mine:creatures

Pregnant Jewish Teen kicked out, and Angels of Color = Cultural Erasure?

Hi! I have two questions to ask.

I’m writing a book in which two teenage girls live in a small fictional town in Alabama.  The main character is a white protestant queer girl. Her best friend is a conservative jewish girl (still figuring out her sexuality) named Dalia. Dalia and her parents are the only jewish people in the town, and they commute to their synagogue (its mentioned that they have more family in Birmingham). 

The book establishes that Dalia is essentially the best person in the whole town, meaning she is more patient, kind, less corrupt than anyone else.  She does have flaws of course, she fears being a burden and tends to be a little impulsive. Anyway, Dalia’s dad is Ashkenazi and i was thinking her mom is Sephardi from Turkey, and immigrated to America earlier in her life.  

Dalia does get pregnant at 17, and hides the pregnancy for a little while. She does know exactly who the father is (a teenage boy who isn’t in the story) and when it is revealed that she is pregnant her parents are very angry, and kick her out of the house (i also planned for one of her parents to hit her in the face, but i dont have to write that). Dalia does intend to go live with her relatives in Birmingham, who are aware of her pregnancy and are fine with it, but ends up not going because of plot events. 

There is also an Angel who takes a male form, but really has no concept of gender.  I know i dont want him to be white because of the white=pure=holy connotation of that. The problem is he’d be completely separate from any culture of the race he’d be presenting, because he’s an angel and is simply using a random corporeal form.  

So, is Dalia’s situation with her parents in anyway coming off as anti semitic/painting immigrants as being backwards and inherently sexist/abusive?

And, is someone adopting a form with an ethnicity but being totally disconnected from any connecting culture racist? 

Wait, you’re writing a story where a Jewish mom and dad kick out their teenage daughter for being pregnant? That strikes me as a little… “look over here at this marginalized culture! don’t they treat their young girls badly?” I mean, I’m sure getting kicked out for a teen pregnancy has happened to someone Jewish somewhere but I haven’t seen it, personally. 

Could they maybe be overprotective instead? Stop letting her go out with her friends, refuse to give her any freedom? That would do away with the “where did this author even GET this” in my head, although it would still paint us as More Backward. 

If you’re not Jewish yourself this becomes even more awkward.

Shira

>> is someone adopting a form with an ethnicity but being totally disconnected from any connecting culture racist? 

Well, these are non-human beings that just look like humans, right? I’d assume angels have their own culture of sorts and it’s not necessarily erasure when it’s a being that isn’t even from earth. We’ve talked extensively on disconnecting PoC from their cultures and the erasure that is, but having a non-human being that simply appears as a Person of Color so doesn’t have the associated culture(s) is alright with me personally and is not the same. 

Now, if they switched between races at leisure that would feel like dress-up and is a whole different story. Also, please assure they’re not being a certain race because they just think it’s cool or interesting (see: Androids, Black Culture & Appropriation).

But if pale and white angels don’t need a reason for existing, why do Black and brown angels need one? It helps to also have human PoC of the same coded race in Angels who do have (human) cultures, though.

Here’s a discussion Shira and I also happened to write on how to differentiate species from similar-looking human ones. See: Differentiating Black-skinned Species from Black people.

–Mod Colette