Zadie Smith, Their Eyes Were Watching God: What Does Soulful Mean? (via sluteatingtree)
Not to mention how outright hostile and defensive and delusional white readers get when a character is “revealed” to be chromatic. It’s as if they feel they’ve been tricked, because they relate to that character; once the character turns out to be black, or brown, the white reader resents not having been warned of this through the usual literary stereotypes, if not outright disclosure at the very beginning. Some unspoken pact of popular Western literature has been broken here. Why did they waste all that emotion and investment on somebody who isn’t white, as they assumed the character was?
But on the other hand — oh, what it feels like to be reading about engaging people doing fantastical things, assuming that they’re all white since most of the time adventures only happen to white people — and to suddenly, shockingly, gloriously find out that for once, the wonderful people look just like you.