Now when I say offensive, I have no desire to be shot down in flames as the next Nick Griffin. I hold no apology to those who follow his views, but I consider myself as an open person when it comes to culture and race.
By all means, the term offensive does not cover race or colour alone, offence is something that encompasses all forms of offence. In fact, I shall scratch the word offence, and replace it with discrimination.
As fantasy writers, we cherry pick many cultures and lifestyles of our worlds history, in order to complete a fitting and justified world in which our stories can unfold. However, we are often concerned about the people we may (or may not) offend. There have been plenty examples of this, both in reality, and in fantasy.
On one side, you could argue that Tolkien considered black people were evil (as Orcs) , or are 'tribal in nature’, only banding with other tribes under the common banner of chaos. The other school would see his works as taking a shot at Germany, and the relentless effort they gave during the war. If you as a reader researched Tolkien, you have long discovered this is not the case.
Tolkien was very hard pushed to place Orcs as a relentless race; hence the horrid whip of the nine and the dark lord as a stick, rather than a carrot.
With Tolkien in mind (and I promise to move away from Tolkien) we have Hobbits, and the other side of the coin. We can all relate to a calm, cool and quiet county side as being a picture of goodness and what is right in the world, Hobbits embrace and breathe this very notion. However, are we to say little people are simple and easily pleased? I should jolly well hope not!
Moving from Tolkien I move to Anne Mccaffrey, Author of Pern and Arcorna. In my opinion, these novels swing in the opposite direction. I agree the veil between males and females needs to be torn down. If anyone said I believed different, I’d go as far as giving them a firm slap in the face. Now this is my own opinion, but I do find that her machine gun stance against the male agenda more than overtakes the enjoyment of the story at hand. In an example, with the first book of Acorna, it seems all female slaves look out for each other, while the male slaves screw over the female slaves for butter with their bread. Any woman considered evil has male like outer features and is often accompanied by a male who is heartless and out to make profit. I still encourage people to read these books, despite my complaints, I found myself reading four novels of the Acorna series.
Now I am not saying we should throw these values aside. Personally, I am 100% for equally and representation in written media. In fact, this draws on the point I am making. What is more offensive; having a black person in your story or removing black people altogether? I hate to pick on racial issues at this point, but from recent post; this seems to be the case.
Throwing the ball into the other side of the court, I’ll pass you over to religion. A lot of the western world practices (or believes in) Christianity, Judaism or Catholicism. They seem to be a no go area in modern media. I demand that any reader right now would conclude that I have no intention to take away his or her beliefs. That is their right as much as any. It would be wrong of me to do that, as well as hypocritical of the very point I am pursuing to make.
If I must boil down to a point, it is this. Is it nor more offensive, to place someone out of a story, rather than have them included within; through fear of upsetting a few who would believe you are attacking them? Personally I would rather push the boundaries of society and bring these issues to question, rather than side-lip them and do them an injustice.
Now I imagine many of you are thinking “well, what this person knows about prejudice?” That is a very good question in regards to this matter. I am transgender (M2F) and yes, I get prejudged when it comes to jobs, being served common goods such as alcohol and tobacco. I even get turned down at my local bars during football season. I find these people offensive, not fictional works.
This is only the tip of the ice as they say. I encourage any persons here within to speak for or against this short presentation.