Thursday, August 28, 2014

Perceptions....what you see isn't ALWAYS what you get.

It's been a while since I've posted. In my defense I was writing my new book. Roses Are Red...Violet Is Dead is about a half Native American named Violet who is being stalked.

But you see, her actual race isn't important. The ONLY reason it needs to be brought up at ALL is the mere fact that Violet's stalker has broken out many cliches he think is Native American and is using them to get her attention. "Oh, look! I know your plight. I know your culture. You want to know me." But, of course as in real life that isn't really true. Let's back this up for a moment. Violet is a typical teenager. She's snarky, worried about the future, and has a thing for caffeinated beverages. She's also typical in that her race doesn't always define her. Her friends, her activities, her sense of self are what defines her. But, I won't get into that quite yet. There's going to be more to come on the mechanics of Violet and her story. :D

Little known fact about me: My brother and I were adopted. Both of us have Native American in our background. Our adoptive parents had to sign away our rights as Native Americans to be able to adopt us. Back then I didn't know what that meant. Now, even as an adult I'm not really well versed on the whole thing. I just know that from what I've been told, I'm a part of the Blackfoot tribe. And unfortunately, I know as much about that as I would about being able to perform brain surgery, in space, on a tutu wearing hippo.

You may have been reading so far and wondering what my point is. Everything seems a tad disjointed and rambling. Here it is. Someone in the publishing industry was looking to get some stories on people of color. I'd asked if Violet and her crew were what they were looking for. The response I got? "I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable with white people writing about Native Americans." Now....who's judging who?

With all of this hullaballoo in the news about race and how it matters, I find it odd that someone would discriminate against my book simply because I'm perceived to be all white. It feels like it should be the punchline to a bad joke. But, no. It's not.

Years and years ago I'd created a saying "perception is 9/10ths of the law". Yes, I know that in the real phrase it's possession. But bear with me here for a moment. This particular professional chose to not read my work because I was perceived to be completely white. So, perception won out. A few days ago my brother posted a little video on Facebook about the beers at a local sporting arena. If you ordered the small, you got a short stout cup. If you ordered the large you got a large tall cup.'s where everything goes awry. When someone poured one cup to another BOTH cups have the exact same amount of fluid in them. Isn't that a kicker. You order what you THINK to be a large but it turns out to have the same exact amount of beer in it as the small. This particular sporting area preyed upon your PERCEPTION. You perceive that a large should have more than a small, so you'll spend the extra $2-5 to buy the large. They're making money hand over fist. (Yeah, I'm still in a bit of WOW about that....), the biggest moral of my story. For the most part, with me, what you see is what you get. Except when it comes to my race. My ruddy flammable complexion (read that as so white skinned you can use me to navigate movie seats from the glow emanating off of my lily white skin), my green eyes, and my (my actually natural) blonde hair make people think that I'm all white (thank you Clairol for helping me not be a monochromatic palette). Irish maybe. (Yes, I have many many freckles) But I'm more than that initial perception of me. There's Blackfoot running under the surface. In your day to day life, take a moment to look beyond your initial perception. You might find something you hadn't expected. After all, it really IS that perception is 9/10ths of the law. :D

As always, be good to each other and keep #wordmongering.