Need Advice With A Black Character

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pickledylans

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Hello! In my current projects one of the characters is a black girl, and id like to shoot her concept towards black creators. Ive read a lot of articles and posts about writing black characters, but I have some worries and just want to make sure im not writing something that feels harmful and if theres any tweaks i need to make.

- shes in a setting where the main cast is dealing with living in poverty and companies taking advantage on them in different ways. The main character is brown and mixed, and shes one of the first secondary main characters you add to party.

Shes a prodigy tennis player who earned a lot of money and fame through her hobby, and was able to help her family get into a better living situation. Her story arc is about learning to enjoy her interests again after it becoming anxiety inducing once money and fame came into it, and relying on others more.

my main worry is she might feel like the stereotype that black women have to be independent and strong and take care of everyone else. i wouldnt call her particularly motherly or anything, she is a teenager and acts like one, but she does support her family financially despite being a teenager and helps out the protagonist a few times.

heres her character design
teah test.png
(btw, im not white myself, but im not black either and want other peoples insight on this. im willing to compensate in some way if someone really wants to help me hash this out, just lmk)
 

dreamfall887

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Hi @pickledylans! I think your character is absolutely fine! I don't think she is stereotypical at all. I like her character design, she looks very cute! :)
 

pickledylans

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You're welcome. Good luck with your project! :)
One more thing came to mind that I want to run by you, if you don't mind!

Towards the beginning of the game, something happens to her and the protagonist, and since she prioritizes helping him first before fixing the issue for herself, she ends up with an injury that effects her somewhat throughout the story. There might be a boiling point where things get pretty bad because of it, but I think by the end she's able to find a way to deal with it with the help of the group.

Just lmk if u have any thoughts about it, tysm!!
 

gstv87

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black people aren't a special kind of breed..... they have lives like any other person.
just because somebody is whatever race or gender, doesn't mean they have to have lived a certain sequence of events.
......events are not magnetically attracted to specific arrangements of DNA....

what you should be looking at is the whole sequence of events, like you would when looking at any person's life.
if a white person is born in a ghetto, they'll behave like a ghetto person, same as any black or latino that's born in the same place.... why? because, *environment* (as in, that one term everyone forgets about when analyzing pretty much anything that merits analysis)
if you don't believe me, google "Danielle Bregoli".
I'll leave it at that XD
 

AfroKat

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As a mixed male (black/white) grown up with a black family. She's fine. Why is that? Its because you can switch her race around to anything and her story still fits. Asian? Same story. Half lizard-golem? Same story. Dude? Same story.

Being black doesn't mean you change the story around that. Unless something SPECIFIC happens that regards their race, treat every race the same.
 

pickledylans

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As a mixed male (black/white) grown up with a black family. She's fine. Why is that? Its because you can switch her race around to anything and her story still fits. Asian? Same story. Half lizard-golem? Same story. Dude? Same story.

Being black doesn't mean you change the story around that. Unless something SPECIFIC happens that regards their race, treat every race the same.
i understand what you mean! thanks for your input :kaoluv:

@pickledylans Yes, that is absolutely fine as well. :)
good to know! thanks again for your input :wub
 

Finnuval

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As said before by others : Just write her as a character, Just another human (in this case) being. Trying to write her as '' black' is prolly what ll lead to unwanted and stereotypical things. She is just another person with Just another life. Nothing more, nothing less.
 

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Here, I fixed your title of the thread:
Need Advice Writing A Black Character

As a couple others have already mentioned, being black isn't a character trait, and shouldn't be treated as such. When writing a character, I find it easiest to draw inspiration from your own life. Do you know anyone in real-life that has the characteristics of your main character? (meaning their personality traits, not their skin tone) Perhaps you can use that person as a mental model when fleshing out your character. Good luck!
 

pickledylans

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Here, I fixed your title of the thread:
Need Advice Writing A Black Character

As a couple others have already mentioned, being black isn't a character trait, and shouldn't be treated as such. When writing a character, I find it easiest to draw inspiration from your own life. Do you know anyone in real-life that has the characteristics of your main character? (meaning their personality traits, not their skin tone) Perhaps you can use that person as a mental model when fleshing out your character. Good luck!
i get what you mean! and i understand that, of course. i just know its easy to subconsciously write harmful stereotypes, and id like to avoid it when possible. thanks for your input!
 

