Thursday, April 5, 2018

Understanding Multi-Cultural Romance

It seems like there is a lot of confusion out there about multi-cultural romances. I do think a lot of this is stemming from the constant talk in politics and society about issues of racism, diversity and so forth. It is unfortunate as these two issues are potentially blurring the lines and making this issue murkier than it needs to be.

Let me first of all say, I am someone who is certainly supportive of diversity issues. What I will be talking about here is the GENRE of MULTICULTURAL LITERATURE.

It seems that many people today are missing the point about the definition. It seems that people seem to be thinking that putting ethnic characters into a story makes it multicultural. This is far from the truth. Yes, multicultural literature will have characters of different races and ethnicities, but this is not what defines the genre.

I like to think of this genre the same way I think of women's fiction. In the case of women's fiction, it is not about the character, but the perspective and the point of view of the story. This genre looks at the world through the female lens. We see how the world is processed through the female psyche. In other words, the "feminine perspective" or "feminine point of view" becomes, at some level, a character in the story.

The same holds true for multicultural literature. Along with the characters in the story, it is the world that the characters are living in that comes to life as a character. If we want to talk about an African American Multicultural piece of literature, the African American experience and point of view will come forth in the story. We are immersed in the ethnic experience. In other words, it is much more than simply putting in characters who happen to be African American. The GMC (goals, motivation and conflict) of every character and action in the story needs to be shaped by that cultural experience.

I want to also bring up the historical aspect of this genre. There will simply be some time periods where that ,multicultural experience will not likely emerge. Regency romance in London will not likely bring forth an African American experience. This is just one example, but I think you can understand what I am talking about.

If you are someone who wants to write, or thinks you are writing a multicultural novel, you need to ask yourself what is the focus of the story. Is the focus to tell of the experience of this cultural to show how this culture shapes the thoughts, actions and believes of the characters in the story? Or, are you telling a story simply to include people from a different culture? If you are doing the second, you are NOT telling a multicultural story. If you are doing the first, make sure that entire experience is woven in throughout the entire story, not just as a plot element, but as a theme and setting element. We need to be immersed in that culture.

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