The AW Amazon Store
Buy books by AWers

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 51 to 75 of 94

Thread: Cultural Appropriation Prize

  1. #51
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    In God I dwell, especially in Eugene OR
    Posts
    7,502
    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    I was delighted when JK Rowling included a Sikh family in The Casual Vacancy. They're the best part of the book. On the other hand, I've mentioned elsewhere in the wilds of AW to avoid Conan Doyle (whose works I otherwise enjoy) if you want to read a good representation of Sikhs.

    I am a white woman of mixed ethnicity raised unchurched humanist (not the same as atheist) who chose to become a Sikh. Is that appropriation? There are those who will tell you it is. But I think I was called.

    Likewise I think we should write as fully a diverse cast of humanity as makes sense for what we write. We should write what we're called to write.

    And to give you guys the other side of the coin: Tess Gerritsen is ethnically American Chinese, Mandarin mother & Cantonese father. (I know that because she was my kindergarten best friend.) AFAIK, only one of her books features Chinese characters in any major capacity. Is that a betrayal? A sell-out? ...Or what she prefers to write?

    Just do your best to get your facts right...and write.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  2. #52
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    333
    I think the key issue is when dealing with people who feel marginalized, usually the root of the problem is far more complicated than what rises from twitter and the media. Both sides of the issue have valid points and concerns since silencing a writers voice and the freedom to write stories that aren't their own may lead to further restrictions. Maybe the issue shouldn't be about "white" writers writing stories that aren't their own but not enough writers of diverse backgrounds are being published.
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs" ~Stephen King~
    WIP #1 YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy (currently stalled, I know I'll figure it out.)
    WIP #2 YA Suspense
    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Mary Angelou~


  3. #53
    practical experience, FTW mccardey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    10,417
    Quote Originally Posted by Jan74 View Post
    I think the key issue is when dealing with people who feel marginalized, usually the root of the problem is far more complicated than what rises from twitter and the media. Both sides of the issue have valid points and concerns since silencing a writers voice and the freedom to write stories that aren't their own may lead to further restrictions. Maybe the issue shouldn't be about "white" writers writing stories that aren't their own but not enough writers of diverse backgrounds are being published.
    But let's not forget to factor in historical privilege. Because really if the argument is going to be built around fairness and silencing, surely the lack of diverse voices comes from a much longer history than the very recent and much-maligned 'PC' thing?

  4. #54
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    333
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    But let's not forget to factor in historical privilege. Because really if the argument is going to be built around fairness and silencing, surely the lack of diverse voices comes from a much longer history than the very recent and much-maligned 'PC' thing?
    I think we'll see an influx of stories being written and told. With social media and the decrease in isolation because of satellites and technology I believe things will change. Look at women in the industry, look how far we've come....it wasn't that long ago we weren't considered "people" we were property, we were marginalized and kept under thumb we had no rights, no voice, but here we are and the literary world is full of women, young, middle aged, older, it's incredible. I know "women" aren't a culture, but it doesn't change our past and where we are now. It doesn't change that an entire group of people because of their sex were considered worthless, we could be traded, institutionalized, jailed, abused, we had zero rights and it's amazing where we are now, it's not perfect. I read a very disheartening blog about a women who changed her pen name to a mans name and the difference in how her work was received was incredible. So we've come a long way but maybe not far enough. Sorry got a little off topic there
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs" ~Stephen King~
    WIP #1 YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy (currently stalled, I know I'll figure it out.)
    WIP #2 YA Suspense
    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Mary Angelou~


  5. #55
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    No longer in Cali :(
    Posts
    4,618
    Quote Originally Posted by Jan74 View Post
    I think the key issue is when dealing with people who feel marginalized, usually the root of the problem is far more complicated than what rises from twitter and the media. Both sides of the issue have valid points and concerns since silencing a writers voice and the freedom to write stories that aren't their own may lead to further restrictions. Maybe the issue shouldn't be about "white" writers writing stories that aren't their own but not enough writers of diverse backgrounds are being published.
    Actually, the issue isn't "about white writers writing stories that aren't their own"...not for me, at least. It's about white writers writing stories that aren't their own and refusing to do it in a responsible and respectful way which acknowledges that they are borrowing from other cultures. I'm always happy for people to use my culture(s) as an inspiration or influence or whatever, but when they do so without doing their homework and/or consulting people who from that culture, the results can be harmful.

    Even here on THIS VERY THREAD, which I believe was started with good intentions, not to mention on AW, which I think is one of the most progressive sites I have come across...even here, you can see posters coming in and turning the entire thing into a joke, and dismissing something which is a very real issue for many of us. And I get it...it's complicated and tiring, and it's much easier to *handwave, handwave, make flippant joke, forget about it*. But if we turn it around for a second and use your example of women as the marginalized group instead of PoCs, I think it becomes apparent how fucking offensive some of the posts here are.

