anonymous asked:

Hello! I've been inspired by your blog to write more poc characters, but I'm kind of worried. I am half African-American, half Samoan, but a lot of my family and friends consider me to be "white-washed". My cultural background is not necessarily with "my culture". I feel like, when I try to write poc characters, it will sound just like a white lead, only changing their skin color. Do you have any advice for this?

‘Whitewashed’ Character of Color?

 I’m glad our blog has inspired you to write diversely!

So honestly, I think what your family and friends are saying is noise. Unless you own up to being “not like other Black people” and actively over criticize (aka victim blaming, respectability politics) and/or attempt to differentiate yourself from Black + Samoan people and/or culture, then anyone’s commentary considering you ‘whitewashed’ is super unnecessary. 

If you’re just doing you, being yourself and enjoying what you love regardless of stereotypes and labels, or what has been coined “Western Neutral” then I don’t see where 'whitewashed’ is a fair classification. (note not everyone likes the term, but I just find it better than ‘oreo’ which what I’ve been called more than enough growing up, so I personally don’t mind it.)

Mod Stella has a great post “On ‘Whitewashing’ a Korean Character” and I find this portion especially relevant here:

Bear with me! There are TWO different contexts for that phrase. One is when POC living in the West are accused of being “whitewashed” when someone thinks they don’t act ______ enough. POC face discrimination from both white people and fellow POCs who try to police our cultural identities. It’s like when people call Koreans/Asians ‘bananas’ for not being “Asian/Korean” enough on the inside.  

“Whitewashing” in that context is not a real thing. It’s offensive to say someone is “whitewashed” not because it’s bad to be white. It’s offensive because it implies there’s a wrong/right way to be Korean. Access or familiarity with Korean culture/community isn’t what makes somebody Korean. You’re Korean if you’re of Korean descent, period. Mixed-race, mono-ethnic, adopted, doesn’t matter. Koreans are Korean. 

You should definitely check out this post as it addresses your concerns. But I just want to say, I was bullied and harassed even beyond high school for being/acting “White” so I know how much it sucks to be accused of such when you’re just being yourself, or at least the side of yourself you’ve allowed them to see.

This isn’t to say, you must make all your Characters of Color western-neutral, though I feel people are rarely just influenced all by the dominant culture and there’s usually a mix that varies by degrees. 

For example, I’m African American. I’m influenced by western culture (because America, school, friends, media, etc), but also Black American culture (mom, family, peers) and Nigerian culture (Dad), and all to varying degrees. I speak only the Queen’s English (89% of the time) and also AAVE (family, Black friends)but at the same time can cook up a couple good Nigerian dishes my dad used to make, even though it’s definitely not on the table every night.

You’ll find the description tag has lots of ways you can incorporate cultural bits, etc. here and there to Characters of Colors so take a look there as well as the relevant tags to the characters you’re writing.

~Mod Colette

Edit: I was not saying there was one mass Black American culture. I’m using “culture” with an implied plural.

yesrogers  asked:

Would it be ok for me to use names from different cultures for my characters? As in their first, middle, and last names coming from different languages and roots.

Names Selected from Different Cultures

Is this done randomly and without thoughtfulness? Without enough information, this sort of comes off as an attempt to accessorize cultures.

Characters are real people within the logic of their own universe; supposedly, someone would have to have chosen their name (their parents, or themselves if they’re trans or changed it for some other reason.) If someone with a very obviously Arabic first name had a very German last name, you might either have a multiracial person, like Shira’s friend or someone who married someone in a different culture.Names mean something, even when it’s only fictional characters.

Some names are the result of assimilation, and different cultures may come into play because of that. For example, Jess’s name is Hebrew-English-Mandarin, and Colette’s name French and Nigerian (Colette: my dad made a point to give my sibling’s and I ‘western’ names to avoid discrimination, and reserved Nigerian names for middle names, so that tells you something).

There’s other times when a name might just come from something a parent just really liked, or they’re named after a special friend. But even then you’ve got cases of white hippies appropriating cultures and names because they feel “in touch” with them…

In short; as we’re assuming you’re not even referring to say, French or German names when you mention “names from different cultures” but predominantly POC Cultures… If there’s some cultural ties? Sure. Just doing it because they sound cool? Not so much.


Throughout history, black people have suffered so much that you should never support anyone or any organization that is not for the betterment of your race
—  Conversations with my Nigerian dad about Black struggles.
  • me: (woke up at 10:00am)
  • dad: you honestly just woke up
  • me: good morning sir and yes i just
  • dad: so instead of you to wake up early and start practicing for school early morning,you are sleeping in abi?
  • me: i'll be fine
  • dad: 10 minute lecture on how practice makes perfect
Watch on

This is how Nigerian dads and uncles get down.


Nigerian #blackout ft. My dad as hard as I tired he wouldn’t smile . Y’all have REALY boosted my self confidence today I used hate taking pictures because of my facial features but today I’ve seen SOOO many beautiful black men and women who look like me that my heart swelled in my chest with BLACK PRIDE! ⬛️⚫️⚫️▪️◾️✔️ Black is beautiful Black is excellent!