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escritora
12-19-2011, 09:28 AM
Let's get this forum started!

I have an issue. One I intellectually understand is silly, but can't get over the emotional hump. I wrote a novel where the main characters are Puerto Rican and are welfare cheats. During the editing process, I changed the characters to white because I didn't want to perpetuate the image of Hispanic welfare queens. The novel is trunked due to other issues (i.e. I have a lot to learn about novel writing).

However, I do find myself being very careful on how I portray people of color. This is detrimental to the stories I want to tell.

Does anyone else feel they have a responsibility to their culture and/or poc? If so, how do you get over that obstacle?

Again, I want to say I understand my hesitation is silly. Nonetheless I still struggle.

Kitty27
12-19-2011, 09:41 AM
I understand exactly what you are saying. The stereotypes concerning Black people are a mile long and I do my best to avoid them in my writing.

BUT I also have to be honest about aspects of my community that I have witnessed and grew up around. Other Black people become extremely picky about this due to the terrible stereotypes and a sense of letting "others" see our internal business.

If I set a story in the hood,I have to keep it 100. That means shoot-outs,drug dealing and a host of other stuff that happened there. You also have to remember that people who have screwy views about race would find something wrong with Dr.Cliff Huxtable and MLK despite both being examples of the best of the Black community. Same goes for any other community of color.

So you get over it by realizing these things do happen and if you want to keep the story authentic,then include elements that are true to what you have experienced. If I wrote a hood based story with nothing of life in the ghetto,it would ring false and basically suck. Your story has to live and breathe. If you scrub it clean with no realness,it doesn't work.


Being of the community that we write about,we have an advantage in that we will almost always get a "pass" from potential readership. Most won't have any problem with it. Of course,the ones I mentioned who don't like these things aired out will have a fit.

Morwen Edhelwen
12-19-2011, 12:20 PM
I feel I have a responsibility to my culture eg don't portray Chinese people as exceedingly cunning etc. Same for other POC groups.

missesdash
12-19-2011, 01:46 PM
I actually spent a lot of time agonizing over what my Mother would say when she found out my books aren't overflowing with black characters. I think there's a lot of pressure for black writers to write about "the experience." It's sort of how people often complain Obama doesn't do enough for the "black community" even though he's president of the entire country. Not arguing whether or not he is, but there's this assumption that we should use every possible platform to talk about being black.

But when I cast that aside, I found my characters were still diverse, just not necessarily black. That was a relief too. Because I definitely don't want books full of white people either.

So yeah, I'd say it's a burden, but shouldn't be given as much thought as we often give it.

shaldna
12-19-2011, 05:19 PM
However, I do find myself being very careful on how I portray people of color. This is detrimental to the stories I want to tell.

Does anyone else feel they have a responsibility to their culture and/or poc? If so, how do you get over that obstacle?

I think this is an issue that a lot of people struggle with.

No one wants to be offensive, or racist. But I do think that a lot of the issues come from readers reactions, and a lot of that comes down to perceptions of the writer.

For instance, Kitty's example of writing about the Hood and keeping it real - including shoot outs drugs etc. But how would the same senarios be recieved if written by a white person? Would readers then see it as stereotyping and offensive?

And I think that's what a lot of people are afraid of when they write other ethnic groups - even when they write them accurately. There's always that fear that someone will take offence.

Alpha Echo
12-19-2011, 05:42 PM
For instance, Kitty's example of writing about the Hood and keeping it real - including shoot outs drugs etc. But how would the same senarios be recieved if written by a white person? Would readers then see it as stereotyping and offensive?



Though I haven't encountered it in my writing yet, I have thought about it, and that's the huge fear. Here I am, some little white, straight-up All-American (well, 1/4 Japanese, but you wouldn't know it) girl. Could I broach a tricky racial issue and not be viewed as racist?

