A Comprehensive Guide to Describing Characters of Color
Don’t describe them with foodstuffs.
n.k. jemisin has several very good posts about describing characters of color, all of which are linked on the sidebar of her site, but the one thing she’s said that’s stuck with me the most is this:
I get really tired of seeing African-descended characters described in terms of the goods that drove, and still drive, the slave trade — coffee, chocolate, brown sugar. There’s some weird psychosocial baggage attached to that.
it wasn’t a connection that i’d ever really made, and i’m relatively sure it’s not something that is done purposefully, but the first time i read that it was a bit of an epiphany. needless to say: yes.
ohhh you look like CHOCOLATE
AND BROWN SUGAR
can writers be a bit more creative when describing dark-skinned people? -__-
i will be honest that i still fall victim to using this terminology (not necessarily in my writing but in everyday conversation) and yet i still think of it as an enduring legacy of colonialism. our speech is a colonial archive even in ways that aren’t explicit racist language.
I’ve never looked at it this way before and WOW am I ever creeped out by it. That’s some powerful stuff to think about.
tbh this is something that I’m struggling with now that I’m regularly writing about a dark-skinned woman for the first time in my life (internalized racism FTL), falling on the same adjectives over and over. Not foodstuffs because I was always vaguely put off by that just in everyday life (a white ex-gf of mine used to call me “chocolate” a lot in a way that felt really gross and fetishistic to me). But the same couple of cliched words like “mahogany” and “ebony” because sometimes I literally don’t know any other way to describe dark skin that’s neutral or positive as opposed to problematic.
internalized shit is a bitch. :\
Oh man - I try to stay away from cliches when describing characters of colour so mostly manage to avoid food comparisons these days (the whole ‘chocolate/sugar/coffee’ stuff tends to strike me as corny and tired just from a writer’s craft pov), but I had NOT considered the foodstuff-slavery link before. DEFINITELY creeped out. Will be making an even more conscientious effort to stay away from that language now.
reblogging in response to some of the asks in the inbox asking about using foodstuff to describe PoC. Yes, it can be done. But it is also kind of cliche. And there are also other undercurrents to think about. Because of the above subtexts, and because it is cliche, challenge yourself as a writer! Think of more creative ways and more effective ways to describe people!
guys, do you know that these kids aren’t thiago silva and david luiz, don’t you?
my favorite thing is that there were actual articles written about these children being baby david luiz and baby thiago silva and about how they both knew one another since childhood (using nothing but these pictures as proof) and reconnected via the brazil nt
Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad AKA Celia Cruz
Born: October 21, 1925
Anonymous said: If you're against illegal immigration, then aren't you basically against your ancestors that brought you here in the first place?
It wasn’t illegal.
When the Europeans came to America, did the Indians have any form of government? Did they have any laws about illegal aliens? Were the Indian tribes united for a single cause?
No, it was a bunch of tribes that warred with each other in a struggle for dominance in America. Nothing more and nothing less.
We took a savage, unruly land, and brought civilization and prosperity to it.
yeah, its not like the people inhabiting the land were not instrumental in ensuring that the early colonial projects of the english survived despite the immense ineptitude of colonists. its not like the indigenous people of the western hemisphere had agricultural expertise and crops that the europeans quickly exploited to become rich. literally no history of any kind, taught anywhere, tries to argue that europeans brought ‘civilization and prosperity’ to the americas, rather, the exploitation of resources, the ethnic cleansing of millions (which, yes was illegal in the sense that treaties aka fucking international laws were signed between european colonists and indigenous groups and later broken by europeans) and the logistics behind the slave trade into the americas (from the transportation to the maintenance of african slaves) allowed europe (and later the united states) to become prosperous and for them to civilize to the point that they finally caught up with the rest of the fucking world, and used this wealth (up until the european fuck up powers squandered it and began looking for it elsewhere) to modernize in economic and military terms that allowed for future imperial projects against much more powerful countries/regions to even stand a chance of being successful
Latin@s, let’s talk about the pervasive colorism, sexism, anti-Native, anti-Black, and capitalist, colonial, heterosexist chingadera attitudes that are fucking us up as a community.
friendly reminder that ╮(─▽─)╭
we*boo is a slur (◡‿◡✿)
it dehumanizes otherkin who identify as fictional characters from japanese cartoons (anime) (⇀‸↼‶)
dont call me a we*boo im a FICTIVEKIN who happens to identify as someone who speaks japanese (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Tagged: #otherkin #kinphobia #fictivekin #im honestly feeling so attacked right now #like just because i identify as asuka people think its okay to call me a weaboo #im not a weaboo its not my fault im an anime and ur not lol #so sick of kinphobic trash
this is a parody.
Tyler Posey at the Teen Wolf panel at San Diego Comic Con 2014
Photographed by Tiffany Chien (please credit if edited/reuploaded)