Writing in response to accusations of sexism, Greg Rucka deals with dealing with minorities when you’re in the majority:
The list of the vile deeds I’ve perpetrated on male characters in fiction is legion, certainly much longer than the list of like cruelty I’ve rained down upon female characters. But no one has ever told me to lay off the guys. No one, at least not to my face, as accused me of “hating the men-folk.” (Though I’m sure there’s at least a half-dozen out there.)
I am reminded of an editor at Marvel telling me that a certain well-regarded (and outspokenly conservative, and, in my opinion, reactionary and sexist) writer/artist felt I was a chauvinist who hated women because of my treatment of Elektra. It’s the same thing here again — this double-standard that says female characters should be allowed only highs, and not lows; that they should be spared harm, and treated with kid gloves. When we say that we have to treat women differently than we treat men, when we ignore the social realities of what it means to be female versus what it means to be male, that’s sexism, kids. We live in a world where women are treated worse than men — where they are abused and attacked and degraded on the basis of their gender alone. It’s wrong, and it’s vile, and it’s evil, but it’s the truth, and refusing to recognize the same in fiction leads to dishonest fiction, and that’s bad writing.
The extension of such thinking leads to stories with black characters that never acknowledge racism, to stories with Jewish characters that never acknowledge Antisemitism, to gay characters that never deal with homophobia. Think that through. These are elements that comprise character; they are not character alone. Saying Renee Montoya is gay is true, but hardly the point — it’s simply part of who she is. Saying John Henry Irons is black is true, but again, part of who he is. But for both of those characters, it influences their identity, it is part of who they are. It cannot be ignored; when it is relevant to their stories, it must be acknowledged — otherwise, the fantasy that is their fiction(s) becomes, in my eyes, hollow and irrelevant.