I'm not sure I could.

backslashbaby
12-19-2011, 06:32 PM
I think it's important for all of us to get over any fear of each other, so I think the risks to be honest and sincere are important. I look as lily-white as they come, and totally uncool, but I'll still put my neck out in my work to try to build any bridges I can.

Will I have folks see this shockingly white girl from The South and assume the worst about any tricky parts? Oh, I'm sure I will. All I can say is it's not like that, and I have to trust that my work has to make sense to lots of people. Just people. No certain group other than people who have noticed any truths I've tried to tell. I'm confident that'll work, if not with me, with somebody who tries it. And the next person, and the next :)

It is very important to try to tell the absolute most unbiased truth you can manage, imho. That takes a lot of work. I hate it when folks put no thought into something tricky and feel like that should go well. Good things take hard work sometimes; nothing new there.

Alpha Echo
12-19-2011, 06:53 PM
It is very important to try to tell the absolute most unbiased truth you can manage, imho. That takes a lot of work. I hate it when folks put no thought into something tricky and feel like that should go well. Good things take hard work sometimes; nothing new there.

QFT.

aruna
12-19-2011, 08:55 PM
One of the things that really "gets" me, and many people do this without realising their error, is the degoratory way in which the so-called Third World is referred to -- as is by default peopled by backward, poor, simplistic, uneducated, needy, corrupt, stupid folk. I've often been asked if I went to school in Guyana; and very often my background is summarily dismissed because, yanno, it's a small 3rd world country thay doesn't count for much.

In my writing I've tried to address this. Yes, we do have a lot of poverty. And a lot of corruption. But mostly we are no different form you guys in the big "important" countries. And our schools are pretty good, too. We had a far better education in Guyana in the 50's than most English state school kids today, with a far higher standard.

I write about people and places most of the reading public in the USA and Europe do not know and will never know. I've always felt that THAT was my calling as a writer -- to bridge the gaps, to bring those countries nearer. I myself love travel and discovering new places, and I love reading novels set in countries I've never been to, and am unlikely to visit. That's why it came as a shock to me to learn that the publishing world considers readers to be xenophobic and NOT eager to read novels set in far off, little known places.

kuwisdelu
12-19-2011, 10:40 PM
As a half-breed native American, this is something that I struggle with a lot.

I still haven't come up with an answer yet.

backslashbaby
12-20-2011, 03:13 AM
One of the things that really "gets" me, and many people do this without realising their error, is the degoratory way in which the so-called Third World is referred to -- as is by default peopled by backward, poor, simplistic, uneducated, needy, corrupt, stupid folk. I've often been asked if I went to school in Guyana; and very often my background is summarily dismissed because, yanno, it's a small 3rd world country thay doesn't count for much.

In my writing I've tried to address this. Yes, we do have a lot of poverty. And a lot of corruption. But mostly we are no different form you guys in the big "important" countries. And our schools are pretty good, too. We had a far better education in Guyana in the 50's than most English state school kids today, with a far higher standard.

I write about people and places most of the reading public in the USA and Europe do not know and will never know. I've always felt that THAT was my calling as a writer -- to bridge the gaps, to bring those countries nearer. I myself love travel and discovering new places, and I love reading novels set in countries I've never been to, and am unlikely to visit. That's why it came as a shock to me to learn that the publishing world considers readers to be xenophobic and NOT eager to read novels set in far off, little known places.

The 3rd World impression is a great example of the 'single story', I think. I definitely think it's important to get the other stories out there. People need to be exposed to all sorts of flavors of a place.

OTOH, if the place is truly homogenous, go on and say it. I was surprised to learn that there are US towns where people really don't have Black kids, plural, in their classes, for instance. If that's the culture, it's so different that that is important information. Homogenous cultures are interesting, too, I think.


I read the views of an Indian guy who was very upset about Slumdog Millionaire, because he thought people will always see Indians as very poor, etc. That made me sad for three reasons: he's right about some folks, he's so wrong about so many folks (we know it's not the only story in India), and it's such a great story.

