There are a lot of stereotypes in SIDEKICK. I know this….and, yes, even though they get me in trouble, they are intentional.
Why? Why would I bring this down upon myself?
The only way I can answer that is to share a little of my history….
My husband and I met on an internet dating site. (I’ll give you a moment to form your judgments about that. Don’t worry. I’ve heard them all.) The forum alone makes this kind of dating an interesting experience. All you have to make an initial romantic assessment of someone is his/her/(your choice) picture and brief bio. Talk about snap judgments. Well, my snap judgment of my husband brought a lot of my prejudices to light. I saw a “brown” male, and, to be completely honest, I initially wondered if he was Muslim and what that meant in terms of his treatment of women. Once I read his profile, I saw that he was Catholic – that brought on a whole new set of judgments. My husband, also, made his own set of assumptions about me. In particular, when I made what I thought was a sarcastic comment about my “daddy” buying my car (something I was embarrassed about), my husband assumed I was a spoiled princess. Luckily, both of us persevered past our initial snap “stereotyped” judgments, found true love, and lived happily ever after…with three children, one of whom is still sleeping in between us in bed ensuring we never touch – ah, romance.
I had a similar experience when I was introduced to my best friend. I met her in the cafeteria of my first job. Her friend at the time went out of her way to welcome me….while my later BFF stood a foot or two back, scowling. I don’t think I made any particular judgment about her race (Caucasian/Jamaican), but who knows? Sociological studies have shown that the power of stereotypes can be immediate and unconscious. (They also show that we are all prejudiced – a theme which I can’t seem to stop writing about.) I did consciously assume, however, she was anti-social/misanthropic (now I’m thinking she may have been the inspiration for Queenie…hmm). My friend, also, made all sorts of assumptions about me. You see, my father was one of the bosses, so, yes, I got the job in large part through nepotism. I’d kind of hate me too. Luckily, my friend has an incurable need to help people when they are in need, and as I floundered my first couple of days on the job, she took pity on me, and put me under her protection. She eventually decided I wasn’t half bad.
These two pivotal experiences in my life, I think, in part, explain why I write the way I do. Every character in SIDEKICK makes offensive and/or stereotyped assumptions about every other character in my book. They do so in such an over the top way that, I hope, they are both shocking and uncomfortably funny. The plan, however, is for these characters to get to know each other on a deeper level…and then form a Scooby Gang and save the world. Bremy St. James, my stereotyped dumb, blonde, rich girl is offensive. She is meant to be offensive. But my hope is that her offensiveness is forgivable because it is based on ignorance and she possesses a willingness to learn.
I can only write in a way that reflects my experiences/point of view of the world. Sometimes I will get it right. Other times I will not. I would like to say that I do hope people relate to where I’m coming from, but I appreciate that that is not within my control.
Thanks for reading!