PDA

View Full Version : Have you ever tried ....



Kaarl
05-23-2013, 01:18 PM
Making characters different races than what the author says if it seems they are just describing them like that for the token (insert race/colour here) effect ?

In particular , one of them (very famous and in my opinion not very good but everyone has their vices) decided to use "black medical examiner" to describe someone so I thought "Right: I'll make the MC that race and the medical examiner can be Australian"

It may be petty, silly and somewhat difficult a quarter of the way through a novel but I found it fun and liberating. It was like revenge; the author wanted me to see things one way so I gave that notion the finger and did my own thing because he had the audacity to use "black" as an adjective for no other reason it seemed than a half-assed attempt at diversity.

*EDIT* It's not just for the use of that word. When the MC needs something this lady is all business; when left to her own devices he manages (intentionally or not) to make her seem like the coloured maid from the old Tom and Jerry cartoons. The one that said things like "O-W-T out!" and "Good lordy". If I am ever fortunate enough to be a famous author and travel in his circles I swear before baby Jesus this will be the first thing I say to him after "Hello"

Cathy C
05-23-2013, 03:41 PM
Actually, I have! Sometimes I like to "re-cast" novels with people not origionally intended. A couple of times, when the book is made into a movie, I've been taken aback by the visual, because I wind up forgetting that I changed people. :ROFL:

lolchemist
05-23-2013, 03:46 PM
I don't do it anymore but I started doing this around 10-11 actually because it was making me miserable that everyone in every book I read was WHITEWHITEWHITE so basically I'd just re-cast the characters as different actors and actresses in my head. Rudy from the Cosby Show was my go-to MC for a while actually. In my head she played Ramona, Margaret from Are You There God? It's Me Margaret (yes... I know...) and the girl from A Secret Garden. Don't ask me why I picked a black girl when I'm not even black but yeah. And then the other characters had to be one Turkish person, one asian, one hispanic, and then a blonde white person, a red haired white person and then I'd go back to other races again like Indian or whatever and I'd only do brown haired white person if I literally couldn't come up with anything else. And sometimes if there were too many girls, i'd turn some of them into boys or if it was the Hobbit with no girls at all, I'd make the MC and some of the other ones girls. Even family members would be all different races LOL! That's why I liked The Babysitter's Club because there was already a black and an Asian girl in it. But I changed the other white people into like Hispanic and stuff except for the redhead and Kristy because I didn't like her and I'd just skip over her parts anyways.

Okay this is turning into a rambling trip down memory lane so I'll stop now.

kuwisdelu
05-23-2013, 06:54 PM
he had the audacity to use "black" as an adjective

Huh?

shakeysix
05-23-2013, 07:00 PM
I used to turn one of the Hardy Boys into a girl --Frankie-- because I hated that the girl characters from that era were so squeaky and helpless. Even Nancy Drew gave me a pain. Things did get weird when Frank and Callie danced but I persevered --Way ahead of my times--s6

Cyia
05-23-2013, 07:26 PM
I'm not sure that I've ever consciously changed a character's race, but I have assumed someone wasn't white because they reminded me of someone I knew, and then got a shock when they were finally described.



I thought "Right: I'll make the MC that race and the medical examiner can be Australian"


There are black Australians, so s/he could be both.

Kaarl
05-23-2013, 11:21 PM
Huh?

In grammar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammar), an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syntax) role of which is to qualify (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_modifier) a noun (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun) or noun phrase (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun_phrase), giving more information about the object signified.

Do you just post rubbish to hear the sound of your own keyboard ?

Kaarl
05-23-2013, 11:22 PM
I'm not sure that I've ever consciously changed a character's race, but I have assumed someone wasn't white because they reminded me of someone I knew, and then got a shock when they were finally described.



There are black Australians, so s/he could be both.


And not just Aboriginal of course :) Leaves a lot open to you really. Like I said I only recently decided to try this out, its not a hobby or anything but I'm glad I'm not the only one.

kuwisdelu
05-23-2013, 11:23 PM
In grammar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammar), an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syntax) role of which is to qualify (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_modifier) a noun (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun) or noun phrase (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun_phrase), giving more information about the object signified.

And how is using an adjective audacious?


