Oftentimes it happens that we get superb ideas that if out put to the world, chances are that the response is going to be getting spammed with hate comments. Or there are times when we’re writing about a delicate subject and we have to be careful to frame it in a way that doesn’t offend anyone.
My question is, why?
I understand that as an author, we have a responsibility to bring forward stuff that doesn’t put down or ostracize or straight out condemn a certain community. However, it is absolutely absurd to me to be skirting around bigots or uber-sensitive people just because it might offend them.
Right now, I’m writing a coming out novel that is based on the backdrop of the Orlando shootings in Pulse.
It is a sensitive topic, especially considering the fact that it targets a community that is outlawed in certain countries. There are ten countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. Being a mostly closeted bisexual myself, I understand the struggles and the last thing I want to do is disrespect the LGBTQ+ people.
As I was writing the novel, I introduced a minor character that is a total stereotypical gay guy, except he owns up to it. However, even while I wrote about him, there was a slight feeling of apprehension at how it would be received. Even now, I’m still merely bating my time. I should’ve posted that chapter on Wattpad about an hour before I actually did. I had my best friend proofread it for me and yet I was doubtful.
On one hand, I want to send out the message that being a stereotype isn’t wrong and neither is not being one. You can be an Asian and not be good at maths, black and against violence, white and blond and smart, Muslim and wearing a burqa or a checkered scarf and not be a terrorist, Indian and dark and not filthy or poor, Latino and asexual. It’s also fine if you’re Asian and actually great at driving, black and a superb basketball player, white and educated and own a Minivan in the suburbs, Muslim and pray five times a day and like your culture, Indian and an engineer from IIT, Latino and like to party. It’s okay to be both.
That was just an example. My point is, is it fair to ask a writer or an artist to curb their creativity in order to be socially acceptable?
I don’t ever want to be at a point in my life where I have to answer that question as yes, where the fear of my image trumps my creativity. Say what you want about Salman Rushdie but at least he didn’t stop writing or censoring himself after being exiled.