I wouldn't want to miss a story like Slumdog Millionaire. Avoiding writing about poor Indians would scrap that story! No! So sad. All the stories matter, imho.

missesdash
12-20-2011, 03:55 AM
The 3rd World impression is a great example of the 'single story', I think. I definitely think it's important to get the other stories out there. People need to be exposed to all sorts of flavors of a place.

OTOH, if the place is truly homogenous, go on and say it. I was surprised to learn that there are US towns where people really don't have Black kids, plural, in their classes, for instance. If that's the culture, it's so different that that is important information. Homogenous cultures are interesting, too, I think.


I read the views of an Indian guy who was very upset about Slumdog Millionaire, because he thought people will always see Indians as very poor, etc. That made me sad for three reasons: he's right about some folks, he's so wrong about so many folks (we know it's not the only story in India), and it's such a great story.

I wouldn't want to miss a story like Slumdog Millionaire. Avoiding writing about poor Indians would scrap that story! No! So sad. All the stories matter, imho.

Ah, this so much! I don't like it when people get angry over someone of their own race/ethnicity being represented in a negative way. It is possible to represent one negative aspect of a culture/person without condemning that entire culture. And, like it or not, these kinds of things exist and are just as relevant as the nicer, more positive aspects of the culture.

Jehhillenberg
12-20-2011, 04:39 AM
I understand exactly what you are saying. The stereotypes concerning Black people are a mile long and I do my best to avoid them in my writing.

BUT I also have to be honest about aspects of my community that I have witnessed and grew up around. Other Black people become extremely picky about this due to the terrible stereotypes and a sense of letting "others" see our internal business.

If I set a story in the hood,I have to keep it 100. That means shoot-outs,drug dealing and a host of other stuff that happened there. You also have to remember that people who have screwy views about race would find something wrong with Dr.Cliff Huxtable and MLK despite both being examples of the best of the Black community. Same goes for any other community of color.

So you get over it by realizing these things do happen and if you want to keep the story authentic,then include elements that are true to what you have experienced. If I wrote a hood based story with nothing of life in the ghetto,it would ring false and basically suck. Your story has to live and breathe. If you scrub it clean with no realness,it doesn't work.


Being of the community that we write about,we have an advantage in that we will almost always get a "pass" from potential readership. Most won't have any problem with it. Of course,the ones I mentioned who don't like these things aired out will have a fit.

Truth.

And honesty is the best policy with me -- still keeping in mind that it's fiction -- I don't think about responsibilities to my "race", but I do try to do culture justice 'cuz that makes me who I am.

Jcomp
12-20-2011, 06:06 AM
I try not to worry about it and just write interesting, quality, memorable characters. Good, bad, warts, stainless, however they turn out, I just hope they're quality characters. To me, that primarily solves the issue of writing beyond a stereotype.

maxmordon
12-20-2011, 06:35 AM
Something I, and my father as well, is the burden of "your work is not Latino enough", especially since two thirds of the time I write in English. I try yo balance it, but the guilt still remains.

I mean, the publishing industry in Venezuela seems dire, and in Latin America besides competing with other 20 countries you have to do with US and Europe that can afford heavy advertisement and taking far more risks. It's harder for SFF because its seen quite proper of the Anglosphere.

Kitty27
12-20-2011, 09:31 AM
I think this is an issue that a lot of people struggle with.

No one wants to be offensive, or racist. But I do think that a lot of the issues come from readers reactions, and a lot of that comes down to perceptions of the writer.

For instance, Kitty's example of writing about the Hood and keeping it real - including shoot outs drugs etc. But how would the same senarios be recieved if written by a white person? Would readers then see it as stereotyping and offensive?

And I think that's what a lot of people are afraid of when they write other ethnic groups - even when they write them accurately. There's always that fear that someone will take offence.

Shoot,yes,Shaldna! Especially in the US,where whites and blacks are quite crazy when it comes to race and cultural appropriation. Any writer brave enough to try would need a flame retardant suit and possibly large doses of liquor.

