So, as I’m sure is a surprise to no-one, I’m a United States Citizen in the modern age. (I am not a time traveler.)
But that means that I have certain ingrained culture ideas that come from simply being alive and interacting with people. Being that I lie on the “obsessive” side of comic details. (Consider for a moment I made an ethnic map of Creation and a way to randomize it. ) I often wonder how my ingrained culture affects what I write. Trying to completely ignore anything offensive and telling is…well, telling and offensive in its own right, but then again I don’t want to end up horribly culturally dated/regional, or have characters who are part of a different culture in name only.
The particular example I am thinking of is in regards to the Caste system. In Exalted, the prominent religion is the Immaculate Order, which, among other things states that people are born into a caste, and that people in higher castes are inherently better than those in the lower castes, because they were more virtuous in their past life and earned that position. Social mobility is more than hard to accomplish, it is actively antagonized by every social order (even lower classes will resent higher classes “dropping down” into them.) Now, considering that in this setting reincarnation is a demonstrable fact and there is an entire Bureau of Heaven who deals with this….well, this viewpoint may be entirely accurate.
Now, the inner workings of the Bureau of Reincarnation are vague (probably purposefully so,) so characters disagreeing with this aspect of life are bound to happen–particularly in the non-Dragonblooded Exalts, who by their nature have moved social castes the moment they exalt. But this idea that “all men are not created equal” is still there. It’s not something the characters can just ignore, even if they try really hard.
To both myself and readers who have grown up in a culture that loudly proclaims the opposite (proclaiming it and applying it are vastly different things, sadly…) this could become something of a very distracting subject. So, when writing, I have to careful on how I handle it, there are so many ways it could go wrong. (“Ohohoh, look how comically foreign this silly idea is.” or “Obviously this is the best idea ever, and our ways are so wrong. Watch me sit on my soapbox” or “I AM A WESTERNER INVADING YOUR CULTUREZ!”)
Just musing on it, no real conclusion here, sadly. It’s just many things like that I try to keep in mind when writing.