One of my MCs is an African American professional who suffers anxiety attacks brought on by the stress of his career. The roots of his emotional problems are explored, and in a nutshell, those roots are in his childhood on the mean streets of Philadelphia. He resisted the call of the street and was a good student and good citizen--but that meant to the gang-bangers, etc., he was an Oreo.
The plot calls for him to return to inner-city North Philly and interact with his bad-boy younger brother.
Here's the situation I'm in: I've pitched this to about ten agents, and got the standard (in some cases, instant) rejections. But two agents were kind enough to offer a brief critique. BOTH wrote that the MS may contain racial stereotypes.
I've read several novels that feature characters from parts of the country known for distinct dialects/accents (the inner city, the deep South, New England), and most characters speak as though they are Midwestern college students: ("JaMarcus and I were only planning to rob him. That's when the shooting began.")
When I read that, I want to scream, "aw come on!" People from said regions of the USA almost certainly don't talk like that.
One published writer on another forum pointed out that the rule is to use standard, readily-understood English, and let the reader add the dialect in his/her mind.
What do you think?