Diversity & minorities in stories, without offending...?

This is something I’ve been very cautious with as a writer, and want to know you guys’ opinions: How can/should an author add diversity to their story and ACCURATELY represent minorities? I legitimately love everyone and want to be as inclusive as possible in my writing & I’m fascinated by all different walks of life, but I don’t know how I can write about things like race, religion, social/economic status, disabilities, LGBT+ community, etc. if I PERSONALLY don’t know much about it? I’m a straight, cisgender girl from an upper-class American family in a mostly white, Catholic town. Not very diverse :sweat_smile:
Like, I don’t want to misrepresent anyone or offend anyone! For example, one of my characters I’m still creating & working on is from a very strict Muslim family, but she’s a modern US teenager and doesn’t always follow the “rules”/traditions/expectations set by her family or religion. I don’t want to disrespect anyone who is Muslim by creating a character who breaks all the traditions and doesn’t follow or accurately show what Islam is really like. I don’t want to imply that Islam is strict & oppressive & “uncool” or anything like that! If I google search Islam and the Muslim religion, I get facts about traditions and beliefs. I don’t get facts about, for example, the younger generation and what THEY believe, how they fit in with a more liberal, “modern” society, what THEY think about their elders’ strict beliefs. I’m a Christian, but I’m DEFINITELY not as “strict”/conservative as my grandmother, but we’re both still Christians, even though we have very different beliefs & views.
Sorry for rambling, I’m just very passionate about this topic :sweat_smile:

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Most important rule: Don’t stereotype.

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@EpisodeShadow
@ShanniiWrites
@AWeirdo

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Never create a character with the sole aim of making them a minority. Lead with kickass characters and then think about what makes them unique once you’ve thought of their purpose in the story.

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Moved to Episode Fan Community since Community is for discussion of specific stories. Make sure to check out our Forum Tutorial for more info about where to correctly create topics, and feel to PM me if there are any questions. :wink:

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I’d have to agree with @ShanniiWrites. Diversity should come natural, you should never want to make a character solely based on their struggles of being a minority in America. Just give them a personality, just as you’d do with any other straight-white character. When it comes down to people of different races & sexualities, I don’t think it’s something you necessarily have to research on. We’re human just like everyone else, and even if we do struggle more than others that doesn’t make us all the same. Religion & culture, for sure!

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Also, don’t be afraid of offending a few people. It’s doesn’t matter what you do! Someone will be offended (see my FAQ on diversity). Focus more on who you don’t want to offend or you’ll end up doing nothing :joy:

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You and @Zelda04 already said what was needed. :joy: No need for me to be here.

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It’s always nice to hear from multiple different people! Add your two-cents girl :laughing:

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Thank you for that! My character has a big personality and there’s way more to her than just her religion, I just thought it’d be a nice add-on to include what her life is like at home vs. at school, how/if her beliefs affect her social life, things like that :slight_smile: Thank you everyone who has replied so far!!

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I mean, you said what I wanted to say. :sweat_smile: I’m good over here.

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Islam is the Muslim religion. Theres no need to add that part. :kissing_smiling_eyes:

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I would say don’t do this. This is a thing a lot of people do with Muslim characters and it’s becoming an annoying cliche used with us. Same with the “strict Muslim family.” It’d be nice to make her family strict but don’t make it seem like their enforcing so hard on the religion. That’s also an overused cliche.

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also remember: there’s a huge difference between diversity and tokenism.

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Yeah xD a follower of Islam is called a Muslim

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And honestly the whole “Muslims/Muslim parents being strict” thing is so stupid. That goes with any religion. I’m tired of the strict Christain/Catholic, Sikh, etc. Although some are, for the others it’s just discipline. Nothing wrong with that.

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oops, sorry! :sweat_smile:

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If you need more help on Muslim characters, I have a thread for it:

Ask the questions and information you want to know.

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Tbh it’s more of a southeast Asian thing than a Muslim thing. Hindu and Sikh parents are typically quite strict, too.

Honour and stuff

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:new_moon_with_face: