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How do you avoid having the reader assuming your character is a conventionally white person?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Ewolf20, Feb 7, 2021.

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  1. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

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    Of my mains
    One is an albino asian male
    One is an arabic male
    One is an indian female
    One is native american female
    One is a male vampire or no particular
    One is a white human male with magic blood
     
  2. Shonen

    Shonen Dreamer

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    Neil Gaiman had an interesting way of describing a character from 'American Gods', Shadow, his ethnicity was never set in place. Instead he made the characters say he looked white, black, Asian etc but only briefly and it was never explored. I listened to the Audio book presented him as a black man and that's how I perceive him.

    But I'd suggest sticking to an ethnicity and letting readers know if you're starting off but let the characters, culture and world describe your character.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  3. Rushlight

    Rushlight New Member

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    Simply include skin color into the description of the person, or find a reason to describe them in relation to something else ("My fair skin would give me away in the dark like a beacon", etc). I tend to write a lot of variable skin tones, and the way I prefer to write is to make as clear when a character is white as I do when they're not. It drives me nuts when an author will describe skin-color on non-white characters but use things like hair or eye color for white characters. If you don't treat whiteness as a default, hopefully your readers won't, either! :)
     
    A Pineapple likes this.
  4. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    It is OK to have conventional white characters in stories. Interesting things do happen to white people.

    If someone's not white, say so...if you think it matters.

    Personally, I nearly always have non-white people in my stories and I simply say so. Mind you, I never try to demonstrate their cultural variances through my brilliant insight. As a conventional white male myself, I'm very wary of trying to portray that sort of thing because I'd really hate to be found out. Stick to the universal truths which all cultures share and you can't go too far wrong.
     
    Vaporo likes this.
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well....I think this is pretty well covered here. I go with say so, but I also think culture will make it clear as well. I would just add...the book cover art.
     
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