I don't remember if it was a writers' conference, a workshop, the Miami Book Fair, some random convention or event I usually attend when I'm bored and/or have some extra cash.
Anyhoo, a gentleman was impressed by the fact I was published and had my own website. He asked what inspired my stories.
I told him I grew up on Greek myth and so, at the time, Tabber the Red (my site), had Greek Mythology* on the Welcome Page. He told me that was surprising, since I'm not Greek.
Huh? What? How did you arrive at that conclusion?
No, I'm far from Greek (I'm 1st Gen Caribbean-American), but what I don't understand is that, as far as I could tell, neither was he.
Yet, I got the impression that had I matched his skin color, this man would never have said such a ridiculous summation to me.
What did being non-Greek have to do with being a lover of storytelling that has lasted through the ages?
I don't like pigeonholes: in high school art, as a girl, I wasn't suppose to draw superheroes.
Instead, I should be creating the fashion art the majority of girls were drawing (one fashion artist even got ticked off when she saw the outfits I created for my characters, and demanded to know how I could draw such outfits - so, she was jealous at how..creative the outfits on cartoon characters were?).
In junior high, I should be drawing still-life instead of cartoons.
In college art courses, an instructor/professor had the nerve to tell me I was too repressed and restrictive, especially when, after completing his assignments, I turned to sketching my own work during free time.
When I decided to take writing seriously, when it no longer became a passing interest, no longer a hobby, but something I wanted to shape my life, there were folks who told me to stop writing about animals, stop living in science fiction world, stop these childish dreams, and focus on reality, and read Urban fiction (you know, because I AM Black).
And let me also mention the English teacher, who, in my first-year of high school, accused me of plagiarism (don't worry, will explain in another post), and a science teacher from my junior high days, a truly dreadful woman, who later showed up at the college I later attended!
Here I was, working at the college bookstore as a cashier, and she, horror of horrors, was the next in line!
Dreadful Teacher: Oh, it's you, Ms. Welsh. You're here. (Because, she could never call us by our FIRST names, as she was mean enough not to make it personal)
Me: Hello, Ms. (Name deliberately omitted). How are you?
Dreadful Teacher: What're you doing here?
Me: I'm majoring in art.
Dreadful Teacher: Oh. THAT again? I thought you gave that up.
I don't know why I wanted to bite her instead of the normal thought of punching her, I guess that was just the so-called 'Furry' in me, but I grinned wide enough as if I was bearing my teeth in a snarl and wished her a nice day.
As human beings, we all have prejudices; we all make snap judgements. We're all flawed.Yes, if we know a person's ethnicity, we can hope to better understand him/her, if we know someone's name, it betters our chances of connecting with him/her.
I get it. What I don't understand is, when a person can just outright BLURT OUT his/her snap judgements at you on the summation of skin color? Or gender? And then on THAT flimsy basis, decide what you must like, what must be your hobbies, what must be your life? And when you completely change that illusion or assumption, YOU, not the person who makes the snap judgement, are the brunt of that person's ire or confusion?
I don't want to understand. I just want to draw what I like. I want to write what I like. So far, some people like it, some love it, and some hate it no matter what. We are entitled to our interests. We are entitled to our opinions.
But please, for those who think you can decide everything about a person just by looking at them, maybe you're in the wrong business.
You should probably do fortune-telling. Yet, even palmists study a person carefully before making a prediction.
*For those who visit 'Tabber the Red', I have since changed 'Greek' Mythology to 'World' Mythology because the Greek stories led me to reading other cultures' myths and folklore.