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Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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glorybee
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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby glorybee » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:40 pm

I agree with both Caleb and Lish about things that cause offense and why, and I think it might be a good idea to reiterate a few points.

If a character in a novel is prejudiced, it's certainly fine for the writer to give that character words that might offend.

My concern was more with writers who write characters in such a way that they reveal their own (the writer's) ingnorance or bias. For example, the writer who writes a black character speaking as I wrote in my original post, because the writer thinks that's the way that black people speak. Or the writer who writes a Jewish character as "hook-nosed" and penurious, because that's the way they believe Jewish people to be.

I guess my point is that perhaps we should make it our goal to actually get to know and to understand people of different ethnicities, faiths, and lifestyles than our own, so that we can write with greater understanding of the complexities and varieties of humanity.
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Caleb Cheong
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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby Caleb Cheong » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:46 am

Hi !

I don't wish to have the last say about the discussion but I speak as someone who lives and works in a multiracial environment. Racial harmony is an important issue. Majority of us are non-native speakers of English so the word"bu___it" is just the dung from an animal. Cow dung is used as manure, fuel, and flooring so to us it just means animal waste or rubbish. Many English-speaking guys and girls here will use "b____t" unahamedly. Perhaps, they have heard it many times casually or freely.

Being non-native speakers, they may process language literally. When a warden in a hostel remarked that Kinasa from Sudan ate like a pig, he was naturally hurt because he imagined himself to be one. Sometimes a non issue can become one especially the audience is overly sensitive or fail to grasp its figurative meaning.


Well, to the "Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law,as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law" ( 1 Cor 9:20)


Thanks!

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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby JudySauer » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:02 pm

A very enlightening lesson. Thanks for all the awareness.

Judy
Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance. -Jude 2 NIV

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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby hwnj » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:29 pm

Hi, Jan,
I've missed popping in here. I'm wondering if any of the characterization in either of these pieces falls outside of reasonable characterization?
http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=52700
http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=52024
Holly

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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby glorybee » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:36 pm

hwnj wrote:Hi, Jan,
I've missed popping in here. I'm wondering if any of the characterization in either of these pieces falls outside of reasonable characterization?
http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=52700
http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=52024


Hi, Holly!

I didn't think either of those crossed the line. I've got a pretty low threshold of tolerance for perceived stereotype, and these seemed fine to me.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby hwnj » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:22 pm

In "Reflections of Love," I was just trying for street life, not actually anything ethnic. I am, of course, aware that realistic street language would not be suitable for FW.
In "One Chance," I was trying to indicate that the MC was African-American, but didn't want to over do it.

On a slight tangent, people with disabilities are also often stereotyped...
Holly

"There are two ways of spreading light -- to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it." Edith Wharton

'It is better to be liked for the true you, than to be loved for who people think you are.'

"In order to realize the worth of the anchor, one needs to feel the stress of the storm." Daily Encouragement Net (Stephen & Brooksyne Weber)

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Re: Be a Better Writer--AVOIDING ETHNIC STEREOTYPES

Postby glorybee » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:44 am

hwnj wrote:On a slight tangent, people with disabilities are also often stereotyped...


Holly, I'd love to do a lesson on that. I have several people with disabilities in my life, and there have been many times when I've read a story that depicts disabilities that I'm very familiar with in a way that irked me. Some people tend to romanticize mental impairments (...they're God's little angels), or they get the details of living with a disability very wrong, perhaps from lack of research.
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