Stereotyped vs Nuanced Characters and Audience Perception
Writing with color receives many questions regarding the stereotypes Characters of Color and their story lines may possess.
There’s a difference between having a three-dimensional character with trait variance and flaws, versus one who walks the footsteps of a role people of their race/ethnicity are constantly put into. Let’s discuss this, as well as how sometimes, while there’s not much issue with the character, a biased audience will not allow the character to be dimensional.
But first: it’s crucial to consider the thinking behind your literary decisions.
When it comes to the roles and traits you assign your characters, it’s important to ask yourself why you made them the way they are. This is especially true for your marginalized characters.
So you need an intimidating, scary character. What does intimidating look like on first brainstorm? Is it a Black man, large in size or presence? (aka a Scary Black Man) A Latino with trouble with the law? If so, why?
Really dig, even as it gets uncomfortable. You’ll likely find you’re conditioned to think of certain people in certain roles on the spot.
It’s a vicious cycle; we see a group of people represented a certain way in media, and in our own works depict them in the way we know. Whether you consciously believe it’s the truest depiction of them all or not, we’re conditioned to select them for these roles again and again. Actors of Color report on being told in auditions they’re not performing stereotypical enough and have been encouraged to act more “ethnic.”
This ugly merry-go-round scarcely applies to (cis, straight) white people as they are allowed a multitude of roles in media. Well, then again, I do notice a funny trend of using white characters when stories need a leader, a hero, royalty, a love interest…
Today’s the day to break free from this preconditioned role-assigning.
ADAM: And this is the famous Michigan Theatre. They built it back in the 1920s, with huge sums of money. It’s built, ironically, on the exact same site as Henry Ford made his very first prototype. They used to be able to seat over 4,000 people in here.
EVE: It’s fantastic! For what, for concerts?
ADAM: Concerts, and as a movie house, can you imagine? Mirrors used to reflect the chandeliers. And now… a car park.
Request:Hey there:) can I request something where Bruce comes back from patrol frustrated because the trail he was tracking went cold or something so the reader helps him blow off some steam? Can it be a little smutty please? Thanks;)
Description: After going on a wild goose chase with none other than The Riddler, Bruce returns frustrated and defeated. Y/N attempts to make her lover feel better, but only one thing can make him feel like himself and clear his mind.
ok so in my first language we have three kinds of ‘you’. one that’s v informal (one you’d use for your best friend), there’s a formal one and then there’s one in the middle which is used most but it’s so intimate when used between lovers and maybe it’s just my v biased ears but whenever dan says “phil” and talks about/ to him i can literally hear the ‘lover you’ dripping from his voice it’s so fond and so intimate and special like why does he have to do that
“Talk.” The order is practically spat out from behind the cold metal that kisses Gladiolus’s temple, uncharacteristically chilling azure crystals glaring down into the calm amber. Every movement is scrutinized by the blond as Gladio slowly raises empty hands in surrender.
Prompto’s posture is in top form despite having snapped awake before the swordsman, quick to pin him down by straddling his waist, no time wasted in summoning Quicksilver in a flash of blinding blue light. Gladio goes against all the training he endured as the Prince’s Shield, lessons drilled into his very core to deal with any attackers thinking they could slip by in the dark of the night. He doesn’t rise to his feet with a warrior’s howl, doesn’t call upon his great blade to easily dispatch the gunner hovering above him. Instead he does as he’s asked, voice still holding the softness reserved only for Prompto, saved especially when his lover had lost his way in the crevice of ruthless nightmares.
“When we first met for Crownsguard training, I figured that was it. You were a scrawny little thing–still are–, but you kept on showing up no matter how bad you were beaten. You were so determined to prove yourself. Noct told me how your parents were never home, and so I invited you over to dinner that same night. Pretty sure Dad wanted to adopt you. Could tell how important we were to each other before we did.”
A flicker of recollection passes in a blink, the blond shifting ever so slightly, weapon unwavering at point blank.
