Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Perceptions of Race

I found this quote:

"It's nice to play a character who's written as a mixed race character and is not a drug addict."
-- Howard Charles

And it reminded me how differently I think than most people do, because it would never occur to me to stack up that kind of a pattern in characterization.  I know other people do it, as a sort of discontinguous experiment, but to me it just seems bizarre.  I have dozens, if not hundreds, of mixed-race characters.  I have a handful who are addicted to something or other.  The main one I can think of is African-American, although Blainn is pretty stuck on huffing paint and he's white.

If I'm writing about a particular place, I tend to look up what groups of people live there -- the racial demographics, the languages, the religions, and so on.  It gives variety.  If I'm writing about a group of people, I tend to check what their key issues are.  But I also try to write across a spectrum.  Not everyone in a culture will be interested in all its issues, or live in the same place.  So I always aim to show as much diversity as I can.  I have black and mixed-race characters with nappy hair, straightened hair, naturally straight or slightly wavy hair, wildly curly loosely nappy hair, updos, buzzcuts, assorted braids, dreadlocks, you name it.

If you can only think of one character, I think you're not much of a writer.  And if your whole entertainment field looks like that, I'm really unimpressed.

Also, if anyone has a trait or a group or whatever that they feel is overlooked or maligned, feel free to ask for it in any relevant prompt call and I'll write you a thingie.  Unlike most folks, it doesn't take me 20-30 years to figure out what to do with a trait-having character, I never have the patience to slog through all the boring parts.  I just make them a hero and get on with it.
Tags: entertainment, ethnic studies, reading, writing

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