racial tropes

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.

Trace your Logic 

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.

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anonymous asked:

it's funny cuz most stormpilot fans just want to see one of the biggest movie franchises in the world include a happy, helathy non-white lgbt+ couple with lots of chemistry (and a large chunk of these fans are qpoc) and k*lux fans are all like: "cool, we get ur point, but i prefer these two white fascist-coded characters having kinky sex with each other. that's way hotter than all that vanilla stuff" like??? nice to know where your priorities are??

And when you call them out on that they are like “I TOTALLY ship stormpilot/finnrey!!” but there’s a total amount of 0 posts of those ships in their blog like, how more obvious can you be? 

Then you point that out and it was suddenly the mean pocs (who they call ‘antis’ as to not be that transparent) who drove them away from the ships because they were kinkshamed called out because of their use of racist tropes and racial stereotypes.

Mod A. 

Shout out to Kelly Armstrong for creating a YA book series with
· believable main characters who are able to let the romance take a back burner to their fucking lives falling apart.
· Non glorification of mental disabilities and illness
· Characters that get periods, have acne, smell bad at times, eat the way they want, and JUST FUCKING BEHAVE LIKE TEENAGERS AND NOT SUPERMODELS IN A HIGH SCHOOL SETTING.
· Challenging the “boys will be boys” trope.
· Challenging racial stereotypes
· POC protagonist and main characters

“(Blaming a child with mental illness for not getting better…) wasn’t like pushing a reluctant student to get a passing grade. It was like blaming a kid with a learning disability for not getting A’s”.

“Why was it that every time a girl said she had a problem with a boy, it was written off as ‘oh he likes you’ as if that makes it okay?”

-all chloe saunders from The Summoning.

anonymous asked:

no offense but you saying a constantine show should have "english characters" sounds a lil racist considering the constantine show had a black man and a latina woman

ok i didn’t mean for it to come off that way but also like.. england is a very multicultural place… extremely so tbh like we may not have the same racial demographics as north america but there are plenty of south asian people, east asian people, black people, biracial people, etc. i haven’t met as many latinx people but my stepmum’s best friend is a mexican lady and we live in a small village so it would definitely be possible to have characters like zed and manny (who i assume your talking about) as english characters or just.. characters in an english setting lol.

plus england (and britain’s) relationship to race is generally a lot different to north america’s (which i think is to be expected, these kind of things vary country to country) and i want to say that while racism definitely still exists, england tends to be more focused on xenophobia and an “us vs them” mentality. hence why there’s so much aggression towards polish and eastern european people in our country: even though they’re white they’re still considered “other”

this vereed off topic but yeah it wasn’t meant to be racist sorry plus the original constantine show was def not perfect it played into a lot of racial tropes/stereotypes with its characters on top of straightwashing john who is one of the few male bi characters in the media. 


BuzzFeed’s black people asking “black questions” sparks backlash

In “27 Questions Black People Have For Black People,” black people ask questions mostly based off racial tropes, without additional substance, leaving many feeling the video simply perpetuated harmful stereotypes rather than addressed them. In a series of tweets, one black, former BuzzFeed writer nailed the real issue here.

More thoughts on Asian-American Danny Rand

Because it really takes a good 200+ comment thread on Facebook to get my thoughts and feelings ironed out…

I think that above all the most important thing to acknowledge is the universe Danny Rand is being brought into. He’s a character who’s origins are dripping in racial tropes and he’ll be integrated into a show that is already dripping in racial tropes, specifically against Asians. Daredevil has a Yellow Peril theme going on and Danny Rand is the classic Marvel 70s story line of “white guy goes to Asia and does Asian things better than Asians”. It really is bad enough on it’s own but then put these things together and it turns into an ongoing cycle of gross. Like Stephen Strange Marvel has this habit of using Asians as an accessory to the story but not using them as heroes. Now we’re just adding on top of that.

And then you have fans who say that we don’t know how they’ll handle his story. It’s true that this can totally change. But what does it say about people who are totally okay with a character’s canon history changing completely just as long as he stays a white guy…? The ethnicity of the actor matters so much more than original back story, says supposedly comic book purists… yeah, ok.