Do you just post rubbish to hear the sound of your own keyboard ?

I suggest toning back the ad hominem.

Kaarl
05-23-2013, 11:35 PM
And how is using an adjective audacious?



I suggest toning back the ad hominem.


1) Showing an impudent lack of respect by believing that just by adding the adjective "black" to one person's description (the rest of it being their profession no less) somehow makes the book diverse instead of just being at the best a lazy hat tip to other cultures. This is of course MY opinion of the reason for it but I would be happy to know WHY I could be taking this the wrong way and to have another perspective offered.

2) Noted, fair call and apologies; long bloody day

kuwisdelu
05-23-2013, 11:39 PM
1) Showing an impudent lack of respect by believing that just by adding the adjective "black" to one person's description (the rest of it being their profession no less) somehow makes the book diverse instead of just being at the best a lazy hat tip to other cultures. This is of course MY opinion of the reason for it but I would be happy to know WHY I could be taking this the wrong way and to have another perspective offered.

If the character is black, it hardly seems inappropriate to mention it.

Do you avoid mentioning the sex of a character unless it's important?

Kaarl
05-23-2013, 11:55 PM
I think the sex of the character can be determined through he/she said/did/felt etc. Their names in conjunction with these sort of words often don't require any mentioning of sex for the reader to know.

'Her face soaked with sweat, Sally, a woman, blah blah ...' seems off.

I have God as a character in my novel, and use 'it' instead of he/she etc. Nowhere do I mention it's sex (or lack of), I haven't quite avoided it but I don't think its important.

kuwisdelu
05-24-2013, 12:00 AM
I think the sex of the character can be determined through he/she said/did/felt etc. Their names in conjunction with these sort of words often don't require any mentioning of sex for the reader to know.

'Her face soaked with sweat, Sally, a woman, blah blah ...' seems off.

And saying "a black doctor" doesn't really seem off to me. If the author wrote "the doctor, who, by the way, is a black guy, and did I mention he's black?" then I might agree with you.

Do you dislike it when a character briefly mentions hair color or eye color?

If it's a gratuitously long and pointless description, sure, I can understand, but I don't see why it's audacious to spend a single word to say that a character is black or has brown hair or whatever.

Jcomp
05-24-2013, 01:39 AM
And saying "a black doctor" doesn't really seem off to me. If the author wrote "the doctor, who, by the way, is a black guy, and did I mention he's black?" then I might agree with you.


Well, I can see the point of potential offense if it is indeed the sole physical description given to the character. "She was a short, black woman with dark eyes" seems fine to me, whereas, "She was a black woman" by itself, and left at that alone, would be odd.

In the real world, I actually think it's silly when people go out of their way to avoid mentionin someone's race. (I used to work retail sales with one other black guy on the floor. When other customers were looking for him, they'd go out of their way to say anything except "he's black." Instead they say "his hair is thinning, he's kind of overweight," etc. I'm thinking, "he'd probably rather you just say he's black than say the other stuff.")

And I'm in favor of inclusiveness and diversity for its own sake. I think a character doesn't need a reason to be what they are. But if that's their sole distinction, it certainly could come across as weird. Hell, even in the real world, if I was telling my friends an anecdote about someone I bumped into in the street, and all I said about him physically was, "It was this Asian dude," and left it at that, I feel like it would be strange. If I'm trying to paint a picture in someone's mind of how he looks, then I need to do more than leave it at that single description. Even a couple of simple, extra adjectives ("tall and skinny,") would negate any potentially troublesome implications, because then I'm trying to give you a better picture of the person I'm talking about. Otherwise, there are some unfortunate implications that might be associated with that. Like, perhaps, I'm expecting you to fill in the rest of the blanks with stereotypical features of an "Asian dude." Or that Asian is all I see him as.

kuwisdelu
05-24-2013, 02:31 AM
Well, I can see the point of potential offense if it is indeed the sole physical description given to the character. "She was a short, black woman with dark eyes" seems fine to me, whereas, "She was a black woman" by itself, and left at that alone, would be odd.

Yes, that too.

Just changing it to "a tall, black woman" does read differently.

Basically, all I'm saying is:


And I'm in favor of inclusiveness and diversity for its own sake. I think a character doesn't need a reason to be what they are.