    For example...just think, if the subject of this thread had been something to do with writing female characters responsibly instead of treating them as objects, what would you think of these posts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince524 View Post

    What else am I supposed to do? Never write about characters who are straight, white males? Do they have to be middle aged, balding, and severely overweight? (Although down nearly 100lbs.) Must they be KISS fans too?
    Quote Originally Posted by TerzaRima View Post
    Oh, for crying out loud. I want to read a great story. Write what you want and call it good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vince524 View Post
    Wait, what I write has to be good? Crap, I'm really screwed.
    Still funny?
    Kallithrix: "you're like pot noodle - you know it's dirty, unwholesome, trashy drunk food, but.... you just want it in your mouf"

    Wee hippo has a message for everyone: DIIIIIE.

  6. #56
    practical experience, FTW mccardey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    10,417
    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    Still funny?
    Not so funny. And let's remember, it's not just about stories being told, or being written. It's also about expanding places and spaces so that non-privileged voices are published and read. And critiqued. And discussed. And taught. And known.

  7. #57
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Southern hemisphere
    Posts
    187
    This is such an important conversation and raises so many questions about societies that might call themselves 'multicultural' or 'diverse' while overlooking issues of privilege or white supremacy. histories of exclusion and suppression. When I began reading more deeply and widely in African diaspora literature a decade or more ago, I was startled to realise how little I knew about fictions coming out of Ghana, Nigeria or the Congo. I was fluent in French and Portuguese and had studied authors from Kenya, Mozambique, Angola and elsewhere in East Africa, read novels produced by people who had emigrated to the United States, Britain or Europe, so I thought I was familiar enough with most of the tropes and themes, contexts, literary traditions. I wasn't even close.

    What I had to do was 'unlearn' most of my assumptions and listen much harder, talk to writers and readers, immerse myself without limiting preconceptions. One guide I've found in recent years has been the work of Claudia Rankine who poses so many challenges to those trapped in 'whiteness' or 'bubbles of sameness or privilege'. Rankine asks WHY we haven't got to know others who are different, what choices we've made in our lives to stay segregated, surround ourselves with people from teh same background, the same class, the same heteronormative views? How can we find ourselves suddenly wanting to write about people with whom we have never had any significant or meaningful relationship? When we say we 'don't know' any transgender people or black lesbians, the place to start might be is to wonder why I haven't included their work or activism or awareness in my life.

  8. #58
    practical experience, FTW mccardey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    10,417
    This Claudia Rankine? Thank you. Will read.

  9. #59
    Dead. Snitchcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    o,0
    Posts
    4,212
    Cultural appropriation... I'm sure we're all using the same definition? Just to confirm though: I see cultural appropriation as cultural theft. One (who is from a dominant culture) takes what one wants from another culture (often a minority culture as compared to the dominant one), and uses that element out of context and in a way in which it was never intended or is never ever used within its native culture. However, because one took it and is from a dominant culture, one declares that it's okay to use it one's way, therefore, everyone else (including the minority culture's natives) must accept it.

    Case in point: the latest Bruce Lee film took Bruce Lee and turned him into an arrogant minor character in a film about Bruce Lee (the protagonist was a white guy who got the Chinese girl). Anyone who's studied Lee and his philosophy (as well as martial arts) knows that arrogance was never part of Lee's make-up. And the director brushed off all criticisms / call-outs of these facts. That is cultural appropriation, aka, cultural theft. And it's harmful and damaging in so many ways! Such appropriation seeks to destroy a culture's credibility and suppress or subjugate that culture. The rant I could off on here...

    Moving on.

    Quote Originally Posted by DancingMaenid View Post
    I feel like appropriation is more of an issue when people stereotype other cultures or experiences or take what they want from them without doing justice to the people. There's a world of difference between being sincerely influenced or writing diverse characters and, for example, using aspects of indigenous or non-Western cultures to add something "exotic" to your story.

    I've never felt uncomfortable writing characters who come from different backgrounds than me. But I'm interested in being respectful and treating them like realistic people, not stereotypes.
    Yes, I agree: all of this. And the key to doing justice to the culture one borrows elements from is detailed research of that culture. Yes, it takes time, yes it can be boring and challenging, and yes, one will not get all the details right. However! When such research is done, the respect one gains for that culture comes through in the writing. And if one does get elements wrong and is willing to listen and correct when natives point out these things, one becomes more respected in that culture and in general.

    I disagree with people who think that avoiding cultural appropriation means never writing about characters who are outside your radius of experience/identity. That can be an oversimplification that doesn't really address the root problems.
    I concur. Would I prefer non-natives not write about my culture? Of course! But, on the other hand, how am I going to stop them? I don't like it, but I have better things to do with my time (i.e., write my own stories) than police how others write.

    As I said previously: a complicated topic, though fascinating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albedo View Post
    Amusing.

    My point stands, though. I wonder if the cultural ennui that compels some white authors to want to "Get outside your own head. Relentlessly explore the lives of people who arenít like you, who you didnít grow up with, who donít share your background, bank balance and expectations" might be better served by, I dunno, just writing about elves, or something.
    I'm taking this as sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek, but thanks for dismissing very valid concerns and dismissing what I face on a daily basis with my writing. Again: detailed research and the willingness to learn and correct are key to writing about a culture not one's own.

    Quote Originally Posted by WriterDude View Post
    I understand where cultural appropriation comes from, and its a pretty good reason for me to stay away from diversity. I have gay characters and people of colour, but these can only ever be incidental details revealed only by their name, or the name of their partner, but that's as far as I dare go now, and my work is all the poorer for it, but I don't like criticism or confrontation.

    My own culture is rather marginalised now. Coal mines, brass bands and working men's clubs are all but gone, Englishness is nationalism now, apparently, and that's as bad as racism, m'kay. White might well be a position of privilege, but it's not a culture.

    Yeah, its much easier to write about elves and trolls.
    Yeeeeeaaaah.... no. Just no. A dominant culture decrying "marginalisation" of itself? A place of arrogant privilege! This is not funny or amusing, or anything else. So, same as previously: Thanks for the dismissal. I'm leaving this text alone, now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince524 View Post
    What else am I supposed to do? Never write about characters who are straight, white males? Do they have to be middle aged, balding, and severely overweight? (Although down nearly 100lbs.) Must they be KISS fans too?
    No. No one said this. But again, this is an attitude coming from a place of privilege. And it's supposed to... what? I don't know what the intention was, but it seems to me that the question is trying to make light of issues that I face with my writing, with being who I am. Leaving this text alone, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by TerzaRima View Post
    Oh, for crying out loud. I want to read a great story. Write what you want and call it good.
    Oh, Hell, no; this is not an attitude that is conducive to understanding an resolving such a complex issue as this one!

    One does not get to write what one wants and call it good because that is the dominant culture saying "I wrote about your marginalised culture, so be grateful I'm bringing it to the world! And if you don't like it, tough!"

    And this has happened:

    (Source: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/...an-experience/)

    I am British ó mixed-race English and Chinese, but linguistically and culturally British.
    ...
    I encountered questions such as, ďHow can you write about the Chinese when you arenít fluent in mandarin?Ē
    ...
    My own approach to writing a novel set in China was to move there, stay with local families, enroll at language school, and research by experiencing everyday life in Beijing.
    ...
    The objective was not to construct a fictional Chinese everyman, but a main character that was original and idiosyncratic, but still convincingly from Beijing.
    ...
    [T]he intention was to make a statement about what it is to be human, not what it is to be Chinese.
    In one go, Barker claimed to want to write about a unique Beijinger then turned around and said she wanted to make a statement about being human, but not being Chinese, and the expectation is that we (the Chinese) are supposed to say, "What a great novel you have written about our culture, only to shove aside what it means to be Chinese! We are so grateful you wrote about us, that we are not at all offended by not being recognised!"

    So, the novel only used China and Chinese culture because the novel wanted to be different?! And because it was so well-written and so well-received by critics and Western readers, I should "just be grateful"? Wow....

    Also: not only is Barker claiming mixed race heritage, she's also identifying as British both culturally and linguistically, isn't fluent in Chinese (Putonghua, here), and spent 6 years writing The Incarnations (this might imply she was in China for all 6 years).

    Certainly, one can do a lot of detailed research in 6 years. However, the most telling thing here is the lack of Chinese language knowledge. The Chinese language is a very integral part of Chinese culture. If one is not fluent in it (reading and writing) and writes about the culture, one will certainly trip up. (Written Chinese actually tells you a lot about how the Chinese language and culture evolved, as well as the Chinese mindset that may not be apparent from only verbal conversation with natives and first-hand observation.)

    If one is still not convinced that the above example is cultural appropriation (to whatever degree I'm not debating), then perhaps another example may illustrate the issue better.

    Departing momentarily from writing, one might consider the fashion world. In it, the traditional Chinese dress was taken and shortened to the gods know what length and called "cheongsam"! Perhaps those designers would have cited "inspiration", but their take on it was to sexualise a conservative dress with meaning and change its name.

    Why is this offensive to me? See the 3 points below (they don't explain everything, but provide an idea instead):


    • Colours for a traditional Chinese dress denote the wearer's status.
    • Patterns on a traditional Chinese dress fabric denote the fabric's intended purpose.
    • And the name for a traditional Chinese dress is not "Cheongsam"; it's "Keipo". ("Cheongsam" is the name given to the man's traditional floor-length over garment; hardly a dress.) (And both pronunciations are Cantonese, not Putonghua.)


    Thank-you to arrogant, and apparently-ignorant designers for the fucking inappropriate twist and getting the name so wrong! Love the theft. Really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan74 View Post
    Agreed.

    I wonder if this will change since people can self publish? Maybe the ability to self publish will be the best thing for those who feel marginalized and want to be heard. Or maybe the publishers shy away from writers writing about minorities because of the backlash?

    It's definitely a hot issue here in Canada, like all things though it will settle down.
    Perhaps the self-publishing industry will allow for more marginalised voices to be heard. But I believe (traditional?) publishers shy away from writers writing about minorities because many of the writers taken on by publishers are non-natives of those cultures. Currently, publishers tend to be staffed by Whites or Western professionals. And people, as a whole, gravitate towards the familiar. Therefore, White/Western publishers are more inclined to seek stories written by White/Western writers who fall into their comfort zone, whether or not the publishers are aware of this. Hence, the lack of marginalised voices in publishing.

    I've noticed one rather overwhelming trend, and I think a poster up-thread also said something similar: Those who protest the loudest and cry "marginalisation" of their dominant culture are the ones who do not deal well with criticism and with being wrong, or have no intention of learning about -- and respecting -- a culture not their own. So when called out for depicting a non-native culture incorrectly or using all the racist/damaging tropes/stereotypes, or employing non-native elements of out context, or inappropriately twisting those elements, they provide myriad excuses and continue on their way. This, IMO, is cultural appropriation, aka, cultural theft.
    -----------------------
    Soft toys. That is all.
    -----------------------
    Blog: Dreams of a Broken Phoenix
    Patreon: Tiny Carriers of Light
    FB "blog": Depression in Hong Kong
    -----------------------
    Dare you to click:

  10. #60
    practical experience, FTW mccardey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    10,417
    Quote Originally Posted by Snitchcat View Post
    Cultural appropriation... One (who is from a dominant culture) takes what one wants from another culture (often a minority culture as compared to the dominant one), and uses that element out of context and in a way in which it was never intended or is never ever used within its native culture.
    I think it goes beyond that. It includes the idea that dominant-culture writers should not have privileged opportunities to explain non-dominant cultural issues or tell non-dominant-cultural stories. If I'm a middle-class educated white Australian male with an in to, say, ABCTV should I use that to sell an indigenous story to white Australians? Or should I use my privilege to stfu and let an indigenous person tell their own story?

    I've been there. It's a massive piss-off. It's also - and only - fair.

  11. #61
    Dead. Snitchcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    o,0
    Posts
    4,212
    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    For example...just think, if the subject of this thread had been something to do with writing female characters responsibly instead of treating them as objects, what would you think of these posts?

    Still funny?
    Nailed.

    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    Not so funny. And let's remember, it's not just about stories being told, or being written. It's also about expanding places and spaces so that non-privileged voices are published and read. And critiqued. And discussed. And taught. And known.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by M Louise View Post
    I thought I was familiar enough with most of the tropes and themes, contexts, literary traditions. I wasn't even close.

    What I had to do was 'unlearn' most of my assumptions and listen much harder, talk to writers and readers, immerse myself without limiting preconceptions. One guide I've found in recent years has been the work of Claudia Rankine who poses so many challenges to those trapped in 'whiteness' or 'bubbles of sameness or privilege'. Rankine asks WHY we haven't got to know others who are different, what choices we've made in our lives to stay segregated, surround ourselves with people from teh same background, the same class, the same heteronormative views? How can we find ourselves suddenly wanting to write about people with whom we have never had any significant or meaningful relationship? When we say we 'don't know' any transgender people or black lesbians, the place to start might be is to wonder why I haven't included their work or activism or awareness in my life.
    I see myself in this: why haven't I been as diverse as I could be? Thank you for the information; this summary, and this thread, pinpoint things I definitely something to think about and apply to my own writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    This Claudia Rankine? Thank you. Will read.
    Ooh! I need to go read that! Thank you for the link.
    -----------------------
    Soft toys. That is all.
    -----------------------
    Blog: Dreams of a Broken Phoenix
    Patreon: Tiny Carriers of Light
    FB "blog": Depression in Hong Kong
    -----------------------
    Dare you to click:

  12. #62
    Dead. Snitchcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    o,0
    Posts
    4,212
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    I think it goes beyond that. It includes the idea that dominant-culture writers should not have privileged opportunities to explain non-dominant cultural issues or tell non-dominant-cultural stories. If I'm a middle-class educated white Australian male with an in to, say, ABCTV should I use that to sell an indigenous story to white Australians? Or should I use my privilege to stfu and let an indigenous person tell their own story?

    I've been there. It's a massive piss-off. It's also - and only - fair.
    Yes, agreed.
    -----------------------
    Soft toys. That is all.
    -----------------------
    Blog: Dreams of a Broken Phoenix
    Patreon: Tiny Carriers of Light
    FB "blog": Depression in Hong Kong
    -----------------------
    Dare you to click:

  13. #63
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    No longer in Cali :(
    Posts
    4,618
    Quote Originally Posted by Snitchcat View Post
    Cultural appropriation... I'm sure we're all using the same definition? Just to confirm though: I see cultural appropriation as cultural theft. One (who is from a dominant culture) takes what one wants from another culture (often a minority culture as compared to the dominant one), and uses that element out of context and in a way in which it was never intended or is never ever used within its native culture. However, because one took it and is from a dominant culture, one declares that it's okay to use it one's way, therefore, everyone else (including the minority culture's natives) must accept it.

    Case in point: the latest Bruce Lee film took Bruce Lee and turned him into an arrogant minor character in a film about Bruce Lee (the protagonist was a white guy who got the Chinese girl). Anyone who's studied Lee and his philosophy (as well as martial arts) knows that arrogance was never part of Lee's make-up. And the director brushed off all criticisms / call-outs of these facts. That is cultural appropriation, aka, cultural theft. And it's harmful and damaging in so many ways! Such appropriation seeks to destroy a culture's credibility and suppress or subjugate that culture.
    Yes, exactly. "Cultural appropriation" to me is very different from basing your story off another culture or being inspired by and borrowing from another culture. I think this is an excellent example of what "appropriation" is, and why it's so important to approach it with care and respect when you're borrowing from a marginalized group.

    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    I think it goes beyond that. It includes the idea that dominant-culture writers should not have privileged opportunities to explain non-dominant cultural issues or tell non-dominant-cultural stories. If I'm a middle-class educated white Australian male with an in to, say, ABCTV should I use that to sell an indigenous story to white Australians? Or should I use my privilege to stfu and let an indigenous person tell their own story?

    I've been there. It's a massive piss-off. It's also - and only - fair.
    Really, really good point, mccardey. On one hand, I don't want to suppress anyone's voice, but on the other, I see what you're saying about using your privilege to uplift marginalized voices who have been/and are being oppressed instead of adding to the silencing of marginalized voices. I really admire those in privileged positions who use their power to uplift others. Just to end on a positive note, Rick Riordan recently did exactly that with his new imprint, Rick Riordan Presents.

    Rick Riordan has gotten a variation on the same question from his fans about a zillion times: When are you going to write about (fill in the blank): the Hindu gods and goddesses? Ancient Chinese mythology? Native American legends?
    Now, he has an answer – of sorts: Disney-Hyperion is launching Rick Riordan Presents, an imprint devoted to mythology-based books for middle grade readers.
    [SNIP]

    There’s also this: ”I know he feels that, in some instances, the books his readers are asking for him to write are really someone else’s story to tell,” Lurie said.
    Accordingly, the mission of Rick Riordan Presents will be to “find, nurture, and promote the best storytellers for middle grade readers,” with the focus on diverse, mythology-based fiction by new, emerging, and under-represented authors.
    I think this is a wonderful example of using your position of power to uplift others.
    Kallithrix: "you're like pot noodle - you know it's dirty, unwholesome, trashy drunk food, but.... you just want it in your mouf"

    Wee hippo has a message for everyone: DIIIIIE.

  14. #64
    practical experience, FTW mccardey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    10,417
    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    Just to end on a positive note, Rick Riordan recently did exactly that with his new imprint, Rick Riordan Presents.



    I think this is a wonderful example of using your position of power to uplift others.
    Omg, that is so good.

  15. #65
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    No longer in Cali :(
    Posts
    4,618
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    Omg, that is so good.
    Isn't it! And the books he's acquired so far sound amazing. Link here. There's an MG space opera based on Korean mythology and a "Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon with Indian mythology". I just cannot. It all sounds so friggin' GOOD. It's an amazing time to be a reader. I'm so glad wee hippo is going to have access to all these books once she's old enough to read.
    Kallithrix: "you're like pot noodle - you know it's dirty, unwholesome, trashy drunk food, but.... you just want it in your mouf"

    Wee hippo has a message for everyone: DIIIIIE.

  16. #66
    Dead. Snitchcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    o,0
    Posts
    4,212
    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    Isn't it! And the books he's acquired so far sound amazing. Link here. There's an MG space opera based on Korean mythology and a "Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon with Indian mythology". I just cannot. It all sounds so friggin' GOOD. It's an amazing time to be a reader. I'm so glad wee hippo is going to have access to all these books once she's old enough to read.
    Ooh! Wow! That is very good!
    -----------------------
    Soft toys. That is all.
    -----------------------
    Blog: Dreams of a Broken Phoenix
    Patreon: Tiny Carriers of Light
    FB "blog": Depression in Hong Kong
    -----------------------
    Dare you to click:

  17. #67
    Cultured vulture Albedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    This place is not a place of honor.
    Posts
    4,611
    Quote Originally Posted by Snitchcat View Post
    I'm taking this as sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek,
    It's not at all.
    but thanks for dismissing very valid concerns and dismissing what I face on a daily basis with my writing. Again: detailed research and the willingness to learn and correct are key to writing about a culture not one's own.
    Who's dismissing anyone's concerns here? I'm completely sincere. I wonder, as a genre writer who loves creating new cultures and who knows it's not my place (as part of the majority) to go appropriating marginalised ones as a shortcut, why some of the writers from the original article don't try writing genre if they want to explore the Other. That way they wouldn't be tempted to Other/exoticise cultures owned by real, actual people, and they especially wouldn't be stealing stories from indigenous peoples while taking their place at the table. Mostly I'm just gobsmacked by the lack of gorm shown by Canada's literary establishment in supporting, even in stupid late night Twitter-jest, a 'cultural appropriation prize'. The boneheadedness on show makes me wonder if they're not all dwelling (like literary establishments are sometimes accused of, in small Anglo countries) in an arsebackwards, racist cultural silo, failing to realise that genre writers have been doing the legwork in being less terrible for decades now and are streets ahead of them at inclusion.

