African-Americans: I need your help- is this offensive?


Hii! I need advice for a new story, where I’m trying to expand diversity. I haven’t written a story in a very long time, and I’m trying to start again with a new style, with more diversity, better plots, subplots, and themes. You can answer if you’re not African-American: but please don’t speak for them!

Usually, I let the reader customize MC and their best friend, so I just write the dialogue as I want, with no representation of other cultures, because I don’t know what the reader chooses the ethnicity of the characters of. I’m very cliche, and I always put a funny, sarcastic, sassy, sometimes a little rude, bold, not scared to say what they want, best friend, but I don’t mean it in an offensive way. In my new story, I want the character to only customize MC, so I can include an African-American best friend who actually has a plot and character development, instead of just having them there for “diversity”. I wrote a little of the story, without even realizing it, I made the best friend sassy, because that’s what I usually do, but I want to know if this is okay. Some people stereotype black girls as sassy/bold/not afraid to say what they want/etc, and I don’t want this looking like me stereotyping them. I don’t believe in that stereotype at all, black girls are amazing and full of love, so I’m 100% open to changing my story and deleting what I’ve written so far if it’s offensive in any way.

Please let me know if you think this is bad, because of force of habit, I might accidentally put something sassy and snarky, and I really don’t want this to be a stereotypical story. I want the black best friend to have a good character development, with a good love life, with a good future and everything, with lots of diversity, not the other way around of me stereotyping them. I would never put ghetto dialog or lots of fighting or the very deep stereotypes, I just want this story to be 100% stereotype free and not offensive in anyyy way.


I appreciate you posting this and asking. I get not wanting to be a stereotypical story with the cliche “sassy black girl”, but as long as you don’t use corny jokes that tend to be used by people who use this stereotype in their stories - for example: jokes about their “weaves”, the “mmhmm” or “uh-uh”'s whenever someone says something, etc., you’ll be fine. You should also give the black character a backstory and give the reader glances into their personal life instead of just having them there as the best friend who only shows up for humor, which is also something done by people who take part in using the sassy black girl stereotype. That’s really all I have to say about that, to be honest. Just try your best to make her three dimensional and serious, as you would for the MC! Also, it’s okay to refer to black people as what they are, which is black. You don’t have to say “African Americans” and I get you’re trying to be cautious, but just letting you know! Black isn’t a bad word :slight_smile: again, I appreciate you posting this!


thank you so much! i am going to give her a backstory and make her a big part in the story; but i’ll definitely make sure there’s not so many stereotypes or anything in there. i know black isn’t a bad word; idk why i didn’t say it that much. i wasn’t trying to censor it; i’m sorry about that!


I need to read it when you post it omg


i don’t even know if i’m going to post it lmao usually i just write stories and don’t post them


Well one day, you should publish one if you want! I bet they’re good <3


I find the sassy African-Americans funny actually…
I even posted about this stereotype. Not because I was offended, but because it’s something I noticed. I also suggest not pointing out several times that the MC’s friend is a POC all the time. Make it natural and unique.


I agree with all of this! The sassy black friend is always funny, but the sad part about it is that it feels like that’s all people see us as


Well, we shouldn’t be stereotypes as extra sassy people if we’re not all like that. The fact that the friend is sassy shouldn’t be the only thing about her. We can be sensitive, we have feelings, we have other emotions!


i didn’t think it was too rude or offensive or anything, but i wasn’t a POC and i wasn’t sure what black people thought of this stereotype as a lot of them can struggle with it and it might be a little weird/uncomfortable seeing that in a story. i wasn’t sure, thank you!


I honestly appeciate you for making this thread. I haven’t read a story on African-American culture in a while or diversiry but when I did they always had us portrayed as “ghetto” and labeling us. We are just as smart and intellegent. Black is beauty and beauty is divine!

:two_hearts::heart::blue_heart: Thank you for creating this!


The sassy African American girl in a story is very funny to me because it is a typical stereotype portrayed on TV a lot, I don’t think there’s anything to wrong with it, but never let it get out of hand. I love African American culture because I’m African American. :smile:


That’s horrible! I really hope things change and the community learns to have common decency and portray a real black family/characters nicely.


Oh I think it’s fine, I’m not African American but I’ve gotten second hand embarrassment from badly done black characters before, like the ones who snap their fingers in a z formation more than they breath haha. I think a good rule of thumb is to not make it any worse than Laquisha from total drama. Even as a kid I thought her existence was racist lmfao


Exactly! I hope so too. They believe in too much of how the media portrays us to be. Don’t get me wrong, some ppl are like that and I have my moments too.


Thank y’all for your help! I will be keeping a little sass because that does make the story interesting, but I will 100% make sure that the black best friend gets her own storyline, love partner, job, good future, backstory, character development, etc. I didn’t think the sass was too offensive, but i wanted to make sure because i’m not a black myself and have only heard of the stereotype! thank you guys again :slight_smile:


It’s not offensive at all. I will admit to cringing at it , because in most movies and shows and stories the black sidekick is ALWAYS “sassy”. But it’s not a big deal. Even black authors on episode add them. I think I have one in one of my stories lmaoo


haha, got it, thank you! i didn’t really think people got offended by it, but i wasn’t completely sure so i wanted to ask, thanks!


not really offensive, but sort of stereotypical. I mean we all have wild thoughts that wish we could act on, but some things aren’t appropriate to say. her just saying what pops up in her mind shows poor self control which is apart of the black stereotype in western culture.


@Ryan @Jeremy please close this thread i got my answers :relaxed: