Dispatches from the wilds of Proseambique – Perspective

X is not having a particularly good day. X, it should be pointed out, is a woman or similar minority character. The author has been guilted into writing a story from the perspective of X, on account of the paucity of such stories in literature. But the author is self-centred, his imagination limited. What would it be like, being a woman or similar minority character?

The task is made more difficult by decades of indoctrination that we are all equal. This equality does not, apparently, mean sameness, but this is a paradox that has never been fully addressed.

There is the possibility that we are all naturally the same, but subjected to different treatment over the course of our lives. Thus we can be the same but different.

But can the author write a perspective based on experiences they have not had? This is the domain of imagination, certainly – but can they do so without being patronising? Can they do it without getting the perspective utterly, embarrassingly wrong? The author cannot help but think of laughably inaccurate descriptions of faraway lands by ancient authors. Of centuries of casual racism thought reasonable. Of pale faces in medieval tapestries of the middle east. Of portraits of Caesar in plate-mail. Of scientific proclamations of the impossibility of flight. The author is uncertain, and uncomfortable in that uncertainty.

But one should always go towards that which makes them uncomfortable. That way is the way to growth.

Baby steps, perhaps, are key.

So X looks out the window, at the rain trickling down from the dull grey sky. X sighs. The minute hand ticks on, ever closer to 5 o’clock. X sips at their tea, and feels a little better. The day has not been particularly good, but at least it is almost over.

Thank god.

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Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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