Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Are The Responsibilities of POC in the Public Eye?

I have increased my reading of urban fantasy (yes it's possible), because of a project that I am working on.  I realized that I had not read a lot of work in the genre specifically by POC.  This is why I read The Fledgling last week.  This week, I have started to read the work of Marjorie Liu.

I was drawn to her work, largely because she is the first Asian woman I have discovered writing in the genre of paranormal romance/urban fantasy.  Upon reading the first book, Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box, I could discern one character who is Russian and I made an educated guess that the protagonist was a White female with possibly an Asian love interest and an Asian villain.  I have no real concrete idea of what race the other characters in the book are.  This fact actually really fascinates me, because I have become accustomed to seeing dominant bodies rule this genre. The racial anonymity allows the reader to put whatever face to these characters that they choose.

The racial ambiguity did however leave me with one question: When we consider that it is extremely rare to see characters of colour in this genre, outside of the token magical negro or the faithful sidekick, does a writer of colour have the responsibility to ensure that there is a strong presence of POC in their work?  I am pondering this question right now, and I would really love to hear your thoughts.