Character who hates their ancestry

In short a character who, in their universe hates the ethnic group in which they belong. It does not matter whether they are a minority or majority in their given nation.

It doesn't matter (for the scope of the question) why the character hates its group. This character could feel that their people are guilty for a great sin or that they could be blamed as the victims.

I want to hear what you guys might have to say on the matter.


Sorry everyone, I guess I should have specified ancestry instead of race and of course rephrased my question. I guess I should be specifying the problems that I'm thinking about. I just want an Nth opinion here is all. I am aware that race is some nebulous term that shouldn't have been used then. I should have known better.

  • Writing a character like this without seeming to take any stance in the story just yet about whether their opinion is understandable.
  • When they speak out about their thoughts I would like the audience to empathize at least somewhat with their feelings about it and not call them out too early.

Side Note:

My character is supposed to be a bit of a hypocrite displaying casual racism and not necessarily being called out for it.

  • Is there a question here? I answered the question "how do you write a character who hates their own race? " but rereading I see that you never actually asked that. Solicitations of opinion are off topic, you should reword this to ask the question you want answered. – Arcanist Lupus Nov 15 '18 at 6:53
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    You may want to study a bit what the concept of race is and has been through time. From wikipedia: "although still used in general contexts, race has often been replaced by less ambiguous and loaded terms: populations, people(s), ethnic groups, or communities, depending on contex". Does your character hates his population? His ethnic group? His religious context? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_categorization) – Liquid Nov 15 '18 at 9:11
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    Also, your example "like the Germans or like Jews" is not clear. Both are not races in the modern definition, unless you are taking a wide, catch-all interpretation of the term. – Liquid Nov 15 '18 at 9:14
  • Is there a such thing as the "self-loathing whatever"? I only hear this phrase used as an epithet to discredit political views. It's a fallacy: attack on the messenger rather than the message. – wetcircuit Nov 20 '18 at 14:45

Figure out the specifics

It's easy to say that a character hates their race, but what does that mean, exactly?

Do they hate other members of their race? Do they hate their cultural tradions? Do they hate how other races treat them? Why do they hate these things?

These are details that the character themself might not understand. They might just stop at "I hate Ertanthodes" because they're not self aware or introspective. But if you the author understand these details, you can use them to paint a picture of their hated.

  • "Do they hate their cultural tradions?" This is not a valid criterion. I hate all traditions. They are chains restraining common sense. – rus9384 Nov 16 '18 at 6:06
  • @rus9384 just because you hate all traditions doesn't mean that hatred of a specific tradition can't be a defining character trait. – Arcanist Lupus Nov 16 '18 at 6:22
  • I'm saying that hatred to traditions does not imply hatred to people. Just like the opposite (the one who is a fanatic towards traditions might hate people). – rus9384 Nov 16 '18 at 6:44
  • @rus9384 of course not. But for this specific character a hatred of tradition might turn into a hatred of people. My point was about identifying what made this character's hatred unique among all other hatreds. You *shouldn't * be able to generalize my examples. – Arcanist Lupus Nov 16 '18 at 6:53

We are not really supposed to tell people what to write - can’t since writing is so subjective. What I will say is, if I were to essay such a character, I would get in his head and heart and see what I found. I would not have to agree with it, characters can be completely wrong, but I would have to have some touch of understanding of it or have difficulty writing it.

That said, if I created an interesting character who either felt irrational guilt or self-loathing, I would make that part of the character, but certainly not the whole. I would find other traits to balance him or her out since no one is just one thing. Cardboard cutouts tend to be dull and do not withstand the storm, melting in the rain.

I would give said character a few virtues, make him generous, honest and compassionate yet blind to his own hatred of self or so inured to guilt that it is like breathing - a natural and essential part of his life.

I would see him as a human being with flaws, not vile, vicious, evil or weak - just flawed. I would have a few of his idioms, probably mostly internal, reflect his unthinking bias and have him not really notice the root of his actions. Perhaps a caring friend or relative helped to shape him, rendering the flaw not less, just less visible and therefore more insidious.

Regardless of whether I approve of my characters, I always like them and find them interesting, so I would create such a one with shades of grey and swirls of colour.

  • Yeah, sorry for initial lack of clarity. I'm new. – Kennichi Nitta Nov 16 '18 at 0:47

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