“Danny being white is what makes his journey compelling”
I really feel that Danny being AMERICAN is what makes his journey compelling though. Anyone who grows up in a culture different from that of their ancestry could have really identified with this character and all they would have had to change was his ethnicity. The back story would have clicked into place and it would have added so much more depth for a fish out of water story. He’s still a young American who grew up in western society and he could have had the exact same origin and had the same issues and problems because he was American. It has nothing to do with him being white. His being white is what makes it a white supremacy plot. Why not make it a story about a guy who reclaims this part of his identity with his father… AND IN A SUPER COOL FANTASY MYSTICAL WAY WOO MAGIC AND DRAGONS!

anonymous asked:

how is sense8 racist lmao, u sound crazy, that is the most loving show to EVERYONE, stay out of sense8 please, go shit on lana if u want but not the show itself, sense8 is full of love.

So because you too fucking ignorant to actually pay attention to some of the racial stereotypes and racial movie tropes you wanna resort to ableism?? Like you absolute fuckwit. Literally a fuckwit but this is a blog that educates so I will go ahead and do that even though you are probably hopeless.

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every time i’m doing an online search just to learn something about Filipinx culture i come across some painfully racist shit about us. & what’s really shitty about it is that young Filipinx children who are also attempting to learn about themselves are going to come across these same diatribes. the internet is great, but it’s also another avenue to racism & subsequently internalized oppression. no matter how old are you, seeing these kinds of things online hurts. anyway, this is something i came across earlier today that disgusted me. notice that even those who come to our defense do so using racial tropes, like “obedient” and “hardworking.” sigh.

- plantainfried

um so I finally saw Big Hero 6

No spoilers ahead, just happiness

  • Majority of cast is POC
  • But never relies on racial stereotypes / their character tropes aren’t the ones usually paired up with their race
  • And the voice actors match the race of the characters
  • And the voice actors aren’t (for the most part) ticket-grabbing “big names”
  • Utilizes familial love (and friendship) in a realistic way without the beating-you-over-the-head-with-it extent of frozen or maleficent. 
  • Focusses on emotional struggle and brings up fucking puberty 
  • Is a superhero movie that shows violence is not the answer
  • Has a villain with a realistic and understandable motive, not just “evil”
  • Doesn’t rely on pop culture references so it’s more timeless
  • Is heartwarming but doesn’t seem like it’s trying too hard to be so
  • Has excellent comedic timing
  • Wonderful animation (that microbot stuff was ROTG-level)
  • Respects the intelligence of kids watching while still being easy to follow

Petition to make this more popular than Frozen please


Racial Tropes: Black Like Me 

“Character disguises self, for some reason or another, as a member of another group (usually an African-American or a woman). To his surprise, people treat him differently, and An Aesop occurs.

Named for Black Like Me John Howard Griffin’s memoir about a social experiment of this variety that he undertook on himself. Not to be confused with Color Me Black.

Allows white people to experience racism from the point of view of a black person while giving white audiences a Lead You Can Relate To. Critics say that this leads to the Unfortunate Implication that white people can only care about prejudice if the victim is white.” - X

Shown here: 

Lois Lane #106 - I am curious (black)! (1970)

The Punisher #61 - Crackdown (1992) 

Leave it to the cofounder of Live Aid to replicate what’s become an insanely damaging charity cliche during the past few decades. Geldof rounded up One Direction, Bono and more than a dozen other pop stars (Adele reportedly refused) to re-record the 1984 song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and reinforce the idea that Africa really just needs some Western star power to make things right. The feel-good project is directed toward a good cause, but it’s so culturally tone deaf that it actively reduces the diverse experiences of African people to a basic racial trope: They live on a dark continent, waiting to be saved.
Movies without White Saviors

I was on the internet a few months ago, and I had my usual we-should-promote-as-often-as-we-deride. To my surprise, I was unable to find a single list of films that did not have white saviors. So now I ask you to help me with these lists. They are presented with the grand caveat- being on either list does not mean that I think they’re good or not, nor does it mean I think an analysis of the movie can be bottled down to the existence of a white savior trope. I’m simply noting what is. At some point, when the lists are longer, I will revisit this and perhaps link each movie to my favorite comprehensive analysis of its use of the trope within the context of its other merits or fuck-ups.