  18. #68
    Inappropriately math-oriented. slhuang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    2,879
    Quote Originally Posted by Albedo View Post
    Who's dismissing anyone's concerns here? I'm completely sincere. I wonder, as a genre writer who loves creating new cultures and who knows it's not my place (as part of the majority) to go appropriating marginalised ones as a shortcut, why some of the writers from the original article don't try writing genre if they want to explore the Other. That way they wouldn't be tempted to Other/exoticise cultures owned by real, actual people, and they especially wouldn't be stealing stories from indigenous peoples while taking their place at the table. Mostly I'm just gobsmacked by the lack of gorm shown by Canada's literary establishment in supporting, even in stupid late night Twitter-jest, a 'cultural appropriation prize'. The boneheadedness on show makes me wonder if they're not all dwelling (like literary establishments are sometimes accused of, in small Anglo countries) in an arsebackwards, racist cultural silo, failing to realise that genre writers have been doing the legwork in being less terrible for decades now and are streets ahead of them at inclusion.
    Wait, what?

    What?

    I'm a genre writer too, and we are not streets ahead, we are not less terrible, and elves are not diversity.

    Or have you not noticed that all the elves are white?

    Genre has enormous problems. Did you miss Racefail 2009? Did you miss the blowup about the SFWA bulletin in 2013? Did you miss the racist, misogynistic assholes who've been trying to take over the Hugos the past three years? And those are just the biggest ones; SFF has new ragemaking stuff happen every month or so like clockwork. How/what we write intersects hugely with our own world and our own life experiences -- yes, even in genre -- and critical analysis of the cultures created in SFF worlds shows there is a lot lacking before we can make the least claim of being less terrible.

    We write societies based on medieval Europe with all white people, and then claim historical accuracy (false, and also, DRAGONS?!).

    We write societies with white elves and white dwarves and white halflings and then there's that one exotic barbaric land across the mountains with the dark-skinned humans.

    We make up imaginary societies with no queer beings, no disabled beings, and monolithic cultural values with no in-story explanation; the only reason being that we're bringing our own real-world biases.

    We write stories that are all white men (or white elves, or white dwarves, or male aliens) and only a sprinkling of women or POC, in societies that are supposed to be equal. We give those women and POC terrible, stereotypical roles.

    We assume Western cultural mores and don't conceive that even within our own real world there are cultures with value systems of varying priorities in ways that are just as valid, so we portray anything that doesn't fit into Western values as new, exotic, alien, inhuman.

    Want to learn? Start with this essay, and then google. There are many people in SFF talking about this. MANY. We have huge problems in genre, and we are not less terrible for including elves, ffs.
    Last edited by slhuang; 05-20-2017 at 12:09 AM. Reason: typos (pls excuse, I have a high fever)

  19. #69
    I write novels
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    In the resistance
    Posts
    3,866
    Quote Originally Posted by slhuang View Post
    Wait, what?

    What?

    I'm a genre writers too, and we are not streets ahead, we are not less terrible, and elves are not diversity.

    Or have you not noticed that all the elves are white?

    Genre has enormous problems. Did you miss Racefail 2009? Did you miss the blowup about the SFWA bulletin in 2013? Did you miss the racist, misogynistic assholes who've been trying to take over the Hugos the past three years? And those are just the biggest ones; SFF has new ragemaking stuff happen every month or so like clockwork. How/what we write intersects hugely with our own world and our own life experiences -- yes, even in genre -- and critical analysis of the cultures created in SFF worlds shows there is a lot lacking before we can make the least claim of being less terrible.

    We write societies based on medieval Europe with all white people, and then claim historical accuracy (false, and also, DRAGONS?!).

    We write societies with white elves and white dwarves and white halflings and then there's that one exotic barbaric land across the mountains with the dark-skinned humans.

    We make up imaginary societies with no queer beings, no disabled beings, and monolithic cultural values with no in-story explanation; the only reason being that we're bringing our own real-world biases.

    We write stories that are all white men (or white elves, or white dwarves, or male aliens) and only a sprinkling of women or POC, in societies that are supposed to be equal. We give those women and POC terrible, stereotypical roles.

    We assume Western cultural mores and don't conceive that even within our own real world there are cultures with value systems of varying priorities in ways that are just as valid, so we portray anything that doesn't fit into non-Western values as new, exotic, alien, inhuman.

    Want to learn? Start with this essay, and then google. There are many people in SFF talking about this. MANY. We have huge problems in genre, and we are not less terrible for including elves, ffs.
    This. All this.

    Signed,
    Another Genre Writer

  20. #70
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    4,922
    I have to say, as a middle-class white, straight, cis-gender writer, I appreciate the discussion of cultural appropriation.

