I KNOW you’ve seen in movies or read in books, where diverse characters are usually portrayed as stereotypes and because of this writers can claim it’s all they know.
Can they really, especially when the internet is so widely available today?
If you think that every person in these minority groups are like the characters in those movies/books/shows then you need to think again. You can’t generalize a group of people. Not all black people are the same, not all bisexual people are the same, not all blind people are the same. If that were the case then you would know exactly how everyone is. That would make our world boring and bland.
To avoid generalizing you need to educate yourself. And honestly…
Writing for diverse characters isn’t as hard as you might think. And you want to know why? Because all these minority groups are…
Yes, that’s right. LGBTQ, POC, people w/ mental illnesses, and disabled people are not some aliens from a far off planet. They are PEOPLE and they live on planet earth. They grew up here just like anyone else. As people we are a lot more similar than you might think. We may have different likes and dislikes, skin colors, or beliefs but we all breath, and we all share the same emotions.
Take a step back and think. How would you as a white cis person feel if you saw no one in books or movies that was like you. Especially ones that aren’t stereotypes and are well-written. I know it can be hard to imagine, but think about it?
White hetereosexual cisgender people have a large selection of books/movies to choose from about people who are like them. It’s so easy to find a story we like and characters we can relate to, but these minorities don’t. They deserve more. They should be able to pick up a book and read about someone like them. Someone who is a well-rounded and likable character.
Let’s say you’re afraid to write for these minority groups because you don’t know what it’s like to have brown skin or be transgender. Okay. I understand it can be scary to mess up and have people be furious at you for it. But that right there is your mistake. You’re already defining these minorities by their race, disability, mental illness, sexuality, or gender.
Yes, that is apart of them, but they are MORE than that.
How about this: Let’s take your white hetero cis character who is well developed and likable and give them brown skin. In some cases, you might not be able to do this depending on what kind of story you’re telling, but let’s say you can in this instance. Done! You already represented a person in a minority group and hopefully it’s done the right way.
It can literally be that simple.
I’m not telling people they better have diversity in their books. Because I don’t believe people should be forced to. If you put diverse characters in your book just for the sake of not seeming like you’re racist/prejudice or just want more ppl to buy your book…
If you don’t make minority characters three-dimensional and give them an important role in the story, it will be obvious they were forced. In that case, you’re better off not having them in the story at all.
If you wish to portray diverse people in your stories, than you still NEED to do your research. If you are unsure or scared, ask people. Search engines are right at your fingertips. Don’t take them for granted and make excuses as to why you portrayed minority people in an offensive way because that’s bullshit. Educate yourself! Learn and be aware of stereotypes, cliches, and overused tropes. If you’re still concerned, get sensitivity readers.