Thank you to Jade and Vikram for responding to this post. I enjoyed reading both perspectives on these topics.
My opinion? To the first question about multiculturalism I'd like to throw an additional bit to ponder. I recently attended the Tesoros
(Treasures) traveling exhibit of art from Latin America currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
. This exhibit contains artwork demonstrating that in the 1900s immigrants from China, Spain, and Africa all lived in Latin American countries. As an American I found this fascinating because I think, sometimes, we forget that the concept of a "melting pot" isn't unique to the United States but is a truth that exists for all countries.
The concept of borders conjures images of invisible walls that prevent us from moving to another location. The reality is that the moment a human became curious and decided to see what existed beyond the horizon or over a mountain, the possibility of cultures intermixing existed.
I don't say this to minimize the current challenges that exist in Europe or within any country but to add a different perspective on the topic.
In terms of the second question, I agree with Ms. Smith. Characters should be created to be full of life, not to stereotype a group, ethnicity, community, etc. All writers are tasked to create characters that live on the page and in the reader's mind. Hence why there are so many workshops on character development.
Thank you again to Vikram and Jade for responding. I'd still love to hear additional perspectives on these two topics.