This is very interesting! http://unuttered-questions.tumblr.com/post/155605282181/gingersnapwolves-transcthulhu-dabe-strudel
As a (white, straight) writer, I’ve found myself becoming more aware of my characters and how I create them over the years--due in no small part to Tumblr and its like (never let it be said that online activism doesn’t have an effect). And I’ve found it goes both ways for me.
For instance, I’ve got a original/non-fanfic story going where I started out with two white main characters. And when it finally dawned on me that there was no reason they had to be white, I took another look at them both.
My heroine, the focus of my story--she was easy to change. Her characterization was very fixed in my head, but I could alter her race without issue (helped along, certainly, by the fact that it’s a fantasy world and she doesn’t have to be a minority as such).
My hero--not so much. For whatever reason, my brain simply would not let me alter him. He was short, white, and blond, and the moment I tried to change that, it killed the story dead.
I have no idea why.
So I changed the heroine and her city and her culture, and probably improved the story thereby.
The same thing happened a few years ago during NaNoWriMo; I changed one character's appearance--not even his race, just his height and hair--and the story was dead in the water. It's weird. My brain is a mysterious place.