Movies Without White Saviors

  • Legend of Bhagat Singh
  • Machete
  • Great Debaters
  • Che
  • Milagro Bean Field Wars
  • Wind that Shakes the Barley

Movies With White Saviors

  • Elysium
  • Avatar
  • Dances With Wolves
  • Pathfinder
  • Amistad
  • Timestoppers
  • Machine Gun Preacher
  • Cool Runnings
  • A Time To Kill
  • Blood Diamond
  • Glory
  • District 9
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Mississippi Burning
  • The New World
  • Schindler’s List
  • Power of One
  • Cry Freedom
  • Burn!
  • Prison Break
  • Mangal Panday: The Rising

As you can see, this isn’t binary. I include the Wind that Shakes the Barley, for example, because all of the heroes are colonized Irish, and none are English. There are other movies in the list where the racial, ethnic, national, or species context also make them complicated picks. Schindler’s List isn’t included, for example, because even though all of the characters would be white in the US context, they were not under the Third Reich.


Dr. James Peterson on Stereotypes and the Myth of the Black Superman

Ever since I came across this 2010 interview several years ago, I’ve always had conflicting feelings about it. Don’t get me wrong, in this short three minute interview, Dr. Peterson nails a plethora of problems with the comic book industry - most of which all come back to not enough black writers having the opportunity to write about black characters. What we get instead is a distorted form of “blackness” as imagined through the eyes of a white person who has never experienced racism, and who may not have ever heard of the Tuskegee Experiment. And when blackness is depicted through such a lens, with no reality based reference point, stereotypes and racial tropes are almost unavoidable. 

Except with Jack Kirby. Somehow, even though a deeper critique reveals that Kirby was also another white man bound up in some of the racial politics of his day, somehow despite that fact, Kirby still managed to get so many things right with the Black Panther.

When I was a kid, one of the best things to happen to me was when I came across some of my father’s old comic books. From the moment I saw Kirby’s artwork, I was hooked - at first on what I initially thought was a weird style of art, but later as I began drawing myself, I would come to learn just how solid his art really was, and from there, my appreciation for the man himself, his artwork and his rather tragic life story began.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Jack ”the King” Kirby created the Black Panther, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, Silver Surfer, the X-Men, and hundreds of others, including quite a few notable DC characters, like Darkseid and the New Gods. But due to non-existent ownership rights for artists, and the laws of the time, Kirby was not always credited with all of the comic book characters he created, and this injustice would lead him into such a depression that at one point in his life, he was emotionally incapable of even walking into any place that sold comic books, sold toys, or showed movies about the characters he himself created. Like I said, his backstory has enough triumph and tragedy that his life is worthy of it’s own Marvel movie. (SN: If you’re a comic book collector and you ever get a chance to visit a Jack Kirby exhibition, do yourself a favor and go). 

But, getting back to Dr. Peterson’s analysis…I understand the desire to have black characters in media represented in a positive light to combat centuries of negative stereotypes, and perhaps help undo generations of racist tropes. That’s a problem white characters simply do not have. Black criminals are representative of all black people, but non-stereotypical, idealized black heroes are “exceptional.” A bad white character is an individual who does not represent their entire race. When white characters are jokers, mass murderers, gangsters, or virtually any type of criminal, they are never representing their entire race, as is almost always the case with black characters who are flawed or criminals. That individuality is the benefit of white privilege. White characters who are bad actually get sympathy that black characters don’t. Dr. Peterson nails that down too, noting near the end of the interview that ultimately, more of our stories being told is the solution.

When enough black characters get to be written by black writers and represented in a myriad of well written, fully fleshed out roles, and as we humanize ALL manner of blackness, only then can we escape that nagging need for all of our characters to be portrayed as Kings and Queens or “respectable” doctors and engineers. Only then will we be able to be more complex individuals who, just like anyone else, gets to have good and bad attributes, without being seen as a stereotype who doesn’t exist until the plot calls for a white character who needs an exotic, one dimensional “black friend” to spice up their otherwise bland existence.  

