HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

Are racism, cultural bias, personal prejudice, and/or life experience coloring our reading preferences?

Following on the racism discussions, I want to share something that I’ve been pondering for the longest time.

See, I have realized that I tend to avoid books wherein any of the main characters are Latino, particularly Mexican. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I can’t buy the cultural makeup the writer is laying down for those characters. More than once I’ve been overheard saying, “Cojones, dammit, not cajones!!!” or “hispanos are human beings, not a different species!”

Which is funny, because what I sometimes take to be stereotypical representation may in reality come from the author’s life expereince. Case in point: Karen Templeton’s character Félix in Baby I’m Yours. I had trouble with him because I thought he was a stereotypical Latino man based on things like George López or what have you. Turns out Ms Templeton based Félix on a number of actual people she knows in New Mexico where she lives.


So am I being racist in reverse? Am I actually assuming—with all the attendant asshattery—that no one can properly write Mexican or Latino characters that I can relate to?

And what about the fact that I won’t touch inspirational or self help books no matter what? Am I being a close-minded, biased, prejudiced so-and-so?

Or perhaps I simply know myself well, and know that if I do crack one of those open I’ll spend the time grumbling—if not flat out cursing—in annoyance?