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  1. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    Sensitivity Readers

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Earp, Dec 28, 2017.

  2. BayView

    BayView Not even a little tender Contributor

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    Do you write stories that feature minority characters from a minority you aren't part of? If not, I don't think there's any call for sensitivity readers. If so... I guess it depends on how much they cost and who pays for them. If my publisher will pay for them, I'm more than happy to get the insight. If they won't, I'd have to take a hard look at things...
     
  3. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    The article wasn't clear about who arranges and pays for sensitivity reading, so I don't know. In the stuff I write, very few characters are described according to race or sexual preference, so the reader can handle that labeling.
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Not even a little tender Contributor

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    I know of at least one publisher that pays for sensitivity readers; I'm not sure if there are others.
     
  5. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    They're just a way around having to do extensive research on marginalized groups yourself, or at least checking for blind spots. A lot of people pay for them out of pocket and since it's a fairly new field I've seen rather wildly differing rates. I think it's valuable, but I don't see myself paying for one because I'm poor and I prefer to research and understand for myself anyway.
     
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  6. Damien Loveshaft

    Damien Loveshaft Active Member

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    I don't really see the point in them. It just seems too subjective. Even as a Transperson for instance, I don't always agree with other trans people on what should and should not be allowed. There are others who share my qualms too. Things like if certain characters are even considered trans (especially thanks too Japanese okama culture), I say the word tranny all the time where others don't like it, and I am on the side of people being allowed to reject dating trans people. Sensitivity is just way too subjective from person to person and I find many times the minority isn't even the sensitivity consultant.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Makes perfect sense to me. If you’d ask a doctor to look at a manuscript with significant medical content, then it makes sense to ask a person of a given group to look at a manuscript with significant content related to that group.

    As a really trivial example, I’m remembering a male detective in a cop show asking the female detective, “Wouldn’t she put the purse on the floor?” (Of a bathroom stall.) and her giving him a look and saying, “She’d hang it on the hook.”

    Different lives mean different experiences. Getting it right, or knowing that you’re doing something unexpected if you decide to keep doing that unexpected thing, is good.
     
  8. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    This is fucking stupid, but at least it's not mandatory to submit to a "sensitivity reader". God help us all if the ideologues gain control of the publishing industry. Soon we'll be burning books that feature straight white protagonists.
     
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  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    A little hysterical here.
     
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  10. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Facetious, but emoticons cramp my style. I do still find the whole concept utterly ridiculous and laughable.
     
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  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Is it the word “sensitivity” that bothers you? Because surely accuracy is a useful goal.
     
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  12. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    [Politics]

    In the UK, a Xmas backlash has occurred to apparent right-think.

    The Education Minister, in an announcement, 'universities shall end current practice of banning contentious speakers, those dirty snowflakes:

    Young people should be robust enough to...hear...both sides...of an argument,' he says.

    Old Tories love this kind of muscle, y'know, very sexy.

    ...

    Same goes with that Lewis Hamilton story

    'Ah cuz, you're four years old, what the fack you wearing ballerina dress for you twat, hang on I'll put your wand on Twitter.'

    Hamilton facing 20 year sentence possibly for child abuse/gender orientation in public space, contract ruined with Schweppes-Benetton/and umm Mclaren
     
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  13. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    No, words don't bother me. That's like my whole thing. Sure, I think the euphemistic language people use to protect feelings is insulting to the emotional fortitude people actually have, but I won't pick a fight with a word unless it's being used dishonestly. My issue with the article is pretty much this:

    Implying that white people can't be "diverse." "Diversity" means diversity of thought and experience -- not skin color.

    The author (Ryan Douglass) also paints white people as a cultural superpower that actively oppresses everything that isn't white and straight.

    Ryan Douglass is a racist, and "sensitivity readers" is a thinly-veiled attempt to push an ideological agenda that seeks power instead of the actual betterment of the people it claims to fight for.
     
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  14. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't had any of my works go through an official sensitivity reader, but I've been doing this via betas who are part of most marginalized groups I've written about. I write m/m romance, so I have two betas who are gay men. I wrote an MC who was Jewish, so I asked one of my friends who is Jewish to beta the parts where Nate's religion is brought up. My MC Jaeden is bisexual, and I have two bisexual betas.

    I don't find it any different than having the parts of UTK set in New Zealand beta'd by my friend who lives there. My WIP currently being edited takes place in the L.A. music scene, so @Shenanigator is going to be my beta for that to make sure I haven't gone off the rails anywhere. As a straight white middle-aged suburban mom who lives in the Midwest USA, I know for a fact that my experiences are extremely limited in scope and I welcome as much assistance as possible in making sure that I don't wildly or stereotypically misrepresent someone from any group that makes up a large part of my works.
     
  15. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    The hyperbole burns with the fire of a thousand suns.
     
  16. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    Can’t we do us and you do you?

    Chill.
     
  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    By the way, doesn't this thread belong in the Debate Room?
     
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  18. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    I can't ask any of our intergalactic neighbors to see how my portrayal of Alien species,
    and what may or may not be offensive about them. Guess I should add a bit of notice on
    on the off chance my book survives long enough to be read by another species outside
    of humans.
    (Sci-Fi Problems, don't want to cause a Galaxy sized whoopsie.)
    Until then I can only hope to not paint them in a negative light.
     
  19. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Of course you can do you. I wouldn't dream of stopping you. I'm just offering my opinion on a discussion asking for it.
     
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  20. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    This. I consider sensitvitiy readers just another form of Beta reader, or an extension of the research / fact-checking process. Why wouldn't I want to learn from another Beta?

    I had someone with knowledge of cater-waitering check the choreography of a catering scene I wrote, I have people I call "the New York Advisory Board" double check anything New York ("Ever lived in a Classic Six?"), I've fact checked other things with doctors and counselors, I've run things by abuse victims, and I'll be having someone check my references to Russian culture and the experience of Russian immigrants.

    Doing the research is one thing, but applying that research in the proper context is a whole other thing. Plus, getting input from someone who actually experienced that thing inspires other things the author hadn't considered. My cater-waiter interviewee made a small suggestion I hadn't thought of that ended up becoming one of my MC's most humorous character flaws.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  21. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    K.

    Imagine if someone posted a thread saying "Should I use a thesaurus when I'm writing?"

    And you replied saying: "No, of course not. That's fucking stupid. It's ridiculous. Laughable. God help us if those people ever take over the industry. At least it's not mandatory. What's next? Will we start burning every book that doesn't use a thesaurus?"

    That kind of response seems a bit unhelpful.

    A little mean-spirited, even.
     
  22. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    No one here is asking for help. Earp posted the article and gave his opinion. Then others gave their opinion, myself included. You just don't like my opinion or the way I said it. That's not my problem. Nor is the fact that apparently almost no one understands deliberate hyperbole. But, that may be my fault for trying to tell a joke on the internet, where tone of voice goes to die, and people quibble over how things are said rather than the content of the message.
     
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  23. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    If no one realizes you're making a joke it's probably because your comment wasn't particularly humorous to anyone but you.
     
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  24. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    Clearly I've chosen the wrong audience. Feels like I walked into nearest university safe space and opened with: "A Jew and a black guy walk into a gay bar..."

    Unfortunately for you and the rest of the PC police, I can dish it out and take it. You won't get rid of my problematic opinions with mockery.
     
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