“You twisted your ankle during your final training, but you didn’t let anyone know. You were so damn happy when you passed, nearly lost ya when the adrenaline wore off. ‘Course, you said it didn’t hurt, but I knew better. I carried you to the doctor’s, and you didn’t complain once. I was so proud of you that day. You recruited Iris into handing me a love note afterwards because you were too shy still to do it yourself–probably why she’s a sappy romantic. You signed it as a ‘secret admirer’, but I knew it was you.”
“…Tell me what it said.” There’s an edge in his tone, trying to sound so intimidating as if to conceal the crack in composure. Gladio has it memorized by heart, shred of paper secretly treasured as a bookmark in the novel he’s never without.
“‘Roses are red, violets are blue. Hey, Gladio, I…kinda love you. How hopeless am I, right? It’s just whenever I see you fight….You’re also so nice, making my heart beat twice. I don’t know if you’d ever love someone like me, but maybe meet at your favorite noodle place around three?’” He catches Prompto subtly mouthing the words underneath his breath, eyes narrowing as it’s recited word for word.
Silence fills the bedroom, followed by the deafening ‘click’ of ammunition locking into place. Gladio knows he’s right, and Prompto does, too.
“This isn’t fair.” The traitorous thought is uttered aloud, along with the start of a sniffle that tries to play off as a shaky inhale of breath and nothing more with a bite on his quivering bottom lip. Inner turmoil is clashing in conflicted cerulean, bloodshot red rimming around the edges with rapid blinks. Still, Prompto remains firm, fingers skittish over the trigger.
“When I saw your stretchmarks for the first time, you were so embarrassed that you tried to cover up. I told you that you were beautiful just as you were, that they were another thing to love about you. Dedication, courage, strength. You thought yourself so unworthy of love and cried as I kissed them and held you close.”
Whatever will Prompto had managed to scrape together is shattered at the statements, completely unfazed by Gladio’s gentle grip on his wrists, coaxing the gun away before harmlessly vanishing from whence it came in a flash of teal. The gunner makes no movements, makes no sound, only staring past his lover as realization kicks in but a second later with an exhale that takes the air out of him. If the blond says anything, Gladio doesn’t catch it as he immediately sits up, catching Prompto before he slumps entirely forward.
“Oh–Oh, G–Gods–” Hot tears stream down onto tattooed feathers, muscled arms securely wrapped around the blond as if to keep him from completely breaking down. His hands are still raised from holding the weapon, tucked between bodies, and it hurts that he can’t cling onto the man like he so desperately wants to. Maybe it’s best this way, that there’s less risk to harm him. “I–I–I almost–”
“You didn’t.” Gladio assures him, repeats it as many times as necessary and more, hand carding up into the disheveled blond locks and cradling the back of his head. Endless apologies are sobbed into his bare shoulder, and he massages soothing circles on his trembling back. “Ssh, Prom. It’s okay. You went through hell at the hands of that bastard, you have nothing to apologize for. I’m here. We’re in this together, and I need you to breathe, okay? Breathe with me, Prompto. Can you do that?”
Prompto nods, albeit shakily, interrupted by hiccups. He squirms in Gladio’s tight hold, released just enough to get comfortable and to wind his own arms around the broad chest. He feels infinitely better just at that, melting into him. Further words of comfort are murmured into Prompto’s ear between measured breaths, counted by tender kisses pressed on top of the crown of gold.
Together with Gladio, he’s warm and safe and loved.
When the next time inevitably comes, he’s terrified he won’t be so lucky.
Beautiful, More Than Survive, and Anybody Have a Map are
simultaneous, all happening on the first day of school. Veronica and Evan are
both seniors and are both dreading the day. I’m unsure about Jeremy’s grade.
Connor shoves Evan before class and Waving Through A Window
happens. Connor steals Evan’s letter later that day and therein disappears.
Before news comes out that he killed himself, Veronica is becoming integrated
into the Heathers. Jeremy auditions for the school play and gets in. Candy Store
News comes out about Connor’s suicide. JD takes the most
interest in it, trying to find out what he can, and so he starts getting more
of a face around school. He gets into a fight and Fight For Me takes place.