But writers cannot be afraid. That's just how it's done in the good old USA.

You nailed it. Writers are scared silly,even though they probably have a great idea.

kaitie
12-20-2011, 10:37 AM
I'm another white girl who worries about coming across as stereotyping. I've written several minority characters (all secondary so far), and while it's never worried me as I was writing them, I have to admit that once I'm done I worry that people will think I'm doing something wrong. I don't want to offend anyone. My characters pop into my head in a variety of ways, and sometimes they aren't white. It's not like I'm writing characters for the purpose of adding diversity. They're just people who happen to be of a particular race.

At the same time, I've always said that I could never write a main character of a different ethnicity than me because I worry that I wouldn't do him justice. However, I've got a girl floating around in my head right now who wants a book and she just happens to be Chinese-American. I'm probably going to write her anyway, but it is something that makes me nervous.

Cyia
12-20-2011, 10:56 AM
I'm another white girl who worries about coming across as stereotyping. I've written several minority characters (all secondary so far), and while it's never worried me as I was writing them, I have to admit that once I'm done I worry that people will think I'm doing something wrong. I don't want to offend anyone. My characters pop into my head in a variety of ways, and sometimes they aren't white. It's not like I'm writing characters for the purpose of adding diversity. They're just people who happen to be of a particular race.


You can add me to this tally, too.

When I started writing the book that sold this past year, I didn't give much thought to who was which race. I wrote the characteristics as the characters were introduced. Then I realized that the set-up I'd created means that 80% of the characters are dark complexioned. (This is sci-fi, and in this case the "bad" thing they're struggling against blocks melanin, meaning those with higher natural levels are the most likely to survive in tact.) Whether it translates that way onto the page will depend on how good a job I did of description; I actually had to go back and amend something to make it clear that the MC, (who has been affected by the "big bad" and has characteristics of albinism as a result) is not white, but Asian. That's the way I've always seen her.

I'm hoping that this being a near-future sci-fi will take some of the "stereotype" pressure off. Class structures have changed and nearly everyone is mixed race. There are prejudices based on different barriers than those which exist now.

aruna
12-20-2011, 11:26 AM
Ah, this so much! I don't like it when people get angry over someone of their own race/ethnicity being represented in a negative way. It is possible to represent one negative aspect of a culture/person without condemning that entire culture. And, like it or not, these kinds of things exist and are just as relevant as the nicer, more positive aspects of the culture.

But I do understand that resentment; it's the very issue I was referring to above, and I can very well understand that person's reaction: isn't it true that for so many Westerners, "urban India" means just that, slums, dirt, poverty, inhumanity?
Movies like Slumdog Millionaire do, actually, confirm that stereotype.
Not that we should not write about these things; but they need to be balanced with stories that go beyond the stereotype. I think that reaction is because of this: the first Indian-set movie to make it big is about the "slum" issue. What about Lagaan, IMO a MUCH better Indian movie (it won the foreign language Oscar in its year) than SM in so many ways -- and yet unheard of to most Westerners. What about Jodhaa Akbar, a historical Indian movie about the emperor Akbar? Why do great Indian movies made by Indians almost never make it big in the West; why did it have to be an Indian movie made by a Westerner (SM) that achieved the breakthrough? (I guess Monsoon Wedding might be the exception to that rule...)

I'm not by any means saying that we should try to prettify the cliches of India (India being just one example of "foreign" cultures misrepresented in the West). One of my novels, the second one, is set predominantly in a Bombay slum, and depicts one of its worst horrors, child prostitution. But this is not the ONLY India, and I did try to make that clear by placing a lot of the action somewhere else in India.

(I actually didn''t like Slumdog Millionaire very much; not for the above reasons, but because, well, I just didn't see what was so special about it. To me, it was just OK. And why, oh why, did the Taj Mahal have to be shoehorned into it? Such a cliche! 99.9% of Indians never see the Taj Mahal, or even think about it.)

