Thursday, 29 January 2015

Getting Personal: Diversity

I have decided to try and diversify characters in my manuscripts. In my Missing Girls Series there are two white teens, one black and a mixed race. The fifth book will involve one returning and that will be kept a mystery until release day. All teens are female and each go missing in a different way. I'm someone who isn't interested in the whole race war business like the Academy Awards insanity that not enough diversity was among the nominees. Sorry but a black actress won best supporting actress last year and does anyone remember a certain movie titled 12 Years A Slave. The Academy Awards nominates the best and most of whom can afford to make the movies of that quality are white. When people of other races make a movie starring their own it is progress but when white people do it that's racism. I'm sorry but that is prejudiced and unfair. Yes diversity is needed but that needs to be done in co-operation not shouting and finger pointing. Also there is a need to get actors of all races to be bankable overseas to attract foreign investors. Seriously in a competition between Scarlett Johansen or Octavia Spencer as most bankable actress who do you think would win? Exactly, I don't even need to say it. When all races are equally bankable then we will see a real change. The colour that matters most is green and right now that mostly falls with white actors and actresses. Plus I think many people need to remember that blacks are not the only race aside from white people in existence. What about Asians and other races and nationalities that have few or zero Academy Awards to their name? Why isn't there such a large outcry from their camp? Maybe because they know that there just wasn't a movie of that caliber out for them? Or maybe they know movies and awards are about more than race? Whatever the reason I think this outcry is unfair because the only movie starring a black cast to even be up for consideration was Selma. When there is only one known black starring movie up for potential nomination it is lucky to get nominations in the first place. Lots of white starring movies didn't make the cut. Remember Jennifer Anniston being predicted to get nomiated for Cake? Didn't happen. The Lego Movie and Gone Girl were robbed in the Animated and Adapted Screen Play nominations in my opinion. But guess what? Everyone can't be nominated! But that's just this one lady's opinion so moving on.

Still I do see where almost all my characters in starting manuscripts are white. It just seems easier and part of the reason is because writers don't have to worry about most white people calling them out on the character not fitting the culture they feel the writer must represent. If I had a dollar for every time a writer has been criticized for a non-white character not fitting into a certain mold I would have a lot of  money. It is especially ridiculous when the character is in a fantasy setting where race is of little relevance. You want the black princess on a wartorn planet to have black instead instead of green hair or for it to be in braids? Seriously? You don't think the author had other priorities? This is not a real life example but there are similar scenarios and things like this make authors worry about diversifying their characters. There is no fictional race code. Opinions are important but when it is just...just keep the really silly ones that give authors unnecessary headaches and fears to yourselves. Really, it would be a great help.

Back to the main topic at hand. I do see a need to widen the race net in my manuscripts. Every race, nationality and gender deserves to have a fictional character who they can look at and see some of themselves in whether on the outside or what is within. Right now I am making changes to a few. Not all characters are going to be changed though. Only those which I truly feel are only that race or nationality for convenience. It's Complicated from my 2014 Nano will be among those getting a race evaluation. Those not getting any though include Escaping Wonderland and Monster City. There is just no need and I'm not going to go around doing the token race character. Hated it in horror movies and will not do it in my own writing. Anyway I hope my thoughts today have got your mind whirring and would love to read about your feelings and thoughts in the comment section. Thanks for popping by and see you on Friday to celebrate the release of Woven.

2 comments:

  1. Well said, Sheena-kay! I've lived all over the USA and in several foreign countries, and while green might matter to Hollywood, people are all just people. This world is mixed. (Be boring if it wasn't.) We need to reflect that.

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  2. I guess writing and nominating movie actors are separate personal and political issues.

    I write from my own comfort level.

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