Veronica falls hard for him and he invites her out after school. Jeremy goes to
rehearsal and I Love Play Rehearsal takes place. While JD is courting Veronica
with Freeze Your Brain, Evan is stuck at the Murphys, lying through For
Evan freaks out and tells Jared about the letters and
together they write up the fake letters through Sincerely Me. Meanwhile Rich
introduces Jeremy to squip. Over the couple days it takes to write the letters,
Jeremy hangs out with Michael and plays video games with him and Veronica grows
closer to JD and the Heathers, leaving Martha behind.
Evan delivers the letters to the Murphys, prompting Requiem.
He grows closer to Zoe over the course of a couple of weeks, eventually leading
to If I Could Tell Her. He kisses Zoe and their relationship seems lost.
Meanwhile at play rehearsal, Jeremy takes the squip and The Squip Enters takes
place. He escapes and goes to the mall where Be More Chill (part 1), Do You
Wanna Ride, and Be More Chill (part 2) all happen. While Jeremy is learning to
deal with this at the mall, Evan has his Disappear moment with Connor, which
leads to him organizing the Connor Project over the next week.
Jeremy sings More Than Survive (Reprise), getting more used
to the Squip. At rehearsals, Christine sings A Guy That I’d Kinda Be Into,
getting Jeremy’s hopes up, only for them to crash. Evan instigates the assembly
at school with You Will Be Found. While his fame is growing, Jeremy is told to
Upgrade and he agrees, at the cost of his friendship with Michael.
Because of how heavy the assembly was, and because it’s
close to Halloween, Kurt and Ram plan a party with Jake, meaning Halloween and
Big Fun take place simultaneously at the same part (which is at Jake’s house,
not Kurt or Ram’s). Do you Wanna Hang and Michael in the Bathroom take place
with their respective characters at the same time that Dead Girl Walking takes
place. Evan is at home with Zoe because they don’t like parties.
While Rich Set a Fire is taking place and rumors are
spreading, Veronica accidentally kills Heather Chandler and Me Inside of Me
takes place, coming off of the heels of The Connor Project, so her “suicide” is
even more impactful. JD’s desire to cover it up as a suicide comes both from
Connor and from his mother.
While the school is mourning for Heather and Connor, Blue
and Our Love is God take place, and because JD has seen how the school has made
fun of gay people (from calling Jeremy gay for joining the play to the rumor
that Rich is gay and that’s why he set a fire) JD’s plan to make Kurt and Ram
seem like lovers only grows. They kill them, leading to My Dead Gay Son, and
the school mourns even more suicides,
which strengthens the Connor Project’s reach. The Squip sees all of this chaos
and believes that he can save them from more hardship, prompting The Pitiful
To Break In a Glove takes place, shortly followed by Good
For You in the next week because Evan is becoming more and more of an asshole.
It’s also time for the fall play, so The Pants Song and The Play take place in
the same night. Seventeen takes place the same night, while Veronica tries to
convince JD that they can be normal and stop all of this.
With the craziness of the play over, and rumors spreading
like wildfire about a lot of things, Zoe and Evan sing Only Us, wanting there
to be some normalcy. Winter break comes and goes, and with the new semester
comes more assemblies that are held about the suicides with Shine a Light,
followed by Lifeboat with Heather McNamara being pressured. Because of how many
suicides there’s been, students are becoming numb to the idea, so this leads to
Shine A Light (Reprise).
During all of this, Jeremy sings Voices in My Head because
he’s grown used to living like this. Kindergarten Boyfriend takes place as
well, leading to Martha’s failed suicide. Because of all these new attempts,
Alana fears that people are forgetting about Connor, which leads to her
pressuring Evan and he shows her the suicide letter. She uploads it to get more
attention to the Connor Project again, soon leading to Words Fail and the
falling out with the Murphys. Evan goes home and Heidi comforts him through So
Veronica finds out about Martha’s attempt and the rest of
the Heathers musical plays out from Yo Girl until Seventeen (Reprise), with
rumors spreading again that Rich may have tried to blow up the school because
he set the fire before. Fast forward to the end of the year, after the seniors
have graduated, and the Dear Evan Hansen Finale plays, with the craziness of
the year finally done with, and people have moved on.