    I don't just want to write. I want to write WELL. I want to write about characters, locations and situations that are meaningful, real and memorable.

    It's great to read about the pitfalls of appropriation before I repeat the mistakes of the past. Thank you, all.
    -- Myrea
    "When it comes down to it itís always, always you and the white page. At the end of the day if the page is blank, itís won. Donít let the page win."
    Alasdair Stewart

  21. #71
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    333
    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    Actually, the issue isn't "about white writers writing stories that aren't their own"...not for me, at least. It's about white writers writing stories that aren't their own and refusing to do it in a responsible and respectful way which acknowledges that they are borrowing from other cultures. I'm always happy for people to use my culture(s) as an inspiration or influence or whatever, but when they do so without doing their homework and/or consulting people who from that culture, the results can be harmful.

    Even here on THIS VERY THREAD, which I believe was started with good intentions, not to mention on AW, which I think is one of the most progressive sites I have come across...even here, you can see posters coming in and turning the entire thing into a joke, and dismissing something which is a very real issue for many of us. And I get it...it's complicated and tiring, and it's much easier to *handwave, handwave, make flippant joke, forget about it*. But if we turn it around for a second and use your example of women as the marginalized group instead of PoCs, I think it becomes apparent how fucking offensive some of the posts here are.

    For example...just think, if the subject of this thread had been something to do with writing female characters responsibly instead of treating them as objects, what would you think of these posts?







    Still funny?
    The one post I did think was funny, I took it as genuine sarcasm when he said "crap I'm screwed." I got the humour in that, I never found anything offensive about that post. But I did start this thread with good intentions....the road to hell....I don't need to finish that thought. My point regarding woman was once it was very difficult for woman authors, even JK Rowling initialized her name because fantasy is a man's domain. So we've come far, but maybe not far enough. My point was those cultures who feel unheard and want to share their own stories will hopefully be able to. However many of those cultures DON'T want their stories told, regardless of how good a writer you are, no matter how sensitive and respectful you are, they simply don't want their legends/stories etc used. What I've seen though is people seem to dismiss that. That if "they" write good enough or with enough sensitivity and respect that its still OK to appropriate even when that group is saying STOP. And they are. They are saying STOP STOP STOP. This is where the debate comes in. The point is moot of how "good" a writer you are. Then there are the laws, and the laws state I can write these stories and they can't stop me. But does that make it right? For me, and I can only speak for myself, it felt wrong so I stopped writing my novel.
    Last edited by Jan74; 05-20-2017 at 12:05 AM.
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs" ~Stephen King~
    WIP #1 YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy (currently stalled, I know I'll figure it out.)
    WIP #2 YA Suspense
    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Mary Angelou~


  22. #72
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    333
    Quote Originally Posted by Myrealana View Post
    I have to say, as a middle-class white, straight, cis-gender writer, I appreciate the discussion of cultural appropriation.

    I don't just want to write. I want to write WELL. I want to write about characters, locations and situations that are meaningful, real and memorable.

    It's great to read about the pitfalls of appropriation before I repeat the mistakes of the past. Thank you, all.
    Me too.
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs" ~Stephen King~
    WIP #1 YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy (currently stalled, I know I'll figure it out.)
    WIP #2 YA Suspense
    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Mary Angelou~


  23. #73
    practical experience, FTW Underdawg47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Federal Way Washington
    Posts
    366
    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    This is one of those issues I can really see both sides of.

    On the one side, I can understand people being frustrated at seeing their culture used and (all too often) abused and misrepresented by others, especially given the History with a capital H of stereotyping, racism, and attempts at eradication.

    On the other... ideas flow, cultures merge and mingle, and I'm not sure I like the idea of building walls to prevent that inevitable mingling.

    A little anecdote/rambling on this subject: locally, a relative takes classes in woodcarving - and, around here, about the only carving classes one can find focus on the popular "Northwest Indian" style. Anyone without ties to a native tribe who tries to sell works in said style, though, can run into Real Troubles. Are there appropriation issues and historical theft and oppression behind this? Sure... but there's a bit of a twist. A local white man was instrumental in reviving the carving tradition around here after it had apparently nearly died out, helping reteach skills that had been lost. He was essentially adopted into a local tribe and high-ranking family for his efforts, and was well respected. My relative took classes from him before his recent death and he talked about this, so this isn't just a "friend-of-a-friend" anecdote. His philosophy was less strict - he'd teach anyone in his classes the Northwest style, and he had no issue with carvers creating and selling original designs inspired by native art. Was it his place to say so? I'm not sure it was, though I'm not sure it wasn't; if not for a little cultural mingling, the native carving tradition locally may well be extinct, and if the artist in question doesn't represent themselves or their work falsely as belonging to a specific tribe...

    As for me, it's one of those blurry lines. Slapdash stereotypes as characters or art themes - yeah, that's an insulting cash-in, and we should be moving beyond that as a society. If someone takes the time to do research and doesn't just grab at shallow tropes, though, I don't know if they should be wholesale barred from art or writing inspired by a culture other than their own. Art explores. Art travels. (Of course, I write mostly fantasy; I may draw inspiration from real-world cultures, but in my work they're pretty much made up.)

