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.
Hopefully, today’s title drew you in, but you’ll have to wait a moment before we jump into the discussion. First, let’s take a moment to recap this past week’s blog posts. Monday, Terri interviewed Vanessa Riley as she talked about her book, Unveiling Love. Wednesday, I (Toni) shared a book spotlight on Paulette Harper’s Secret Places Revealed. Friday, Beth Erin shared her review of Lee Tobin McClain’s Secrets of the Heart. It was a great week for diverse Christian fiction, so be sure to check those posts out if you haven’t already.
Today, I want to discuss internal racism. Of course, some people argue if that is a real thing, while others may have no clue what it is. The idea behind internal racism is a minority group is racist (or prejudice) against that same minority group. For example, African Americans being racist against other African Americans. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up. How in the world does this relate to diversity in Christian fiction?
I’m glad you asked. You see as a Black author, it is assumed by people in my community that my characters will be Black as well. It would not cross most people’s mind that I would venture out of that. So what happens if I decide to write Caucasian characters, or any other characters that fall into a majority ethnic group? If I chance it, Black readers will either 1) applaud my writing (if they like it) or 2) complain that I’m not giving them Black characters. After all, diverse characters are lacking in the majority of fiction genres. So does that mean an ethnic author HAS to write ethnic characters?
Time to join in! Please answer the below questions and/or share your thoughts.
Does a minority author owe it to their community to add diversity?
If they don’t, would you be surprised or assume they couldn’t accurately portray that culture?
*This blog was initially titled “Reverse Racism.” I used the incorrect term and have since updated it.
Happy Saturday, y’all! I pray you had an awesome week of reading and relaxing. If not, that’s what the weekend’s for. 😉
Before I move on to the discussion topic, I just want to recap our blog post from this week. Monday, Terri interviewed Leslie Sherrod. Wednesday, Jamie shared a book spotlight for Sushi for One. Friday, I shared a review for Signs of Life. Now on to today’s topic!
Today, I thought I’d be real informal. I want to hear from you! Share when you first realized that Christian fiction was lacking in diversity AND share the first diverse book you read.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think I really “noticed” because I’m used to not seeing diverse characters. It’s one reason I’m so passionate about writing them. I do remember my first diverse read. It was Ronie Kendig’s Firethorn. (Author Interview here.)Never have I been so happy to see a book cover with a Black man on it.
Happy Saturday, folks! I pray that your week was awesome. We had a good week here at Diversity Between the Pages. On Monday, we shared an author interview with Bonnie Engstrom; Wednesday, Jamie shared a book spotlight for one of Lynn Austin’s books; and Friday, Katie shared a review of The Bedwarmer’s Son. So you know what that means…yep, open discussion time!
Today’s question is a touchy one, so please be on your p’s and q’s. I want to ask if racial slurs in historical fiction (or any genre really) are ever necessary?
We all know that Mark Twain used racial slurs in his novels. I’ve heard the disclaimers that it was realistic for that time. I’ve also seen reprints or adaptions that have removed all derogatory slurs.
So what say you? Do racial slurs add authenticity to a work of fiction or is it adding to the dissension between minorities and majority ethnicities? Also, is it worse when written by a majority race versus a person from that ethnic background?
Happy Saturday, folks! Hope you’re weekend is off to a great start.
For today’s open discussion topic, I wanted to discuss the subject of appropriation. You see the phrase tossed around a lot in the book world, especially when it comes to writing poc (people of color).
In case you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means taking something and using it for your own gain. There are some people in the Black community who feel that white R&B singers have appropriated the R&B culture and used it for their own gain. That also goes for non-minorities wearing cornrows (braid style), dreadlocks, singing Blues and other music attributed to the Black community.
(As I am Black, I’m not sure if other minority groups feel the same way. If so, please chime in.)
Anyway, I want to ask the question, when do you decide that a non-minority writer is appropriating poc’s culture for their gain in hopes to achieve literary success? What makes a story written by a Caucasian labeled appropriated material versus admiring them for adding diversity?
I can’t wait to hear (read) your thoughts on the subject!
Have you ever walked into a bookstore and wondered where all the diverse Christian fiction books are? If you’re lucky, your bookstore has a huge collection to offer you. (I’ve seen ones where the genre has been regulated to a shelf.)
You peruse shelf after shelf, but there are no diverse books. Your assumption: ethnic authors don’t write for the Christian fiction genre.
And that’s where you would be wrong. If you’ve been joining us here every Saturday, you know there are ethnic authors who write Christian Fiction. So, why can’t you find them in the bookstore? Or even on places like Amazon?
The answer is quite simple. They’ve been labeled by their race. Here are some examples. After an African-American writer publishes a book, the book gets labeled with the code “Fiction / African American.” Some other minority codes are “Fiction / Hispanic & Latino” and “Fiction / Asian American.”
When the books arrive to the brick-and-mortar stores, they’re already slated to land in their appropriate sections. So that Hispanic author you love to follow is not shelved with the other Christian fiction books, it’s shelved in the Hispanic/Latino section. Sometimes the book is shelved based solely on the author’s ethnicity and not of the characters.
Since I love asking thought provoking questions, I’m going to do so now. Is it right to shelve books by their race and not by their sub-genre (i.e., romance, Christian fiction, mystery)?
What are the pitfalls of doing so? What are the benefits of continuing this trend? And if you don’t mind sharing, if your books feature minority characters (or you are a minority), if you had the power to categorize your book, would you add the ethnicity label?
Happy Saturday, y’all! I pray the week has been good to you and I want to thank you for stopping by this weekend.
If you’re new to our blog, I’d like to welcome you. Saturday’s we take the time to have an open discussion on various issues that authors of diverse Christian fiction face. Today’s topic: Where are all the good stock photos for minorities?
Have you ever done a search for minorities on a stock photo site? If I type “black women” in the search box, I won’t get many good options. In fact, I’m more likely to get a Caucasian female dressed in black. I’ve found the best thing to do is use the phrase “African American” when I’m looking for certain images.
Even then, I’m disheartened by some of the images that come back from the search. Are African-American women only seen as sexual objects? Some of the photos look like they were taken during a music video production.
And for some reason, many photographers seem to believe the consumers only want urban images. You know the kind where the person is posed in a thuggish style, looking like all they’re missing is a gun.
As a writer of contemporary romance, I’m constantly frustrated by the selection of stock photos. I want the romantic hugged-up pose. Or the soft smiles between two couples. Or *gasp* a beautiful wedding dress picture. But I literally have to weed through thousands of photos in order to find what I’m looking for. And when I’m done, I’m left with a limited amount to choose from. If I want to pick a photo that has never been used on a book cover, my selection is drastically limited. Because, all of us who do write diverse Christian fiction, are searching for the same-style that fits our genre.
I read an article in Madam Noire that talked of the subject. Here is a list of sites that have diverse images available: