Hate, Bigotry, and Writing About It

As of right now my book opens with a young boy harassing another because he is Jewish.

I’m writing about a time in Germany where Antisemitism was not yet the law of the land, but was still widespread. The story is set in a place where it is historically documented to be very deeply felt, and almost undoubtedly on public display. I’ll need to portray several characters that display varying degrees of bigotry and hate, and they’ll need to be more than just cardboard and slogans.

But even as I write the book, I wonder: since it will be labeled fiction, will I be criticized for this? I don’t really care: there’s a story to tell, and bigoted and hateful people played a tremendous part in it. That’s a fact, and telling the whole story (or even an approximation) means portraying those people.

The battle over “political correctness” and the right to never be offended is marked by two very extreme sides. On one side we have Trump and his ilk who proudly parade their bigotry and wear any criticism as a badge of courage and validation. On the other we have those who want to decorate the world with rounded edges and padded walls to protect everyone from contrary opinions and “microaggressions.”

This video covers my opinion rather well.

Leave a Reply