Finnuval

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Trying to avoid writing harmful stereotypes usually leads to... Indeed harmful stereotypes is kinda what ppl are trying to say here xD
 

pickledylans

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Trying to avoid writing harmful stereotypes usually leads to... Indeed harmful stereotypes is kinda what ppl are trying to say here xD
sorry, can you elaborate on what you mean a little more? As a gay dude, theres some things id prefer if people be mindful of when writing gay characters. i dont think theres anything wrong with that, but id like to know your perspective
 

Finnuval

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sorry, can you elaborate on what you mean a little more? As a gay dude, theres some things id prefer if people be mindful of when writing gay characters. i dont think theres anything wrong with that, but id like to know your perspective
Well I happen to be gay too lol

But lets say someone writes a gay character and they write them as a character that also is gay... Lets say this characters happens to be aa bit girly not because they are gay bit because that is their personality then I will not take offense by it However if someone writes a gay character and tries not to fall for those stereotypes and ends up writing an extremely over the top masculine character that doesnt fit the character and is obviously wittem to 'counter' their 'gayness' that I will find more offensive.

Ofcourse there are always subject that need better care in relatuon to these things. You turn her into a slave then yes you better be careful (it can still be done but will need more caution naturally as it hits an understandable nerve) have a gay character be very 'loose' then get some plaguelike desease - same thing. Or when you try to write for them... Like a straight guy telling a comming out story... Then you'll need to be careful and do research at the very least.

But in general its is best to write the character as you intend. If that character happens to be black, gay, trans or an alien that is part of them but not something you should write around.

Point is none of these things should define the character Just be part of them. Thus when putting to much effort in writing around it one tends to draw too much attention to it andd make it just as offensive as when one would use the stereotyping.

Hope that clarifys it a little :)
 

pickledylans

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Well I happen to be gay too lol

But lets say someone writes a gay character and they write them as a character that also is gay... Lets say this characters happens to be aa bit girly not because they are gay bit because that is their personality then I will not take offense by it However if someone writes a gay character and tries not to fall for those stereotypes and ends up writing an extremely over the top masculine character that doesnt fit the character and is obviously wittem to 'counter' their 'gayness' that I will find more offensive.

Ofcourse there are always subject that need better care in relatuon to these things. You turn her into a slave then yes you better be careful (it can still be done but will need more caution naturally as it hits an understandable nerve) have a gay character be very 'loose' then get some plaguelike desease - same thing. Or when you try to write for them... Like a straight guy telling a comming out story... Then you'll need to be careful and do research at the very least.

But in general its is best to write the character as you intend. If that character happens to be black, gay, trans or an alien that is part of them but not something you should write around.

Point is none of these things should define the character Just be part of them. Thus when putting to much effort in writing around it one tends to draw too much attention to it andd make it just as offensive as when one would use the stereotyping.

Hope that clarifys it a little :)
ohhh! no i get exactly what you mean with that!!! like i dont find taako from TAZ offensive at all even though hes flamboyant and flirty because hes just... a good character. but trying too hard to make a character Not seem gay can come off very strange

thanks for your advice!!
 

Finnuval

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ohhh! no i get exactly what you mean with that!!! like i dont find taako from TAZ offensive at all even though hes flamboyant and flirty because hes just... a good character. but trying too hard to make a character Not seem gay can come off very strange

thanks for your advice!!
Exactly! Same goes for every character wether they are black, bi, gay, trans, alien, cis, furry, whatever...
Write a good character that happens to be any of these things but never shift focus on these things (not even by trying to avoid stereotypes) and you'll be fine :)

Unless ofcourse that is the story you want to make - - but then do your research and Thread carefully :)
 
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black people aren't a special kind of breed..... they have lives like any other person.
just because somebody is whatever race or gender, doesn't mean they have to have lived a certain sequence of events.
......events are not magnetically attracted to specific arrangements of DNA....

what you should be looking at is the whole sequence of events, like you would when looking at any person's life.
if a white person is born in a ghetto, they'll behave like a ghetto person, same as any black or latino that's born in the same place.... why? because, *environment* (as in, that one term everyone forgets about when analyzing pretty much anything that merits analysis)
if you don't believe me, google "Danielle Bregoli".
I'll leave it at that XD
dr phil must be stopped
 

Frostorm

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By this logic, would being a Dwarf, Elf, Orc, or etc not be character traits either? This thread has inspired me to write my non-Human characters as just characters instead of <Race> characters. Or should "race" in that sense be treated more as "species" instead of "ethnicity"?
 

Finnuval

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This thread has inspired me to write my non-Human characters as just characters instead of <Race> character.
And that would be the thing to take away from this :)

With this one caviot : in most fantasy settings race among nonhumans does carry a lot more cultural weight. Keep that in mind though and your fine :)
 
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