    It would be interesting if someone from a different race and culture were to learn a dying language from an elderly person who was the last person to speak it. Should the language simply go extinct? Should the younger people from this ethnic group who didn't bother to learn the language from their elders have a right to sue if someone outside their culture speak their language instead of them?

    This is kinda like wanting to have a patent on every single thing, forever. Everyone wants to own the rights to ideas, songs, drugs, inventions, language and even scientists want to be able to patent DNA. And now it is going so far as to be faux pax to write in first person as someone different than yourself. I think this is political correctness gone amok that stifles creativity and has elements of entitlement built in. Sorta like Muslims telling the rest of the world that they don't have a right to draw pictures of Mohammed because they feel that it is being insensitive, yet at the same time feeling that sharia law should be forced upon those who do draw Mohammed.

    I think people should be able to retain their cultural identity and pass it down to their children without being forced to adopt the dominate culture, but i don't think art styles, language, crafts, technology, myth, music styles, etc should be treated as copy written material. As a writer, I certainly don't plan to limit myself to writing only about my own race, culture, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
    ďMy only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short.Ē

    Armistead Maupin quote.

  24. #74
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Lost in space. And meaning.
    Posts
    15,176
    Quote Originally Posted by slhuang View Post
    Wait, what?

    What?

    I'm a genre writers too, and we are not streets ahead, we are not less terrible, and elves are not diversity.

    Or have you not noticed that all the elves are white?

    Genre has enormous problems. Did you miss Racefail 2009? Did you miss the blowup about the SFWA bulletin in 2013? Did you miss the racist, misogynistic assholes who've been trying to take over the Hugos the past three years? And those are just the biggest ones; SFF has new ragemaking stuff happen every month or so like clockwork. How/what we write intersects hugely with our own world and our own life experiences -- yes, even in genre -- and critical analysis of the cultures created in SFF worlds shows there is a lot lacking before we can make the least claim of being less terrible.

    We write societies based on medieval Europe with all white people, and then claim historical accuracy (false, and also, DRAGONS?!).

    We write societies with white elves and white dwarves and white halflings and then there's that one exotic barbaric land across the mountains with the dark-skinned humans.

    We make up imaginary societies with no queer beings, no disabled beings, and monolithic cultural values with no in-story explanation; the only reason being that we're bringing our own real-world biases.

    We write stories that are all white men (or white elves, or white dwarves, or male aliens) and only a sprinkling of women or POC, in societies that are supposed to be equal. We give those women and POC terrible, stereotypical roles.

    We assume Western cultural mores and don't conceive that even within our own real world there are cultures with value systems of varying priorities in ways that are just as valid, so we portray anything that doesn't fit into non-Western values as new, exotic, alien, inhuman.

    Want to learn? Start with this essay, and then google. There are many people in SFF talking about this. MANY. We have huge problems in genre, and we are not less terrible for including elves, ffs.
    You said everything that I was thinking here, and much more succinctly and clearly.

    One down side of becoming conscious about issues pertaining to representation and appropriation etc. is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. I think this is why so many people get so outraged when issues are pointed out to them, because it means they won't be able to consume their favorite media with a completely non-critical eye anymore. I'm a huge fan of SF and F, and every time I scan back cover copy or peruse cover art, every time I see a movie trailer, every time I watch a movie, I notice the flaws. They may not be deal breakers, but they're burrs under my saddle. For example, when everyone was crowing about how wonderful Rogue One was for having a female lead and diverse cast members, I couldn't help noticing how the female lead was the only significant female character, or how the blind Jedi character ticked a number of "Asian Kung Fu" stereotype boxes. I still liked the movie and appreciated what its creators were attempting to do, but I also thought they could have done better.

    We still have a long way to go, and it's a shame that pointing this out when one sees problematic things has become equated with hatred, censorship and a desire to silence white writers or to limit what they can write about.
    Please excuse me, I was raised by wolves.

    My twitter - My FB - My blog

  25. #75
    practical experience, FTW Twick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    2,200
    Quote Originally Posted by Underdawg47 View Post
    I think people should be able to retain their cultural identity and pass it down to their children without being forced to adopt the dominate culture, but i don't think art styles, language, crafts, technology, myth, music styles, etc should be treated as copy written material. As a writer, I certainly don't plan to limit myself to writing only about my own race, culture, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
    I think there are genuine concerns about certain people adopting "super-purity" standards for cultures. One of the most basic traits of all humans is that we will gladly, greedily, adopt artistic expressions from other cultures if they appeal to us. Trying to stop this basic instinct will lead to censorship and the shrivelling of artistic growth. (For example, should Picasso's work inspired by African artistic concepts be discarded?)

    The problem is how to allow free flow of artistic ideas while still discouraging the dominant culture from trivializing or stereotyping the expressions of smaller cultures.

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search