1. YouBeTheDelta
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    YouBeTheDelta New Member

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    Hi + accidental reflection on minority main characters

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by YouBeTheDelta, May 22, 2015.

    Hi!

    Delta here. Just graduated. Hoping to make the most of the two months I have right now before I start working. Checked out a few other writing forums in search of a community centered more on honing writing skills and less on publishing. I knew I found the right one when I saw the way this one was laid out, so I'm just getting started checking this place out.

    I am a second generation immigrant, which has ended up important in my writing because I try to explain both the American culture and the South Asian culture to each other. The second perspective on how we live life comes in handy to other people, I am finding out. This was surprising for me, however, because I had originally struck out, from long ago, to someday write the kind of stories that had inspired me as a child. I had intended to go into the fantasy and science fiction route, but my professors made me realize there's a lot to say about the experiences other South Asian kids growing up here.

    At the moment they seem to be more worthwhile than the fiction I have been trying to write lately. So I struggle now to go the scifi / fantasy route, which I think will make me happy, but I know there is a lot I can do by simply writing fiction with South Asian characters. I've actually been trying to figure out how to make my South Asian protagonist fit into my science fiction story right now without feeling weird about it. "Why shouldn't I be able to put them together?" was my original thought.

    I have to admit, I was rather disturbed by the fact that eventually I started seeing science fiction and fantasy as a "white" realm when I went into high school. I am wondering if there are more minority writers here. I definitely found myself writing white protagonists as a kid, and I am wondering if any of you out there had done the same without realizing it as I had. How does this issue affect you now? It's very possible I just haven't been looking in the right places, but the fact that I have to look in a particular place is itself indicative of the fact that there is mass under-representation of other cultures -- and it is a fact not just for these genres, but also for the media in America in general.

    Well, that was a lot more than I expected to say. Thoughts?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum! :)

    Goodness, yes, lots to talk about.

    First, the formalities: Here is the New Member Quick Start that will point you to important information about our site and also to our Forum Rules.

    Now, with that out of the way, I see no reason you cannot combine the two things. As soon as you mentioned South Asia and Science Fiction I immediately thought of The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Science Fiction that takes place in South East Asia written by an American of (I think) Portuguese descent. There are many writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy here in our forum that represent a great degree of diversity as regards culture, ethnicity, and gender.

    I've always written protags that were more representative of me than "the default" protag. I'm latino and gay. Lot's my stories star latino and gay protags. :)
     
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  3. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Howdy! I'm new here too.

    It is a very interesting point as to why most SF protagonists seem to be white. I have to say, I've written a few non-white characters, but the majority do tend to be white.

    In my case, I've actually put a lot of thought into it in most cases; a lot of my themes tend to be based around social class, and I really don't want anyone to be misinterpreting those themes as clumsy race-based themes, rather than reasonably workable class-based ones. If I write a white character from a backwater colony world, trying to scrape together a living to feed his/her family while the Galactic Hegemony and Big Farming Inc. conspire to force them to submit to indentured servitude, the message is pretty clearly about class and wealth divides in an uncaring, corporate universe. If I make my protagonist's skin a few shades darker... it starts to look like I'm trying to say something else, which could cause some big problems if the theme gets any more complex than that.

    Just my thoughts on this.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
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  4. YouBeTheDelta
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    YouBeTheDelta New Member

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    I see! It'll be a major relief to find examples of such works. I definitely feel isolated and overwhelmed without a few examples (my avatar picture actually hints at it beyond simply a funny quote from Mindy). Are there any other works with minority characters who play big roles? Even in most shows today, they seem to play off of comedic stereotypes. I haven't found many Indian characters I can take seriously -- and I've seen three Indian male characters in shows all of which are comic relief.
     
  5. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum! :)

    The Two Pearls of Wisdom
    and Eona are fantasy novels set in Chinese-sque setting, so those came to mind. I think the author is white, though. I'm not sure why so many SF/F authors are white... But I'm sure non-whites and minorities are very much welcome to the genre! It's great you've decided to write a character/characters who feel represent your ethnicity. You're the expert there, after all. :)

    And no, I haven't found a novel written in English with a Finnish protagonist, either. Damn, we haven't even been the comic relief! We'd make a great comic relief; always drunk and stabbing people. Someone should do that... :D
     
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