What Do You Think? Formerly Racist Hero

I read an article a while back regarding the issue of racism in IR romances. I don’t remember the name of the article or I would link it. One of the points it made was that in pretty much all the IR romances, any misgivings in regard to race are usually the heroine’s. This makes sense to me. Having dated and married interracially myself there is something that is distinctly unromantic about a hero with those type issues. Though, in real life, I know of at least two cases where former skinheads have gone on to marry black women. Pamela Leigh Starr has a former racist as a hero in her book, Ironic. As much as I like Starr, she’s an incredibly talented writer even though her books have no sex, this didn’t work for me.

How do you feel about this theme? I guess some might see it as a commentary on the power of love, and I so get that, but still… And how about something less virulent? What about a hero who previously rejected the heroine because of racial issues, but has now matured? I’ve seen a lot of this in real life. White dudes who didn’t pursue a black woman because they feared the consequences, but now has now had a change of heart. Usually I look at these guys with disdain because most of the time their first (white) wife has gotten all their money, their kids are grown and they don’t even have viable sperm, but they expect to use white privilege to acquire a hot, young black woman. But what if he was still relatively young and physically attractive and hadn’t lost his draws in a divorce? Would that still creep you out? Holla!

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11 thoughts on “What Do You Think? Formerly Racist Hero

  1. I ran across a story like this a couple of years ago while I was searching for some new IR romance books to read and add to my collection I don’t know how old this book is but it maybe the same book. I almost bought it because I was curious of how the plot would be, but on the look inside I got to the third page and I changed my mind about the purchase. In IR reads I think the herione having racial issues is more realistic, because it’s usually how it is for real having dated interracially and now about to be married. A hero rejecting the heroine because of racial issues doesn’t work for me personally but to each it’s own. Although I have seen some white men who are attracted to black women, but will not cross into that territory because they worry about what and how society will view them. Then on the flip side of that my fiance’ and I have white male friends who would love to date blackwomen but, they always say when they see a blackwoman who they would like to approach they give them this look and they change their minds. I was like” ok what is the look actually?” so Brad is constantly the man they turn to because he is engaged to a blackwoman for advice He tells them I fell inlove with the woman not because she’s black, but because of the person she is. It’s a very funny world we live in. It can be a headache sometimes. Well that’s my views on the topic anyway. This would be a great one for a blog/chat session.

  2. I think if it wasn’t a romance in the purest sense of the genre then perhaps it would work, but I don’t want to read about a formerly racist hero. Totally kills the mojo.

  3. I read it, and yeah…you do have a point. I read it because it was kinda of a series , so I wanted to read them all, but it did take something to read.

  4. I wanted to read Ironic when it came out but never got the chance to. Since then I’ve read one story with a formerly racist hero and I’ve decided I would never read another romance book with similar themes again. I don’t like it. I know romance books require at least some suspension of belief but I’m just not comfortable with IR featuring formerly racist heroes. Whether as a testament to the power of love or something else, they ignore the reality in which racist men marry, ‘love’ and have children with women of colour.

    …But what if he was still relatively young and physically attractive and hadn’t lost his draws in a divorce? Would that still creep you out?

    No, it wouldn’t creep me out but it’d annoy me. At the same time I may be willing to accept the ‘folly of youth’ excuse, this would depend on the character and how the writer pulled it off.

  5. Openly racist….no. Like Karen said, would kill my mojo, BUT, if maturity turns you on to something different, then: YES!. It happens. I can attest to it. Maturity brings out (generally) the best and lasting in us…….

  6. I’m not sure if I’d want to read about a Racist hero either. I agree with Karen as well. It would take something away from the story.

  7. I wouldn’t wanna read about an ex-racist either unless the author can do some darn good convincing that he has really changed. Still it would be hard for me to buy because most minority women would not wanna date a man who used to be a racist. I mean, how do you know it’s possible to really change? That’s like a zebra changing their stripes. They say anyone can change but this is one of those times when it would take a lot of action and less words for me to believe a man changed from being a racist.

    I also would be peed off if the author only used it as some plot device and didn’t delve into it deeply or show this transformation. It can’t just be something thrown out there to sell as a HEA romance. No. That won’t cut it. These people will have to have issues and problems and not just thrown together then everything becomes paradise. A story like this has to be done realistically and well or I wouldn’t wanna read it.

    But I don’t know. I would have to see how well the author pulled it off and it would have to be convincing but I would rather not read about some ex-racist portrayed as the “hero”.

    I might be wrong but I don’t think a lot of IR readers would want to read it. They read these books to escape and to not have to worry about the racism aspect. Now in another genre, yeah. Say it was written as contemporary fiction and not simply an IR romance. It could work but I don’t think the majority of the IR audience would wanna read something like this. I just don’t think so.

    Especially if it comes off like the man is being glorified for being an ex-racist in terms of a plot device.

  8. I come from the South (Southern pride and all) and I will say this, I have never seen a person who was raised as a racist change. Never. Now I have seen folks who weren’t racist in the beginning but hung around people who were racist, started acting like them, then changed because they know it was wrong. But these folks were not raised to be racist so that’s a difference. I’ve also seen folks who have had weird views toward race but they were not so much racist but misguided and prejudice. It’s a difference between racism and prejudice.

    Racism is a hatred for someone because of the color of their skin or race. Prejudice is when you have opinions of a race that are either stereotypical, etc. Just because someone is prejudice or has prejudice thoughts does not mean they are racist. I think in some aspects we all are prejudice when it comes to things we aren’t exposed to or don’t understand.

    But I’ve never seen a racist raced as a racist from childhood with it imbedded in them from birth and their entire family is racist, changing. I don’t know if it’s possible. Not saying it can’t or hasn’t happened but that would take changing a person’s entire foundation and I don’t know if that’s possible. Once we’re raised a certain way, we rarely change.

    The thing with a true racist is they don’t believe they are wrong! They don’t think they are hating people. They think they are doing the right thing and the minorities are the enemy. How can someone like that change?

    And also I mentioned being from the South to say, some places here do have racists but no more than other places and I am tired of that stereotype people have about Southerners.

  9. See everyone feels pretty much the way I do. I wish I knew the author. I’d be interested to see what type feedback she got from that story. I’m gigling at the notion of even trying to pitch it to an editor. Of course, it came from Genesis. I’m pretty sure the concept would send a white editorvrunning into the night.
    It’s funny, Crystal Hubbard challenged me to write a male stripper hero, and the other day she finally conceded thatvitvcannot be done. One author had a male prostitute hero, but it was a historical and he was left at a bordello as a baby. Either of those themes seem easier.
    What if the hero was raised by racist parents, but saw the light once he got away from them?

  10. Well said Stacy-deanne!

    Roslyn- A friend of mine was raised by a racist father. Both parents were in the household, but the father taught them to be racists. My friend was the middle brother and did not agree with his dad. To say the least, he was in trouble a lot for playing with minority children. He taught his younger brother not to be that way, but the oldest brother followed in their dads footsteps.

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