Why we need to build more diverse worlds in fiction. A lot of what this article has to say seems to be about 'people of colour'. Let me quote.
'Fictional worlds that prioritize the representation and reflection of
the lives of people of color is vital; for just like anyone else,
says sci-fi/fantasy author Kirk Johnson, people of color “hunger to see
[themselves] as heroic figures, desperate parents, star-crossed lovers,
or battle-weary outcasts.”'
Yes. True. Here at Spacefreighters we've talked about diversity many times, including how difficult it is for authors who are people of colour to gain recognition. I don't dispute that, not for a moment. But just right now, I want to concentrate on ME. Because I learned that lesson long ago.
My Morgan Selwood stories are NOT about white, anglo-saxon communities. The Manesai - the 'aliens' Morgan encounters - are not Caucasian. Not one of them. Every single one is dark skinned. Their society is based on the Indian caste system. The overall concept is "a place for everyone, and everyone in their place". That, of course, is idealistic in the extreme, and every caste is itself layer upon layer of privilege. Modern day India is full of examples of extreme wealth and extreme poverty, and also instances where people have overcome the restrictions of that society. But one of those restrictions is not skin colour.
Morgan herself isn't dark skinned. But she sure as hell isn't white. I've mentioned before that I think "white" people will become increasingly rare unless they are isolated from those with darker skins, and we'll all end up looking like Brazilians. When we head for the stars, the same sorts of things will happen. In a mixed society you might end up with a rainbow of skin colours. But if a colony is created using one particular sub-type, you'll end up with something like my Manesai. They might all be the same colour, but that doesn't mean they don't find other ways to break themselves up into tribes.
So if you're looking for a strong, Alpha hero with dark skin and a battle cruiser, don't go past Admiral Ashkar Ravindra, the son of an admiral, grandson of an admiral and (no doubt) father of an admiral. If you'd like a short introduction you might like Ink. It's a tale of Ravindra just before he joins the Fleet Academy. Ravindra has a tattoo, you see. But admirals don't have tattoos. That's the cover at top left. And here's the blurb.
Life's good for 18-year-old Ashkar Ravindra. School's over, and he's
been accepted into the Fleet Academy. There's time for one last trip up
into the mountains in the brand new flitter his father gave him as a
graduation present, before his real life, the one he's been groomed for
from the day he was born, begins in earnest.
Up in the mountains not everyone is pleased to see the privileged
admiral's son. Jealousy and ulterior motives turn the pleasant hunting
trip into an ordeal. Lives are a stake. If Ashkar makes the wrong
decision, he will be the first to die.
Ravindra grows up to earn his admiral's insignia. You'll find out all about him as the man in charge in Morgan's Choice. This link will take you to the series information.
But I'm not the only one who has written racially diverse SFR stories. Science fiction is such a wonderful genre for "diverse" stories. I particularly enjoyed Elizabeth Moon's books Rules of Engagement and Once a Hero, from the Serrano series. She paints a picture of worlds colonised by splinter groups. In our SFR niche, SJ Pajonas writes SFR with a decidedly Japanese flavour. PJ Dean writes racially diverse books. Please feel free to suggest others in the comments. I know SFR is much more diverse than it is given credit for.