Like most people, I have a very core set of beliefs that define who I am. These beliefs define my faith (or faiths, as it were) and direct my moral compass. I like to think that everyone has these beliefs, though they are not all 100% identical to mine. And I will be the first to admit that once in a while, my moral compass behaves very much like the magical compass that Jack Sparrow has in Pirates of the Caribbean. Those are moments that I am not very proud of, however, it happens. There’s nothing that I can do about it, really, except maybe apologize when it’s needed.
Now, these core beliefs, without getting into religious debate, are fairly basic. I don’t advocate violence towards children. I don’t advocate violence towards anyone. I believe in self-reliance. I don’t advocate violence towards animals. I believe that everyone is created equally regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or anything else that you could possibly discriminate against someone with. I believe that everyone deserves the basic necessities for life. I believe that everyone has basic human rights that should be observed at all times.
Pretty basic things.
But I notice that a lot of people don’t seem to have these same moral compass points. I am reminded today of this by the “outrage” over a specific character in the movie adaptation of “The Hunger Games” who was cast as a black child actor. Apparently, people were angry because they all envisioned this person as “angelic” which apparently translates to “blonde hair, white skin, blue eyes” or something similar. In the book (I have not read it, but I read the excerpt) this character was described as having “dark skin” or something similar to that description.
To me, that denotes darker than Aboriginal or Middle Eastern. Typically of African heritage.
I am aghast and disgusted by this outrage. When did it matter? When did our society get so bigoted? Are we going to regress back to segregation? Are we gonna start discriminating against the Irish next?
I’ll admit that I have written characters with shaky morals. I have written some hurtful things IN CHARACTER. I have created, in my mind, horrible situations for people to be put in. I have written many of these things and have hoped to get certain bits of this work published.
But I wrote it in a work of fiction.
Does that make it okay? No.
Am I ashamed about it? No.
Do I believe any of what I wrote? HELL no.
I feel that we have to face our darkness if we ever expect to reach enlightenment. I have difficulty reading certain things. And I have more trouble writing them. Extreme violence is one. Racism is another. But I have pushed myself in order to grow as a writer. I still don’t advocate it, but strife and conflict is what makes stories interesting.
Maybe, we ought to look at what really makes us tick and consider our beliefs a little more before we begin to pass judgement on others for being different.