Subverting Stereotypes: Black Female Characters:
I don’t think it’s a trope per se, but it can be. Hand-picking traits just to avoid stereotypes could actually make your character’s existence forced and contrived. Why not let her develop naturally? No need to construct her piece by piece like Frankenstein’s monster, assuring she’s perfectly anti-stereotypical in every facade.
You might write yourself in a box with her in this way; for what happens when she gets angry? Oops, there’s the Angry Black Woman stereotype so I suppose she can’t show that emotion, even if she has the right to feel the emotion and perhaps act on it.
I’d say let go a little. Let your character be herself, whatever self that may be. I think it’s good to be aware of the stereotypes and harmful portrayals that exist, and yes, to create portrayals that so often Black female characters are denied (allowed to be gentle, soft, loved…) Just make sure you’re still writing a dynamic character and not a caricature who just happens to be the opposite of what we typically get from the character.
Many stereotypes exist towards Black women so I can’t say which ones you’re subverting exactly, but even so, make sure each of your Black characters are varied and not all exact subverted clones. One may be outspoken with a snarky sense of humor; these traits don’t equal “sassy.” Another might be protective and really care for her family and friends (who love and care for her in return), it doesn’t equal “mammy.” Another might fight a potential romance because she’s been wounded in the past; it doesn’t mean she’s “strong, independent and don’t need no man.”
In any of those cases, make sure she’s more than that, especially since yes there’s a likewise trope that exists around those traits.
On that same note; it’s not your job to keep people from stereotyping them. You might not be able to help it if someone sees your Black girl who makes amusing comments as “Sassy.” If their limited imaginations don’t allow them to see Black women as more than the molds they’re comfortable with, that’s not your problem.
I don’t think there is a trope for making a character anti-stereotypical from what I’ve researched. Maybe an Anti-Sue? The trap is making the character too perfect. To swing to the opposite end of the pendulum is to say that in order to be a hero, a character of color must be perfect.
Although it isn’t a trope per se, you can run the risk of subverting one stereotype for another stereotype that could be equal damaging. I mean, if you are subverting the stereotype that Black women are loud and aggressive and you make her quiet and submissive, that is just playing into another stereotype, albeit not a common one. The complexity of your characters personality shouldn’t just be a list of stereotypes juxtaposed against other stereotypes. As Colette said, just let her develop naturally. So what if some of the things she does are stereotypical, it doesn’t mean she’s a stereotype. If that’s just her personality, then it’ll come through that she is doing some things because that’s her and not because she’s Black.
As Mod Colette has already said, you can make your character so anti-stereotypical that you’ve sanitized some of what makes your character interesting and stripped her of her culture in some ways. As long as your character is well rounded, has strengths and weaknesses, and doesn’t come off like you are trying too hard (i.e. having the character be perfect), you shouldn’t have any problems.