*REPOST because I think this is worth discussing from all sides an angles. Special thanks to Nephyo for being honest and well written in his answers.*
There is a new series on television called Legend of the Seeker. It’s based on the book series called The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. I LOVE THIS SERIES, so you can imagine how excited I was to see that it was being turned into a television series. I knew it would be partially butchered, but I sucked it up and started watching it anyway. And it was while watching this series that a thought process set in.
I can admit I am prone to stereotyping people. I don’t do it out of meaness -intentionally- ever. However, in the course of a conversation I will tell you that all black people order chicken sandwiches with “orange drink” from McDonald’s and say “Have a Blessed Day” on their answering machine while being total chicken shits about haunted houses and scary movies. I will tell you ALL Mexicans listen to Mexican polka even outside of a restaurant, live with thirty people in their homes, and can fit more of themselves into a car than clowns at the circus. I will tell you all white Southern males go deer hunting, spit chewing tobacco, and think cowboy boots are really called “shit-kickers”, and let’s not forget all the women are barefoot and pregnant. I am am equal opportunity stereotyper.
Now, I am not going to lie and say you would never hear these things come out of my mouth because you will. I’m a hypocrite to an extent because I HATE labels defining people, yet, I do stereotype. However, I am not racist. I would never say any of those things in an attempt to hurt someone emotionally. I’ve been hurt by those kinds of labels myself. I would prefer that people can look at some of those stereotypes and laugh at themselves a bit. If Carlos Mencia can do it and get rich off of it, then we should all be able to do it.
But then…then this odd defining moment happened while I was watching this television series. One of the characters was dark skinned. I want to say he is black, but I don’t think he fully is, and when I saw him my jaw hit the ground. I was in denial…CHASE?! Chase is not black?! What in the hell happened there?!
I’ll tell you what happened. I actually stopped and tried to decide if I was being racist because I assumed he was white. The author (to my immediate recollection) didn’t specifically say he was anything other than white, so I assumed he was. I actually sat around and pondered this for some time. I quizzed my roomie and she does the same thing. Now, I KNOW coming from her it is not a racial issue because she is in a interacial relationship, has been for years, and they are stupid for each other…or just stupid in general but I digress…HA! (Tammy and Jason, you know I love you and I am teasing!!!) I quizzed Jason and he said he assumes they are white because most major figures in literature and television are white. I quizzed a buddy from Scotland and he said he doesn’t do either one, but goes completely on the author’s description.
Then I finally came to a conclusion. I blame one of two things on this line of thought. 1. Terry Goodkind for not describing a major character well enough and 2. Terry Goodkind for not throughly describing the character enough that I remembered it if he did.
Since, I quizzed everyone else in my life, now it’s your turn. When you read a book do you picture the main characters like you if the author does not give a vivid description? If so, do you consider that a form of racisim or just your way to identify with the characters?