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White Characters Dominating Fantasy Worlds

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by MilesTro, May 25, 2015.

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  1. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Easy:

    Matthew entered the bar. He was muscle-bound with a firm jaw and a confident stare. 'The Asian Superman' he recalled a drunk saying the last night. His nose twitched. Bars turned sane people into gibbering idiots. This bar was no exception. Hot, sticky, with a disgusting smell of musk, liquor, and other unpleasantry he didn't wish to consider. He would much rather be at home reading but he was here for a reason. He had to talk to someone. That someone was at the bar drinking his problems away.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
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  2. MilesTro

    MilesTro Contributing Member

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    It was a joke.
     
  3. Bookish_Introvert

    Bookish_Introvert Member

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    Does the country of Wakanda from the Marvelverse (X-Men and Black Panther) count?
    Anyway, I agree with you OP that minorities aren't represented nearly enough in the fantasy genre. As a result my main character is a Scandinavian lesbian with a mental disorder, and one of the side characters is Japanese with dual citizenship in Japan and America. Why? Well, because first of all, I have a HUGE crush on Elsa from Frozen, so she sort of inspired the Scandinavian bit, but really I just want to see more mentally disable, Asian, and LGBT characters not just in fantasy but in literature, in general.
     
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  4. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hear, hear! One of my characters is a deaf black kid. Why? Because you hardly see a lot of deaf characters in literature. They're usually blind (which I don't have a problem with, but it'd still be nice to see deaf people represented.)

    And just a note everyone. Please, for the love of GOD, don't make your minority character a 'morality teacher' or an 'inspirational' for all the white, heterosexual, not-disabled, probably Christian characters. I will throw that book into a pot, then put that pot inside of another pot then mail it to myself and smash it with a sledgehammer.
     
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  5. Kingtype

    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Back when I was ten-twelve or so, I made a character (using action figures) who was a pink monster from space who used magic and he wore a big wizard cloak, he also thought he was black.

    Yes.

    Its exactly as bizzare it sounds.
     
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  6. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Sounds tame compared to my early characters from childhood. :D
     
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  7. Kingtype

    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Oh?

    Now that's something I'd to hear.....I came up with A LOT of weird characters but I love to hear about the childhood characters of other. Because ain't nothing cooler then the incredibly strange and warped mind of child!

    Any you'd be willing to share if ya can recall XD ......actually this make a good thread

    Characters from your childhood or something as the title XD
     
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  8. Stacy C

    Stacy C Banned

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    Stumbled across this today. A little hyperbolic, maybe, but an interesting idea:

    "I haven’t read Ward, but having read (a few) romance novels by black writers, and (many more) paranormal romances, I’ve come to a conclusion: Paranormal romance creates for white writers and readers fictional worlds of imminent, anarchic existential threat from vast and powerful forces mostly beyond the protagonists’ control. Black romance writers already live in such a world, and feel no need to add vampires and werewolves to their characters’ already overwhelmingly complicated lives."

    http://pendorwright.com/2015/04/02/the-parallels-between-paranormal-romance-and-black-romance/
     
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  9. Hubardo

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Check out Octavia Butler!
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  10. Lae

    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, quite the exaggeration there.
     
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  11. Jaina

    Jaina Member

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    In my newest story the main female protagonist is a tribe girl with dark skin and black hair. I also think there are too few fantasy characters with different skin colors and as I have myself darker skin I want to change that. That's why there are always people with darker skin in my fantasy worlds. I like to develop different characters from different cultural backgrounds. That's so much more interesting than always playing with the same ideas and appearaces...
     
  12. chinastefani

    chinastefani New Member

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    My fantasy book I am writing is mostly light skin people but I actually have a dark skinned race. They don't come into the story until maybe the 3rd or 4th book but also may appear in the prequel. I'm still in the works of it and I'm considering adding one of the dark skinned characters to my company. The reason for them not appearing to later is because they're on another continent and my characters don't travel there till later.
    I have a whole backstory for this race, they live in houses and wear clothing similar to my other characters. I really wanted to have more diversity in my book. I think it really fits well with the story. I also have a race that has similar features to Koreans but they're not called that. They live a different lifestyle than Koreans did back in the day.
    Basically my fantasy book has dragons, swords and the like.
     
