Open Discussion – Stereotypes

Happy Saturday, Diverse Readers!

I hope you’re having a good week. I’m happy to quick off the weekend with a new open discussion topic. Let’s talk stereotypes.

Every ethnic group has them. Some were created based off the majority and some are perpetuated by the media.

So what’s a writer to do when writing ethnic characters? Do we use stereotypes when writing a character? And if we do, does it help or hurt our stories?

I’m personally found of seeing authors write stereotypes in order to dispel them and open the readers eyes. Unfortunately, not every writer uses them this way. So please, chime in! What stereotypes are you tired of seeing in writing? And please share any tips for authors, so that they can avoid using them.


13 thoughts on “Open Discussion – Stereotypes

  1. I probably see this more in movies than in books, but I’m really tired of people from Kansas (specifically Wichita) being portrayed as uneducated hicks who walk around with wheat straws in their mouths and wearing straw hats. (Think a grownup Little Debbie). And speaking of that, as a Debbie, I really hate the terms Little Debbie, Debbie Downer, and Debbie does Dallas. I’m not little, I hope I’m not a downer, and I promise you, I’ve never “done Dallas.” πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes! We were at my son’s flag football game, and my youngest found some straw. He said that farmers stick it in their mouth and leave it hanging there. Since we’ve never seen a farmer, I can only assume he got this from TV. The media is awful at perpetuating stereotypes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So the stereotype I’m tired of is that all black people eat: chicken and waffles and/or chicken and watermelon. In writing, I hate seeing the smile being contrasted against Black character’s skin color. Is that the only thing people notice? In book covers, I hate when all graphic designers assume that a Black author wants an urban cover. Okay, that’s my only gripes. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When we adopted our biracial daughter, we got the comments about her liking fried chicken and watermelon. So silly. We two white parents like both as much as she does. Writers could dig a little deeper, for crying out loud.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Covers are the worst for perpetuating stereotypes. I was browsing the online library yesterday, looking for Christian fiction with black characters (expanding my reading experience), and several of the covers I saw featured an exotic woman with lots of makeup, cleavage, glamorous clothing and an “in your face” attitude. The hero was almost always a preacher. There aren’t a lot of ordinary happy people on the covers – they are broody, seductive or broken. Or praying. The titles often included words like “sin,” “scandal”, “secrets” or other such evocative words. You can see what I mean if you do an Amazon search for “African American Christian Fiction”. There were exceptions, portraying what I would call “ordinary” people, but the above style dominates the AA Christian fiction offerings. There is a market for those covers, or they wouldn’t always be used, but there must be more diversity in Black authors and novels than that!
    Of course, all Amish books look the same – there’s a stereotype, too!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Unfortunately, a lot of books labeled CF in AA section aren’t. A lot of times they think if it’s about a preacher then it automatically makes CF, so it’s super hard to find genuinely CF reads by CBA standards. I usually go off of known authors and/or word of mouth.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hahahaha, what Toni said! Not all books that get clumped together as “African American Christian Fiction” are actually Christian Fiction.

      There’s also a difference between “African American Christian Fiction” and “Urban Christian Fiction.” Urban ChristFic tends to be African American, but not all African American ChristFic is Urban. Urban ChristFic may have edgier material or book covers than other AA ChristFic, but again, in an Amazon search (or searches elsewhere, I expect), they’ll all just be labeled as AA.

      Most (or all?) of the AA ChristFic authors I’ve found to suit my tastes are authors I first discovered in places other than Amazon. Pat Simmons, Piper Huguley, Toni Shiloh, Vanessa Riley, Stacy Hawkins Adams…

      I’ve only read one so far by RenΓ©e Allen McCoy (Once Upon a Sunday) and Angela Benson (Delilah’s Daughters), but I enjoyed both of those. And while I don’t think Aisha Ford is still publishing, I enjoyed about four of her books, like Pride and Pumpernickel, which are still available for Kindle.

      I’m always on the lookout for more, but those are just a few authors I’ve read so far… πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes! It’s so difficult to find real CF. I once picked a book and got to a part in the story that was NOT up to CBA standards or my own. I never read that author again and was frustrated by the label of AA CF.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I also hate stereotypes. I’m from New Jersey so I hate that we are all lortrayed as being from the show Jersey Shore or mobsters or horrible people. A lot of nice people live there! Also since moving to the South, I have noticed that Southern people are almost always portrayed as stupid in the media. I love books and movies that break sterorypes and show the real people! So that is what I tend to write.

    Liked by 2 people

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