1. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    My characters are mixed race and I need input...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by shambles, Feb 22, 2016.

    For anybody out there who is mixed race, what are some significant struggles you have had to deal with concerning your race?

    The majority of my main characters in my WIP are all mixed race. I myself am mixed, so I have a little of my own input for it, but I want other people's experiences as well.

    I want each of my characters to have a distinct struggle concerning their race. Thank you all!
     
  2. Echoblammo
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    Echoblammo New Member

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    If you've ever read the Book 'Bronx Masquerade' there is a Character who is mixed race and her struggle is how beautiful she is. Everybody thinks her skin is beautiful and her hair is gorgeous. Everybody is jealous of her and she hates it. People think that she thinks she's above all of them but she really isn't. Eventually she cuts her hair to take away the attention from herself, but she regrets it for rejecting who she really is.

    So maybe his/her Struggle in life is something 'positive'

    Also, welcome to the Forums! I see you joined today.
     
  3. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    Yeah :) I joined today. I'm really glad I found this forum!

    My MC is half Native American and half white. I'm also part Native and part white and I have always questioned my "Nativeness" for lack of a better word. So I was thinking of maybe making her question the same thing. What do you think?
     
  4. Caterwaulings
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    Caterwaulings Member

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    Check out http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/ It's a fantastic resource with all things involving race and writing. I am sure you will get a lot of stories on the forum as well, but this might give you a bit more.

    Best of luck!
     
  5. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    Thank you!
     
  6. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I don't have anything from my own personal race issues but I spent some time many years ago in group therapy. One of the women in the group was half Native American and something else I don't recall. The group focused on drug and alcohol issues and she HATED being in the Native American drunk stereotype. I think she got a lot of pressure from her family about it also since they had worked hard not to fall into that category.
     
  7. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    I'm having my main character's mother be an alcoholic because of past trauma due to sexual assault. I kind of feel bad about putting herr in the category, but it is definitely a major issue in Native communities.
     
  8. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    For lack of a better term, Mexican culture is more direct than some other cultures. I went to pre-kindergarten with a bunch of upper-class white kids, and they were used to commands being phrased in the form of questions. ("Would you like to pick your jacket up off the floor?") At that age, I had no framework for the idea that a command could be phrased as anything other than a command, so the teacher assumed I was intentionally defying and mocking her.

    On the flipside, I've never really felt like a member of the Hispanic community. I've tried attending Mexican-American gatherings, and no one ever tells me I don't belong or tries to make me feel unwelcome, but I still feel like I don't have the same background and experiences as a lot of folks there.

    My Native American heritage is even messier, since I don't know what the tribe was. (My ancestor was adopted by Mexicans after a massacre.) You can see my heritage in my facial structure, but I have no meaningful cultural connection to that background.

    I don't really see eye to eye with Writing with Color. They come across a bit too racial essentialist for my taste.
     
  9. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    Thank you! I have traveled to Central and South America and the Carribean and i noticed that they were very direct. The only thing is that I dont have a lot of experience with Mexican culture. So i figured I'd ask because I don't want to just wing it and get some things messed up.

    Also, I checked out the tumblr and I made sure to write down some things they suggested. That had some good ideas
     
  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, there's a Buzzfeed video called "The Struggle of Being Mixed Race". I'm sure you can find it on YouTube (I can't link it right now). Whether or not one is on the same wavelength with them is another issue, but at the very least it would give you more ideas about how a number of people see their race. I saw a response video to it by another youtuber, Andy Warski, and apparently he's half-Portuguese (ergo half-Hispanic?), half white Caucasian, and he didn't seem to connect with the struggle, so clearly there are many ways to embrace mixed race identities.

    Come to think of it, YouTube is actually a pretty useful place to learn about other people's experiences as it gives a voice to people from all walks of life.

    People sometimes make remarks on the bone structure of my face and my eyelids 'cause they're slightly unusual in comparison to other white people (the last time it happened in London: "You don't look Scandinavian"), but I'm always happy to talk about my heritage and never find it "problematic" to talk about it. Some people seem to be bothered by it (as the Buzzfeed video suggests). I won't hold it against anyone if they don't immediately guess where I'm from. Then again, here in the West it'd be extremely unlikely for me to get shit based solely on my looks because I'm white and whites are the majority.

    I wrote a mixed race character (white/black/Hispanic) to a sci-fi story but as it takes place in a society somewhat different from ours (it's less eurocentric, so you're not the odd one out if you aren't white...), I didn't approach it the same way as I'd approach a mixed race character in a contemporary story.
     
  11. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    I'll definitely check out YouTube! And I have a friend who is also mostly Portuguese and her skin is rather light since Portugal is in Europe. She has never seemed to be able to identify with her other mixed friends and I very well when it comes to racial struggles. So maybe that's why the guy who was part Portuguese felt that way?
     
  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I think it's possible. Although in the Buzzfeed video some of the people looked white to me (there was a half-Mexican guy, for example), who still considered it a struggle to be mixed race. I think if one has more "minority characteristics", say certain kind of eyelids or darker skin color, there may be more challenges with prejudice in their lives, but, then again, there are so many variables at play and I think when you're crafting your character, the place they live in, the time period, their economical background etc. can all have an impact on their experience and identity.

    To me, the half-Portuguese guy actually looked Slavic. :D
     
  13. shambles
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    shambles Member

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    Yeah, environment has a lot to do with it I'd say. My character lives in a modern day impoverished community with mainly people of color or mixed race, but goes to school with whites form across the river.
     

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