Inclusivity In Storytelling: Why I’m Against It

Inclusivity: An intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial and sexual minorities.

When I say “I am against inclusitivity,” what I mean is this: I am against the notion that all stories must be inclusive.

What do I mean by that?

I mean this:

I’ve been asked “Why not include a ___ character in your story?”

That’s a good question: Why shouldn’t I have ___ characters, ___ characters, or ___ characters in my story?

My answer is: Because a story with ___ characters is not the kind of story I want to tell.

When it comes to the stories I write, the quality of the story is my #1 priority: I will not sacrifice my vision on the altar of political correctness.

A thought experiment:

Imagine that you are in a horrific accident and are rushed to the Emergency Room in order to undergo life-saving surgery.

Before you are put under anesthesia, your lawyer informs you that you have the right to choose the doctor who does the surgery.

Your choices are:

  1. A notorious sexist who has never lost a patient in the 20 years they have been on the job.
  2. A newly-certified doctor with a non-shady past who was hired by the hospital earlier that week.

One of these doctors has a better chance of keeping you alive than the other.

So, which one would you choose?

I imagine you would choose doctor #1.

Why?

Because: As your blood soaks into your clothes, what matters to you at that moment is not dying.

I see my stories in a similar way.

When I write, I don’t go out of my way to offend people. Offending people is something I never want to do.

But: It’s inevitable that I’ll offend someone.

And when that happens, I have to weigh that person’s criticism with my intent as a writer and ask myself Should I change my story?

And the answer (I hope) would be “No.”

I don’t write a story in order to conform to the current notions of what is proper and respectful.

I write a story to, like an X-ray, expose the broken bones of this imperfect world.

To me, stories are an X-ray: A means of exposing what needs to be exposed, so that a cure may be found.

Eve in the Garden of Eden by Anna Lea Merritt
1885 — Eve in the Garden of Eden by Anna Lea Merritt — Image by © Fine Art Photographic Library/Corbis
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