I have a work in progress with a black hero and a white heroine. In the story I attempted to address some of the issues an interracial couple face. You might ask about my experience with such things. Both of my daughters' significant others are black. When I had the specific scenes written I asked them to read them and comment. Their remarks were that I was actually a little soft on the realities.
One scene in particular dealt with racial epithets and slurs. A short while after completing that section a new set of guidelines were issued by my publisher and some of the words in that scene were... verboten. I did check with the powers that be and was asked to used something else--or just say that racial epithets had been spray painted on the object in the scene.
I put that work away and spent some time thinking about it. It seemed to me that glossing over the horror, hostility and insult would be akin to the difference between describing a sensual act of love or saying simply they made love. I was not going for shock value so much as the reality that men and women suffer because they dare to love someone of another color.
I was discussing this scene with a woman who said to me point blank, "Oh that kind of stuff used to happen in the old days, but not anymore." She's wrong. Every day my grandchildren face individuals who make vicious remarks because they are neither white nor black.
Until we are willing to look at the truth face on, it will continue to be the truth, whether we want to believe that or not. Will that scene be in the book? Probably not. At this point, I believe that the power that drove that scene is gone. The hostility and fear are diluted and therefore, the heroine's demonstration of her love when she stands by her man is less powerful and emotional. It has the feeling of a firecracker that fizzled--not much fire when it blows.
I've revised the story and moved on. And I cannot pretend that my love story would change the world. So I suppose you might wonder why mention it? I guess the answer is simply that I wanted to say that I know that is hasn't gone away. Bigotry and prejudice are still with us in 2008.