|Sophia Duleep Singh, actual biracial person and|
suffragette, in 1910
And, let's be honest, why isn't the character 100 percent Indian? Is there something wrong with that? Will it completely change your story? Or is the half-Indianness just a tool, an easy source of conflict? A dash of spice? Biracial people, whether they're on the page or picking up the book, deserve FAR better than that.
With diversity and inclusivity very much part of the romance publishing conversation, I really question intent. Is this about being cool and trendy? Are you trying to jump on a bandwagon? Because I've talked about that. So MANY of us have talked about that. We're not this hot new thing. And we're not demanding diverse characters from everybody. You seriously don't have to include POC...especially if you're going to half-ass it. Because another part of the conversation we're having is about harm. Is your portrayal going to cause someone pain?
|Jhansi ki Rani bit it in 1858. |
She died so dead.
Hundreds of thousands of people DIED because the British came to India. And how many died to get them to LEAVE? They were not welcome there. There was a revolution. And independence.
How do you ignore THAT history while crafting your ball gowns and witty repartee?
It's certainly hard for those of us of South Asian origin. I think that's why you don't see us writing in that time period because, well, it's extremely complicated and largely un-fun. Most of the stories I know about the Raj are about revolutionaries who died for the cause. Chandrashekhar Azad. Bhagat Singh. The Rani of Jhansi — she was 29 years old when she succumbed to wounds from a skirmish with the British. And I'm not about to suggest someone write that definitively non-HEA "romance"!
|Bhagat Singh was superhot...|
and superhanged to
death in 1931.
So, yeah, when I see a white author of historical romance blithely going, "I have a half-Indian character," I just go back to, "Why?"
What is this character's throughline?
Does his or her background actually mean something?
What do you hope to gain?
Is this going to hurt?
'Cause, goddamn, I am so tired of hurting.