A couple years ago I read a novel written by an Australian writer set in Guyana: (When the something something sings, can't remember the title.*)
I could only roll my eyes. Every one of the Guyanese characters were characterised as shady, stupid, corrupt, oversexed, or something or the other, and needed to be saved from their corruption by the heroic expat white characters who were all noble and working hard to rescue the Guyanese from themselves. It's that sort of thing I can't stand, and it happens really, really often. And I'm sure the author meant well but just didn't realise how very racist the book is.

*When the Singing Stops, by Di Morrissey

backslashbaby
12-20-2011, 11:38 AM
LOL about the Taj Majal! I didn't even think about that. I lived outside of Memphis for years before seeing Graceland, though, so I get ya.

I agree with you. I'm jotting down the other works you mention as we speak.

Still, I really liked Slumdog Millionaire. I loved that my dad got totally, completely into it. He's not big on the idea of films from India, but he was completely engrossed. That's powerful in its own way, imho. At least we didn't watch another spy movie that night :) It's broadening, believe it or not.

aruna
12-20-2011, 01:34 PM
Sure! I'm really glad it was the success it was.

ViolettaVane
12-21-2011, 07:35 AM
I wasn't raised in a Japanese-American community and I know very few other Japanese-Americans. Oddly enough, that's a common experience for my group, outside of Hawaii and some places in the West Coast... we're a pretty scattered bunch. I do feel a really strong responsibility when it comes to specific Japanese-American issues (like internment) but mostly that sense of responsibility gets diffused to larger PoC groups. If someone says something bad about Chinese-Americans, for example, it hits me as well.

The latest novella I'm working on is set in Hawaii, so I have lots of JA background characters, and a few who have Japanese last names but aren't really JA at all (which I think represents the reality of Hawaii). Before that, I had written no JA characters at all.

I think a lot of people like me are scared of representing our own group, consciously or subconsciously. Write about a white person, your story is "universal". Tell the same story but with a minority the same as you, and many others will peg it as "ethnic literature" and "memoir-like".

escritora
12-21-2011, 07:41 AM
Write about a white person, your story is "universal". Tell the same story but with a minority the same as you, and many others will peg it as "ethnic literature" and "memoir-like".

This reminds me of an interview with Toni Morrison. I think it was Charlie Rose who asked her if she was ever going to write a book about white people. Morrison told him his question was racist because he would never ask a white author when they are going to write a book about black people. I'm paraphrasing. If I can find the interview online, I will post a link.

escritora
12-21-2011, 08:00 AM
This reminds me of an interview with Toni Morrison. I think it was Charlie Rose who asked her if she was ever going to write a book about white people. Morrison told him his question was racist because he would never ask a white author when they are going to write a book about black people. I'm paraphrasing. If I can find the interview online, I will post a link.

Oh, my did I paraphrase badly. Here's the link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yvz76iup7qc). It starts at 6:10.

Charlie Rosie didn't ask the question. He was repeating a question Bill Moyers asked Morrison.

Kitty27
12-21-2011, 09:36 AM
Ah, this so much! I don't like it when people get angry over someone of their own race/ethnicity being represented in a negative way. It is possible to represent one negative aspect of a culture/person without condemning that entire culture. And, like it or not, these kinds of things exist and are just as relevant as the nicer, more positive aspects of the culture.



With African Americans,that reaction of being pissed is because we are nearly always judged by the actions of a few. This view of us has been going on for a LONG time.

It's something that we've unfortunately gotten used to. But when it's in print or all outdoors,it still stings for some.

kuwisdelu
12-21-2011, 10:15 AM
I guess the main reason I feel something of a responsibility to my culture is because as far as minorities go, we're a minority among minorities. People often forget we even exist. But being only half-blooded, I'm still somewhat of an outsider even in my own community, and I've never lived on the reservation. I don't know what justice I could do. Or whether I have the stories in me for it.

backslashbaby
12-22-2011, 12:30 AM
Your own stories would be so helpful in the grand scheme of things. You don't think Indians are something you dress up as for Halloween. That's a different perspective than many folks know at all, sadly.

