[Image description: Two basic posters with bright pink font.]
Poster #1 (left): How to be a strong female character (according to the internet):
1. Never cry.
2. Never fall in love.
3. You know what? Just don’t have emotions. Period.
4. Never wear a dress.
5. Never wear pink. Or frills.
6. Don’t make mistakes.
7. Don’t be a person of color.
Poster #2 (right): How to be a strong female character
1. Make your own choices.
2. Change and develop.
…No, really. That’s it.
The next two in the series of posters I am using to advertise this blog on my campus.
to add to list one:
8. AND FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY DON’T BE CAUCASIAN EITHER. ONLY RACISTS WRITE CAUCASIAN CHARACTERS.
9. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN’T BE ANY RACE YOU MUST BE A KALEIDOSCOPE OF INDISCERNIBLE ETHNICITY.
I’m seeing a lot of people reblog my posters with this “commentary” (the so-called 8 and 9), so I’d like to address it: To cut it short, I don’t approve of it one bit, and it disappoints me that so many people seem to condone it. Number 7 is supposed to address the point that fandom often directs their hatred at people of color (see: Doctor Who’s Martha Jones, who, as fans have pointed out, is very similar to the much more loved Rose Tyler, but just so happens to be black).
Writing white characters does not make you racist. Writing white characters exclusively does not make you racist. Writing characters with a stated race/actually paying attention to race does not make you racist, either. What is highly questionable and racially problematic is setting a story in Thailand post-tsunami and focusing only on the problems of white visitors (The Impossible), writing a story about black maids from the point of view of their white savior figure (The Help), writing about people of color but using strategic casting to avoid actually hiring actors of color to portray them (Cloud Atlas, The Last Airbender, The Dark Knight Rises), blatantly picking settings where people don’t think people of color existed so you can use that as an excuse for their absence (Almost all Western fantasy/historical films), or writing stories in settings that DO feature high populations of people of color and choosing only to write about white people (Lena Dunham’s Girls and any all-white cast in a New York City setting). It’s not wrong to write about white people, but it is wrong to erase or downplay the lives of people of color as a way of writing exclusively about white characters.
Don’t lug my posters in with your bawww woe is me everyone hates white people bullshit. We already appear in almost every piece of media ever made. People of color have a right to demand their fair share.