View Full Version : Resources/Further Reading

12-19-2011, 07:14 AM
I've a long list of links that I've personally found extremely helpful in terms of thinking about characters of color and writing, but I've been trimming horse hooves all day. I'll start posting 'em as soon as my right arm isn't so numb.

In the meantime, please feel free to post links YOU find helpful and educational.


Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Privilege (https://www.deanza.edu/faculty/lewisjulie/White%20Priviledge%20Unpacking%20the%20Invisible%2 0Knapsack.pdf)

Race tropes in storytelling (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RaceTropes)

How "Colorblindness" reinforces systemic racism (http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-36-fall-2009/colorblindness-new-racism)

12-19-2011, 06:06 PM
Here is a set that I recommend. At least make time for the first one, even though it's a fairly long video.

The beautiful speech that had so much impact on so many people:


Uploaded by TEDtalksDirector (http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector) on Oct 7, 2009
http://www.ted.com (http://www.ted.com/) Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes....

And a response by Nnorom Azuonye that I found interesting:


12-19-2011, 06:52 PM
Here's one of my favorite link about writing race/ethnicity:

Oldie but goodie http://www.mitaliblog.com/2008/10/ten-tips-about-writing-race-in-novels.html?m=1

12-19-2011, 08:22 PM
My recommendation is a book, Writing the Other: A Practical Approach (http://www.aqueductpress.com/books/WritingTheOther-Vol8.html) by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward. It's a small book aimed specifically at writers and shows what to think about when writing characters who are "other" to you (not just other races, but another age, sex, sexual orientation, religion and physical ability).

From the description:

During the 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop attended by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, one of the students expressed the opinion that it is a mistake to write about people of ethnic backgrounds different from your own because you might get it wrong—horribly, offensively wrong—and so it is better not even to try.

This opinion, commonplace among published as well as aspiring writers, struck Nisi as taking the easy way out and spurred her to write an essay addressing the problem of how to write about characters marked by racial and ethnic differences. In the course of writing the essay, however, she realized that similar problems arise when writers try to create characters whose gender, sexual preference, and age differ significantly from their own.

Nisi and Cynthia collaborated to develop a workshop that addresses these problems with the aim of both increasing writers’ skill and sensitivity in portraying difference in their fiction as well as allaying their anxieties about "getting it wrong." Writing the Other: A Practical Approach is the manual that grew out of their workshop. It discusses basic aspects of characterization and offers elementary techniques, practical exercises, and examples for helping writers create richer and more accurate characters with "differences.

01-03-2012, 03:26 AM
Where the conversation is ongoing, online:
Racism 101 (http://resistracism.wordpress.com/racism-101/)
Racismtoday.net (http://www.racismtoday.net/)
The Racism 101 LJ community (http://community.livejournal.com/racism_101/) (I recommend lurking and reading back, thoroughly - remember, no one owes you an explanation or a conversation, even)
Racialicious, Beyond Bingo Cards (http://www.racialicious.com/2009/02/24/open-thread-racism-101-beyond-bingo-cards/)
Why so-called Color-blindness is problematic (http://www.racebending.com/v3/background/the-problem-with-colorblindness/)

You're not going to agree with everything you read. You might find yourself feeling defensive, or even angry. I highly recommend before posting on any of the above sites or in the communities or threads linked here, do some serious self-examination, and listen honestly and openly.

And finally - an excerpt from Pam Noles' well-known essay, Shame (http://www.infinitematrix.net/faq/essays/noles.html), because I think every writer needs to take this essay to heart:

But I remember Dad saying, how come you never see anybody like that in the stories you like? And I remember answering, maybe they didn't have black people back then. He said there's always been black people. I said but black people can't be wizards and space people and they can't fight evil, so they can't be in the story. When he didn't say anything back I turned around. He was in full recline mode in his chair and he was very still, looking at me. He didn't say anything else.

01-03-2012, 03:49 AM
In the same vein as the LJ page, here's a tumblr page that's pretty discussion oriented:


This page uses the power+prejudice definition of racism, which is very touchy for a lot of people. So keep that in mind as you scroll through.

01-07-2012, 11:39 PM
The Multicultural Pavilion (http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/sites/white.html) (A link round up to various essays)

01-08-2012, 05:52 AM
I've been reading this for about an hour, it's pretty hilarious:


Kitty Pryde
05-23-2012, 10:11 AM
Wanted to toss up another link here, "Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is", an essay by John Scalzi, a straight white male trying to explain the concept of privilege to straight white men and others who have trouble understanding it. He uses a video game metaphor and I think he gets the point across pretty clearly. Apparently this essay made the internets very angry? Anyway, I liked it.


A tidbit:

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

Rachel Udin
06-04-2012, 12:40 AM
From Different Shores by Ronald Takaki.

Discusses a lot of races, some emphasis on Asians as well. (He's a good resource in general as well, since he also started the campaign towards Ethnic Classes--IIRC, he's the one that started the first one at Berkeley.)

I'll throw this one out there too: Racebending.com

Though they often do activism, they also occasionally have articles on race too.

The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism by Rosalind Chou and Joe R Feagin.
Desconstructs the myth of the model minority and shows how it's not true. Also goes over racism that's unique to Asians. And also goes over how the myth of the model minority hurts other racial groups besides Asians. Has a lot of first hand accounts as well, which helps contextualize it.

BTW, anyone have a History of Racism 101 for the US? I was taught well, so I have a good timeline in my head, but I'm guessing that many people with crappier History lessons that skipped over Black History Month (and the other countries of the world when it came to world History) don't. Ya know, covering slavery, genocide of the Native Americans/First Peoples, Chinese Railroad workers, Japanese concentration camps (I call the Jewish ones Death camps. I don't mince words), Mexicans being disenfranchised of land for slavery's sake, the border fence with Mexico, etc? Also, probably something on the white minority groups (Olive intra-group racism) until it was overturned later (though some of it still exists). Or the White Chicken Stew known as the US.

Rachel Udin
08-09-2012, 09:08 PM
I am Bruce Lee, the Film, is a good discussion, not only about Bruce Lee, but the history of racism against Asian Americans in Hollywood. Also a great discussion of race in general, I think.

12-27-2012, 06:33 PM
One of the best reads I've enjoyed in regard to Native Americans


Pretty much anything by Devon Mihesuah


Rachel Udin
03-08-2013, 01:58 AM
Found an awesome link collection, which includes other diversity as well.

Also found Writing the Other (Conversation Pieces Volume 8)

Rachel Udin
03-20-2013, 08:32 PM
Adding: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aalives/

which I watched. It was very educational to me because it doesn't only cover genetics, but the history of African Americans in ways that wasn't covered in any of education and usual documentaries on the subject.

Rachel Udin
07-30-2013, 06:54 AM
Adding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efI6T8lovqY&list=PL87844CBBDBE14A05

History of Slavery. Covers Native Americans and Blacks as well as the construction of racism. *warning* There is a lot of mention of WTH violence, etc.

Rachel Udin
09-14-2013, 09:21 PM
Adding this, since apparently some people don't know what it is...



09-30-2015, 08:55 PM
Carissa Taylor recently posted this (http://carissa-taylor.blogspot.com/). It is sort of a resource guide for white writers thinking of writing POC. Basically, it's a huge list of links. I ahven't checked all of them yet, but many are very good resources to use.

06-13-2017, 06:03 PM
I recommend http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/. They're really active, unpack a lot of tropes, and they allow you to ask questions, which they usually answer in depth!