  13. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    In my fantasy, my narrator MC is, well her people typically have coppery/olive skin tone. I also have a major family that consists of a light-skinned husband, and dark-skinned wife and daughter. All of them are warriors/warriors in study.

    ...Of course, seeing as how she's blind, I'm gonna have to figure out how to get around that hurdle. :p I really don't think readers would want an info dump scene that basically says “This character has this skin color, and that character has that skin color.” I'll figure it out. :D

    To be clear, she started off as being white in my head, but a few months back I realized that 99% of my human characters were all white so I diversified them, my MC included.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  14. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    If a fantasy novel is set in our world in the future, a significant number of characters should be mixed race because that is the future of our world. If it's another world where countries or lands are separated and at war, there will be less mixing and it's more likely that people from each part will have certain physical characteristics. If there isn't much travel, they might all be European and white, for example. I wouldn't throw in a dark skinned character just for the sake of it - not really a fan of "token woman" or "token black person" writing.

    In my non-fantasy novel, one main character is white and the other is mixed race. That's just how I pictured them, no reason for it (though maybe my sub-conscious modeled them after me, a white woman, and my dark-skinned husband). It's never mentioned between them and doesn't affect the plot in any way. I do currently have one exchange where a very unlikeable character goes on a racist rant to my mixed-race MC, but I think I'm going to delete it in case it comes off preachy. There are other ways I can cause friction between them.
     
  15. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go back nearly two millenia...the Roman empire stretched from the Red Sea to Scotland, and was made up of dozens of races...there was a black Caesar, for Chrissakes!...half a millenium before that, Hannibal led his army of Africans through Spain and France, crossing the Pyrenees and the Alps, to terrorize Rome with his elephants. A century before him, Alexander's Macedonians marched through the Near East all the way to India. A couple of centuries before that, Xerxes led his Persian army into Greece. And a millenium before that, Moses led the Israelites from Egypt, through the desert, to Canaan.

    Don't talk about "not much travel"!
     
  16. Hubardo

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is probably a big departure but here it goes.

    I'm reading a story taking place mostly in Thailand. One MC is white, one is Chinese, one is Thai, one is Japanese... I have found it hard to keep a consistent mental image of what any of them look like while reading. But there is a part of me that I think assumes they are each white until I remind myself they're not. It is a bit troublesome. There's a lot that goes into this and I'm wondering if others have this experience...
     
  17. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I will, thanks. In a world where there wasn't that type of travel and mixing, there could easily be a book full of single-race characters.
     
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  19. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Whenever I read Murakami, I don't often picture the characters as white Europeans. Because it's set in Japan, and written by a Japanese author, I automatically assume that the characters he writes about are Japanese.
     
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  20. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    400,000 years ago Denisovan man was living in Spain. 40,000 years ago he was living in Siberia. He went on to interbreed with Neanderthals in Spain, and Cro-Magnon man in Polynesia and Australia. How can you envisage a world where there is no travel and no interbreeding? Both have been going on as long as man has been something different from an ape...and probably longer.
     
  21. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I didn't say anything about a world with no travel or interbreeding (which is a term I'd reserve for non-human animals, anyway.) I said: "there will be less mixing and it's more likely that people from each part will have certain physical characteristics. If there isn't much travel, they might all be European and white, for example."

    I also don't need the little history lessons - it's patronising.
     
  22. MilesTro

    MilesTro Contributing Member

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    At least I see diversity in Game of Thrones.
     
  23. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    And you know what all of those examples are? Military conquests or continent spanning empires. And even in the cases of Rome and Persia, most of the subject peoples didn't have a ton of mixing going on and remained distinct. Most people in ancient and medieval times never ventured far from the place of their birth and so would remain of a certain look. Which was the original point, I believe.
     
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  24. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    To get more toward the OP, I think it is a matter of expanding one's reading a bit. There's no doubt that fantasy has been historically dominated by white characters, but today's fantasy, as people have pointed out in this thread, has a lot more to offer in terms of diversity. And this is mainstream fantasy, not obscure stuff. So if you're encountering fantasy with white characters over and over, do a little more digging. You're either subconsciously selecting the same sorts of material over and again, or else maybe you're only reading older fantasy, which is often about white characters. The other stuff is out there now.
     
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  25. MilesTro

    MilesTro Contributing Member

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    How about a world where there are only Mexicans or Latinos?
     

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