DISCUSSION : Races in Episode


#1

I thought about this, as I was reading over a conversation where there was a reader complaining about how most of the background characters / main characters were white. The author’s argument was her story (not very clear however) took place in a part of the world (Britain) where 85+% of the population was white, and only about ~10% was Asain or Black. And even less was Indian or something other.

  1. When creating a story, should location be taken into account?
  2. Any other comments about the situation above.

#2

A huge chunk of authors are not American. You can tell when authors use “mum” instead of mom or other spelling differences. (some may be American/ in America and use mum, ik that.)
Buuuuuuut at the same time, though there may not be many darker-skinned people in those countries, they still exist. I’m not throwing backlash at the author because if I was in the same situation, I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing.


#3

Location should usually be taken into account. I always look for realism in stories. So, I’ll always go the extra mile to make some things more believable.
However, some people don’t really care about realism. And that’s fine! It’s their story, they can do what they want with it.

If the author doesn’t want to add in a bunch of random non-white characters because of realism, or whatever, that’s fine, as long as they’re not being racist.
If an author doesn’t want to add in a bunch of random white characters for whatever reason, too, that’s fine, as long as it’s not being racist.
Race shouldn’t feel like an obligation.


#4

I often see two sides to this issue.
I have had Episode friends called out for not having any POC or LGTB+ characters in their story, calling them racist or homophobic (which is funny since the author is bisexual).
The other side is all the people that complain about POC or LGTB+ characters being put into a story that serves no real purpose or is poorly portrayed.
Because of a lot of the criticism (mainly people just LOOKING for something to complain about), there are times, authors, put certain characters JUST so they don’t get criticism. “Do I have enough POC in the story.” “Do I have enough LGTB+ in the story.”
It gets to the point where it takes away from the author’s original vision for the story.
One of my main supporting characters is a lesbian. She isn’t a lesbian because it fills a status quo, it is actually for a specific purpose. BUT, authors shouldn’t feel obligated to put certain characters in the story just to fill the status quo.
There are areas where there isn’t a diverse population. Where I grew up, I was a minority because I was white. 95% of the population is Native American and then I really didn’t encounter my first minority figure until I went to college. If I wrote a story about the town I grew up in, in order to accurately reflect it, there would be no POC but also not very many white people. Sure, I had a few classmates that I knew were LGTB+, but because of the culture, they remained in the closet. Once again, it wasn’t until I was in college and my roommate and best friend was bisexual that I realized that it was okay to be open about your sexuality.
Location does factor in a lot. I love seeing diversity in stories but hate seeing fellow authors trashed when they do not have the right amount of diversity in their story.
I hope that makes sense. (sometimes I struggle putting my opinions into words)
:heart::rose:


#5

Yeah, I’m writing a story that takes place in South Korea. And about 96% of the population is korean while the rest or foreign.
So there’s a lack of diversity in my story but then again, Asian culture isn’t addressed very well in episode


#6

I don’t really see the issue of using only one race in your story If the plot is good. What I dont like is generalise all people from one race. It seems silly to me tp not consider that every person is different and have their own way of behaviour


#7

I’ll just repost something I posted in a topic that is now closed:

About me feeling like my culture is left out or not in a story, it depends on where the story takes place. For example, if I didn’t find many Indian people in a story that takes place in Japan, I wouldn’t want the author to throw authenticity and realism out the window just to fit a certain diversity mold.

I feel like a lot of writers feel a certain pressure to fit USA diversity standards even with stories that don’t even take place in the USA or in parts of it where there just isn’t such a multicultural population. Sometimes it comes off as forced and try-hard, and it can quickly backfire since the writer might not know enough about a certain culture they’re trying to portray in their story.

Besides, more than wanting to see more cultural diversity in stories (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for), I really want to see more characters with disabilities and have them be portrayed properly. I rarely see any characters who are blind, deaf, in a wheelchair, or suffer from any kind of physical handicap or mental illness or disorder apart from the most common ones like depression.

But as I’ve mentioned above, don’t feel forced to make your cast more diverse if it feels just like that: forced. If you feel like you’ll be throwing authenticity and realism out the window and bring in stereotypes, just stick to what you’re more acquainted with while doing more research on the side and adding more experiences into your life.

Anyway, those were my summed up opinions and I wish you luck with your story :blush:

EDIT: “Would you like a MC that represents you?”
Sure, but I also like to follow another character’s story (:


#8

I’m from England and the country has a white Majority. It doesn’t mean the author is racist or doing anything wrong by keeping the Background Characters as White. There are ethnic Minorities in the UK but it is a small percentage so In my opinion the author was doing nothing wrong.

I think Location does matter as It’s a way of representing the country authentically.

part of my Story is set in Japan so the large majority of my Characters are Asian but I also have lots of white background characters because it is set in England as well. People should stop making an issue of Race.

If this was the other way around (A reader complaining that there is not enough White background characters) People would be angry at the readers complaint rather and it might be classed as something else.

Great question though :slight_smile:


#9

Race exsists. Theres no arguement and no excuse for why backround characters(the minimum of characters/unimportant ones) can not be POC. People need to stop with this BS on how the author does not have to include POC the world is not just white. As for MCs we get excluded from mainstream media…soo now we have to be excluded in a Customizable story app are we serious? For whatever reasons ppl give as to why we cant exsist in FICTIONAL STORIES is bull crap…make ur POC characters actual characters and not sterotypes(its not hard). Its annoying when characters look the same and act the same…thts all i say before ppl try and attack me for this one.


