I'm currently writing a story where one of the characters is a raging racist who hates the fact that the government gives money to the poor and wants us to deport all immigrants and build a giant wall on the border between the US and Mexico. He's an unapologetic, gun toting member of the NRA and doesn't want the government to tell him to do anything. He hates authority and will complain about everything to anyone at anytime.
I have another character, his son actually, who says his father's just a typical right wing, Fox news watching redneck.
To be honest, I'm not sure which character I'm more fearful of being associated with, the bigot or the son who calls his bigoted father a redneck. The reader doesn't know me, doesn't know my views, doesn't know who I am in any way other than what's on the page. I'm sure they can probably see the father as an exaggeration, or something I'm trying to mock, but I'm afraid they might see the son as me, who does mock his father for his views. The truth is, I'm neither but, unless I stop the story to tell the reader, "hey, these are just characters, not me. I mean, they came from my brain but they aren't me. Okay? As long as you understand that I'll let you continue reading the story."
I never write a character wondering if people will confuse me for that character but, if I were honest, I do read stories where I wonder 'is that what the author really thinks?" Guess it's just an occupational hazard.