Initially I said that I was conflicted about Dr. Peterson’s analysis, but that was a mistake, because at first I took it for dragging Luke Cage with just a pinch of respectability politics added in. But that isn’t what it was. The critique was all about taking white writers to task for their obsession with stereotypical, trope-ish portrayal of most Black male comic book characters. He was critiquing the stereotypes of Black masculinity, not necessarily the Luke Cage character, nor black men who have been wrongfully imprisoned. And again, as Dr. Peterson hinted, the answer is more stories, more access, and more representation at all levels. More black writers and more black artist and more black colorists, telling more stories about all kinds of black people, with more diverse roles filled with more black characters and actors. 

And that’s just covering the black male characters. If you want to get an idea of how badly Black women are represented in comics, then without using Google, try to name just ten Marvel superheroes who are Black women. Go on, name them. I’ll wait. Lol, not even Google is going to help you find ten Black Marvel super heroines in comics, because unless you start counting “they just showed up for that one story arc” or the Jr. sidekicks of Jr. sidekicks, there aren’t ten, and that’s sad.  

If you want my hot take on Luke Cage, there’s a little more beneath the cut.

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anonymous asked:

Thank you for this blog, it has been really educational for my writing and personal knowledge. Now, my character Jacob is a 6'4, well muscled African American man. I have a scene where he and his partner/best friend (they're PIs) are at a house, and an individual makes the assumption Jacob is up to no good and calls authorities. I was wondering your thoughts on a random character acting on the stereotype of the "big scary black man." in this scenario. All feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Detective Fiction Tropes and Racial Profiling

Hi there,

The issue with selling this idea is that this is already a detective story trope without adding the element of racial profiling. There have been plenty of TV/movies where the [white] detectives get the cops called on them for skulking around where they’re not legally supposed to or invited to be. And really, consider if you saw a stranger of any race lurking about somewhere they aren’t expected to be. Wouldn’t it alarm you regardless of their race?

Another thing to consider here is how a Black PI might really act in this situation. Knowing who he is and living in a culture of racism, he might for personal safety reasons 1. Less likely put himself in a situation like this 2. Make sure he has all his identification and anything else he needs to verify who he is and that he belongs where he is.

In 2014 a Black man and his brother were shot and killed, mistaken to be breaking into their own home, so you’d think for a situation like this, whether by learned experience or just for extra precaution, this private investigator would consider whether it was safe for him or not or what he could do to avoid danger. 

The white partner, on the other hand, would likely not have the thought of being arrested or at least shot cross his mind for his slinking around. Maybe that is something you could work with for what you’re trying to accomplish.

Overall, keep in mind that this is already a detective fiction trope and that even white detectives get the police called on them for snooping about. Also consider what is on the Black investigator’s mind and what precautions he might take to avoid cops getting involved in the first place.

~Mods Colette Shira & Jess

An Open Apology to Videogame Commenters 

Dear Commenters,

I injected race into the Internet. I’m sorry.

In the past year-and-a-half-ish, lots of people were talking about videogames and social issues. And faster than you can say “reverse racist,” I jumped on the bandwagon. For what it’s worth,writing was my attempt to analyze “cultural tropes” using “racial” lenses to “dismantle” elements I deemed “problematic.” You may recognize these air-quoted words from the Fox News specials on How to Spot Race Baiters. Well, no need to spot me — I openly admit it.

I’m here to confess the ugly truth: when I said all those things about race and whiteness and capitalism, I was Black. I’m sorry to say it, but I was Black at the time. What started as a casual interest as a child in Martin Lawrence and Keesha from The Magic School Bus somehow became an important identity for me. But I had no idea what being Black would mean for my future. By middle school, I was haunted by horrible nightmare visions whenever I went outside or watched TV. And by the time I was 19, I fully realized the horrible truth: being Black meant I could see race.

On race and gaming and being amazing.