#10

Thank you for sharing. If you ever wish to continue sharing, I will prevent people from attacking you (but I don’t think anyone would <3)


#11

Ha thank you.


#12

I created my first story that didn’t take place in some white-majority place. (It wasn’t necessarily any location in particular) just I made an effort (a challenge?) to do something different. Pretending ‘Light’ (it’s in INK) is 4, I used >2 or 7<, two being very light skin colors and seven being darker. I wonder if anyone will bring up I only have one ‘Light’ skin person in the ENTIRE story lmao.

I do agree with a post on the ‘skin tone update’ thread, in which some authors and readers alike get really into how to accurately describe races, but in the end it’s just a game. (which let’s be a real for a moment, we cry, scream, procrastinate and write for too many hours on this app lmao.) I don’t know if I would ever spend hours researching how to accurately portray a race because unless it’s a big impact on my story, there’s not really a point?

Right, back to the topic. I was laying in bed and half way sleeping (or was I?) I had this thought that like, how could Episode make it easier to portray races besides Clothing? Skin Colors? Hair? and it hit me . . . Location! I am currently on a road trip, and legit, most of the backgrounds that episode use are California-ie. Like did you know there is legit forests with no trees? but cactus’s What about Adobe houses or like more Asain style homes? Scenery can all be changed. Maybe this is just like the lack of sleep talking but I am not only completely obsessed with cactus right now, but would love to see backgrounds with more foreign aspects to them.


#13

More backrounds would be refreshing.


#14

Exactly. It is extremely unrealistic for any place in this world to not have a huge chunk of residents of color. Also, when people say England is mostly white and use that as an excuse… they’re wrong.


#15

Yeah, like I’m from England too and most people are white, but there are ‘huge chunks’ (as you put it) of POC. I guess it just depends on where abouts you are, like where I live it is mostly white people but there are also Chinese people, Asian people, Indian people and many other people of colour. It’s not hard to add any sort of character in (not just people of different race), so I agree that it’s not really an excuse. Maybe there are more people of a certain race, but that shouldn’t stop you from representing everyone. It doesn’t make the author racist in anyway and there’s usually a good reason if they don’t include different races, I guess it all depends on the situation and the story. I’ll stop talking now, lol :sweat_smile:


#16

Don’t stop, you’re right!


#17

Personally, I think it depends a lot on the story and the plot.

I grew up in a very “white” neighbourhood but if I was going to write a story set in my hometown, I see no reason to only have white characters. Even though there weren’t many non-white people where I grew up (I was basically my school’s token Asian kid), having non-white characters probably wouldn’t really impact my story.
However, if I was writing a story about racism where the MC gets bullied because she’s the only non-white person in the area, then obviously it wouldn’t make sense to have a very diverse cast :woman_shrugging:

I do think that location matters. If I was reading a story set in China (for example) and especially an area of China that isn’t a major city, I would expect the majority of characters to be Asian. I think the time period would also need to be taken into consideration. But again, it really depends on the story. If the location and time period are particularly important to the story, then I would expect certain things to be as realistic as possible.
If a story is set somewhere “just because”, then I don’t think it matters.


#18

I also live in a country with white majority and it’s such a big majority I’ve barely had any friends/classmates/colleagues from another race. When I was working on my first story I didn’t even realize it lacks diversity because my characters were mostly portrayed of people I know and therefore they were all white. I was somewhere in the middle with the story when it hit me, so I desperately started to create some background characters from different races. My main characters were customizable, so I just took a deep breath and finished the story. Cool, all sorted out, I thought.
Then I recently started to revise the story and had another shock: so my MC was customizable but I completely forgot about her parents! They just have the features I originally gave to them… For a minute there I just wanted to push the delete button but it was not there, so I guess I need to fix the story again.
I hope most of the readers understand that not having many (or any) diverse characters in a story doesn’t mean the author is racist. They could have many different reasons for this and it’s also possible they haven’t even noticed…


#19

I understand where you’re coming from.
I’m writing a story that takes place in South Korea in which the population is 96% Korean and the rest is non specific foreigners. I make my background characters and main characters have Asian characteristics (black hair, brown eyes, and on occasion dyed hair). I mean, I don’t exclude people of color but the mass majority of characters are Asian.
However,
Asian culture isn’t represented on episode much either! On the Asian shelf non of the story’s even took place in Asia! It just consisted of a main character that’s Asian or a few side characters. None of them took place in Asia!
I think it just depends on the culture and area being represented.


#20

On one had: I’m from Portugal (in Europe) and in my school that has around 2k students I’ll tell you that there are 2 black people and 2 asian girls, everyone else is just white xD Because in certain places like my city there aren’t many people from other cultures and parts of the world. This city is neither small or big, If I go to the capital I will see a lotn of POC, but that’s not the case in most places.

Of course that if I’ll write a story about my town, once in a while there will a POC in the BG , but if I included a lot of them it wouldn’t be realistic.

On the other hand: if someone writes a story about L.A., maybe France, NY and other cities the unrealistic thing would be not to add a lot of POC because those places have a huge amount of diversity, not only because they are well known around the globe, but also because people tend to migrate there for a better life or a better job.

:slight_smile: I’m just saying that even tho you’re right because there is NO PLACE in the world that is just white people, we do need to pay attention to the location.

Hope this didn’t come out as offensive, I’m really just trying to explain my own personal experiences.