written is well-written enough that others will look at those complaints with a little bit of logic and go “No, I don’t see it.”

Right. So it’s a bit like writing anything else then. There are always going to be people that are unhappy. You can’t control that. What you can do,  however, is make sure that for the readers left, you’ve written something good. And now … we’re going to talk about that in the context of one of the most (in America) politically charged topics there is: race in stories and writing.

Here we go.

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