I don’t usually say much about my stories. No apologies, no explanations. A story should stand on its own or fail. That said, I think I do want to talk about this last Numb3rs fic I posted. And hey, look, a live journal. Just the place to do it.
Someone (nameless to not put them on the spot) has said that some of the dialogue made them uncomfortable. Not the neo-Nazi guys because, obviously. It was in the dialogue between our regular characters that dealt with racism. My first thought was to consider changing it because I don’t want anyone to be offended or uncomfortable. But then I thought about it some more and realized that maybe I do. Part of what I wanted to do with this story was to point out that racism still is very much a part of the lives of people considered ‘minorities’ here in the US, while at the same time I see a reluctance of the white world to acknowledge that or talk about it. It’s not PC to mention race. It’s almost taboo unless put safely in terms of Muggles and Wizards. It makes people uncomfortable. Apart from the brief outcry over racial discrimination after the Katrina disaster, it is largely an invisible phenomenon.
Since I’m assuming for the story that the Eppes’s are Jewish, I have to assume that they’ve experienced racism and have learned to cope with the minority status, whether that heritage is part of their daily lives or not. Where Don says that he can pass, for instance, I think that he would very much have had the experience of people not knowing he’s Jewish unless he told them, while Charlie’s experience would be quite different. ‘Passing’ is a time-honored tradition *grins*, and happens all the time for different people in different circumstances, whether the word is used or not. It’s a fact of life – it just makes life easier. It’s a casual comment and I don’t see it or mean it in a pejorative way at all, and I don't think Don does either.
Fanfic is probably not the most appropriate place for social commentary, being mostly about fantasy escapism, but it’s the mode of expression that I have. I’ve found that writing fanfic is the most satisfying to me when I’m pushing the edges of what makes me uncomfortable. But of course then it may push other people’s buttons in ways they may not like.
So I’m really not trying to offend, but if it makes a reader think then I’m glad. It’s a trade off because, sure, I’d love to have people throwing rose petals at my feet in honor of my amazing writing skills, but in the long run I write what’s meaningful (therapeutic, cathartic) to me and just hope that someone else will get something out of it too.
Xenophobia was hard for me to write in places, but I really wanted to because there truly are people like those neo-Nazis out there right now, doing seriously nasty things. Seeing the bizarre ‘Christianity is under attack’ thing the radical right is doing these days inspired me, too, because of the potential for backlash against religious minorities (and atheists) and the divisive ‘them against us’ mentality it fosters.
Or maybe I just take things too serious… *G*