People only understand my NA heritage situation at local Powwows, for instance. I would be laughed out of one out West, probably. There are so many different stories. We are used to so much mixed blood that I don't stick out as a complete tourist at a pow-wow. Do other folks even know that areas like mine exist? Do we have to grow up on a reservation to mention parts of our own stories that we do know?

I wouldn't try to pass myself off as a 'real' Native American by any stretch of the imagination. I'm part of the culture that was cut off by my ancestors choosing to pass for white. But that's a story you never hear.

Those intensely native stories aren't the only ones out there. I'm sure your experiences would be incredibly interesting and enlightening. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of telling 'the story' for your tribe, make it clear that you aren't trying to do that.

That's the best I've got. People will misunderstand and get angry. That's just the way this heated topic goes, unfortunately. I may be totally wrong, but I really do at least put my heart into the issues.

nighttimer
12-23-2011, 11:20 AM
I try not to worry about it and just write interesting, quality, memorable characters. Good, bad, warts, stainless, however they turn out, I just hope they're quality characters. To me, that primarily solves the issue of writing beyond a stereotype.

I concur.

Not everyone is cut out to create art that uplifts the race or whatever club it is you're a member of. You have only two responsibilities: produce the most honest and authentic work possible and prepare to suffer the consequences if the world doesn't dig it.

Otherwise if you pander to what the prevailing sentiment is, you may do stuff that pleases everyone and is absolutely boring, safe, pablum. That's not being an artist or even a very creative person. You're just producing bland hamburgers the same way every Big Mac tastes the exact same way in every McDonald's on the planet.

Sapphire didn't have to create the morbidly obese, unattractive, illiterate loser called Precious and a lot of Black folks hate the book and the movie that it spawned, but you can either cater to the masses or you can be true to your vision. I don't know if you can do both.



I'm another white girl who worries about coming across as stereotyping. I've written several minority characters (all secondary so far), and while it's never worried me as I was writing them, I have to admit that once I'm done I worry that people will think I'm doing something wrong. I don't want to offend anyone. My characters pop into my head in a variety of ways, and sometimes they aren't white. It's not like I'm writing characters for the purpose of adding diversity. They're just people who happen to be of a particular race.

At the same time, I've always said that I could never write a main character of a different ethnicity than me because I worry that I wouldn't do him justice. However, I've got a girl floating around in my head right now who wants a book and she just happens to be Chinese-American. I'm probably going to write her anyway, but it is something that makes me nervous.

Then you probably should follow the first rule of writing: Write what you know.

If you don't know anything about Chinese-Americans or characters of a different ethnicity than your own, do a little digging and learn something about them. You may not come off as 100 percent accurate, but you won't come off as a poseur either.

At my writer's group Xmas gathering a few weeks ago, one of our members from Great Britain wrote about growing up as an orphan during Christmas. I've never been to England. Probably never will go there, but even if I didn't understand every reference she made about pudding and some of the traditional songs she sang, I understood the spirit. Some things are universal for every ethnic, racial, religious or gender group.

If I were to write a story about the music kids listen to today and how they listen to it, my frame of reference is at least 30 years behind the times. The Stones, Yes, and Aerosmith aren't quite the draws in 2011 they were in 1980. I would have to familiarize myself with what kids are listening to now, and frankly, I'd rather not bother, so that's a story I'm never going to write.

Otherwise, I believe a sufficiently talented writer can make any character sound authentic no matter how far they are removed from their own lives. But not if they aren't willing to do the legwork first.

Learn a little something about the people populating the world you create and if pull it off, the reader will never know you don't know jack about Chinese-Americans.

