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Thread: racial profiling in my novel

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  1. #1
    a hardback life on an ebook budget ellio's Avatar
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    racial profiling in my novel

    Okay, I've just started planning my first venture into Sci-Fi. I have an idea I'm really committed too and I just want to get your opinion on one section. A large portion of the novel is set in the near future - 20/30 years ahead of our time. My character is English nationally but I want her ethnicity to be something else because I kind of need her to go through excessive racial profiling as part of the plot. This is due to terrorist attacks carried out in our near future.

    The thing that I can't work out is deciding what race to make her. There needs to be one country that has to take the fall for being where "the bad guys" originate from and she just has to be from either that country or a country where people look vaguely similar to the bad guys, as is the nature of racial profiling and how ridiculous it is. My original *bad guys* were going to be from North Korea and my character was going to be South Korean, but then, politically, although I want the book to reflect situations that happen now, I really want to avoid anything current. That's why I'm also reluctant to avoid her being from the middle east or north africa because racial profiling is a thing that happens all too often for people from those areas currently. The media's mad for it. (That said, is there a race out there that doesn't get profiled in some way in the west? Bar, you know, the obvious...)

    I'm so stuck. I don't want to do the whole power balance shift thing and make her white and have PoC doing the racial profiling because I don't want her to be the poor, white, victim when we live in a world where PoC get racially profiled every day.

    I don't want to make any country where there are PoC's look like it's full of evil terrorists and offend readers from those countries but then at the same time the point of the allegory throughout the whole crazy sci-fi war stuff that goes on is to show that we can't judge a group of people by their religion/country of origin based on what a number of them do.

    Perhaps I just make the terrorists PoCs of some sort but don't mention their country of origin, so that when my character is racially profiled it's even more unfair because they're going on nothing but her race?

    (I know I haven't explained this well at all but I hope you see what I'm getting at and offer me some advice. I'm a PoC writer and have firsthand experience in racial profiling from a government level so sensitivity in regards to the handling of racial profiling in my novel isn't what I'm asking about. I'm asking about how I should best approach her race and ethnicity considering that she will be racially profiled.)
    Last edited by ellio; 08-26-2013 at 12:16 AM. Reason: repeated myself a billion times

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