Snitchcat
12-29-2011, 08:48 PM
Hmm... you know, I don't worry about this. Not one bit. I write the characters that interest me, and if they turn out to be of a specific nationality, so be it. On the other hand, I think I have it easier than most: I write fantasy mainly.

crunchyblanket
12-30-2011, 12:31 AM
I guess the main reason I feel something of a responsibility to my culture is because as far as minorities go, we're a minority among minorities. People often forget we even exist. But being only half-blooded, I'm still somewhat of an outsider even in my own community, and I've never lived on the reservation. I don't know what justice I could do. Or whether I have the stories in me for it.

I feel similarly about my Roma heritage. I'm a half-blood and would probably be considered gadji by most Roma. But at the same time, I want to see characters that aren't thieves and tricksters, and stories that aren't about forced marriage. I just don't know how authentic I can claim to be, though.

aruna
12-30-2011, 11:57 AM
I'm another white girl who worries about coming across as stereotyping. I've written several minority characters (all secondary so far), and while it's never worried me as I was writing them, I have to admit that once I'm done I worry that people will think I'm doing something wrong. I don't want to offend anyone. My characters pop into my head in a variety of ways, and sometimes they aren't white. It's not like I'm writing characters for the purpose of adding diversity. They're just people who happen to be of a particular race.

At the same time, I've always said that I could never write a main character of a different ethnicity than me because I worry that I wouldn't do him justice. However, I've got a girl floating around in my head right now who wants a book and she just happens to be Chinese-American. I'm probably going to write her anyway, but it is something that makes me nervous.


Kathryn Sockett got a lot of flak for The Help -- a book I personally loved. It's only later, when I read reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, that I realised how many blacks hated the book. So yes, there is a risk.

AKyber36
02-02-2012, 08:50 AM
I wasn't raised in a Japanese-American community and I know very few other Japanese-Americans. Oddly enough, that's a common experience for my group, outside of Hawaii and some places in the West Coast... we're a pretty scattered bunch. I do feel a really strong responsibility when it comes to specific Japanese-American issues (like internment) but mostly that sense of responsibility gets diffused to larger PoC groups. If someone says something bad about Chinese-Americans, for example, it hits me as well.

The latest novella I'm working on is set in Hawaii, so I have lots of JA background characters, and a few who have Japanese last names but aren't really JA at all (which I think represents the reality of Hawaii). Before that, I had written no JA characters at all.

I think a lot of people like me are scared of representing our own group, consciously or subconsciously. Write about a white person, your story is "universal". Tell the same story but with a minority the same as you, and many others will peg it as "ethnic literature" and "memoir-like".

I'm the same way in reverse, ViolettaVane. I'm Chinese-American but I also keep tabs on Japanese and Japanese-American news. The one thing that irks me so much is hearing all the flack the Japanese get still - even to this current generation - about WWII and the invasion into China and being warmongers, but that seems to come from being Chinese in of itself (which I seriously get irritated with). Every time I hear that, I wince. Not cool.

Yeah, same here. I don't want to be slotted away in some little niche spot as "ethnic literature". I'm as American as the rest of ya, you know? Just because my cultural heritage comes into play doesn't relegate me into some little corner as if my experiences aren't "American" enough for the average white man or woman.

thothguard51
02-02-2012, 09:01 AM
This is one of the reasons I write SF&F.

Sure, there are cultural problems in these stores and some readers might find them insensitive or a biased form of racism. But being fantasy, they do not represent any singular race, except the white dudes with big war axes and long hair and beards with beads and feathers weaved into them...

Even then I worry about my readers seeing stuff in them that I did not mean because they see a bit of their own culture in them. I am not sure there is anything I can do about that...

Whats a writer to do???

kuwisdelu
02-02-2012, 09:41 AM
Even then I worry about my readers seeing stuff in them that I did not mean because they see a bit of their own culture in them. I am not sure there is anything I can do about that...

Whats a writer to do???

Let them see it. What does it matter whether you intended it or not if it can be interpreted that way?