Episode Diversity: Resources

community

#1

This was a topic on the old forums, originally titled as “Help With People Of Color.” It’s now revamped as “Episode Diversity: Resources,” with the help of @random_life. A wider range of assistance and resources have been provided in this improved topic.


Many Episode authors have strived for diversity, correct representation, and inclusion, now more than ever. Although it has been discussed before, few major changes have actually occurred. @random_life and I decided to create this topic to promote diversity and inclusion on Episode. It’s more than carelessly throwing in a few random side characters here and there, then advertising it on a story to collect reads. It’s about representation, showing a variety of people, embracing differences, and giving everybody a voice. Correct representation is very important and can change your story for the better (when done the right way). Everyone deserves to be represented, otherwise they may feel excluded or silenced.

A lot of people have insisted that they are afraid of including diversity in their stories, in case of portraying a character wrong or offending someone, and that is a valid point. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from ever writing about them. All it means is that you have to have the resolve to learning more, and being patient.


@random_life has described it perfectly:

Basically, I created this topic to learn about people of different races, cultures, religions, countries, sexualities, genders, people with disabilities, different mental or physical disorders and people with different experiences…

I would like it if people describe what their life is like or what experiences they have had or to educate me on different things. This isn’t just for me, but to educate other people on how to really add diversity into their stories.

I don’t know what it is like to have a disability or be religious or even be of a different gender, but others do and that’s why I’m writing this. I believe this way is better than just googling different types of people and basing it off of that and I don’t want to come off offensive in any way by not being fully educated. I just want to do everybody justice.


Countless people are ready to help you. All it takes is a question, so ask away. If you need help or are willing to help others learn more about different races, cultures, religions, countries, nationalities, ethnicities, sexualities, genders, people with disabilities, different mental or physical conditions, or etcetera, please fill out this form.

Afterwards, your username, knowledge topic(s), and experiences you want to share, will be displayed in a document, so anyone who wants to learn more can reach out to you.

Even if you don’t have the time to answer every question, simply sharing your experiences here can go a long way. What are common misconceptions? What do you wish others knew? What do you want to see in stories? Being educated on topics like these are not only helpful and interesting to us, but to others too.

Keep in mind that these are only the experiences of some, and since everyone’s life is different, you can’t assume that everyone has gone through the same things, or generalize it as an experience for all of those who belong to the group that person is speaking for. What someone has been through does not necessarily determine what someone else has had to deal with too. You are entitled to your own opinions.


Resource Links:

How to Write A More Diverse Story
Writing POC 101
Discussion: Religion & Culture
Extend Your Diversity - Jewish Characters!
Modest Hijabi Friendly Outfit Ideas (Also Including Niqabs)
Clothing Representation on Muslims
Writing About Mental Illnesses

(More links to be available later on.)


Please PM me or @random_life if you have any questions or comments. In order to keep this topic manageable, don’t spam off-topic posts on here. You can voice your opinions, but please refrain from hate speech. We hope this thread is useful and we hope you learnt something new. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Once and random_life


Culture Help Thread!
#2

I think a good way to increase diversity & inclusivity would be to open up the opportunity to allow people of other cultures the chance to read Episode. I call it ‘Episode Translate’ & I have a topic about it already. It will definitely ensure diversity if episode ever decides to work on it. :roll_eyes:


#3

This is such an important thing for all of us to keep in mind when we’re writing stories, and such a great place to keep all this information! This will be a way better reference than Wikipedia or random Yahoo asks (and I’m speaking from personal experience!).

Anyway, I’ll talk about being racially mixed. My dad is Korean and my mom is white with some Filipina mixed in :smile:. Now, as a whole, I feel like mixed people have little representation in stories. I understand that sometimes it’s difficult to tell when a character is multi-racial and I’m not complaining; I’ve seen representation for both of my halves. It would just be refreshing for more authors to acknowledge that there are people who are not just one race.
I’ve often been faced with the choice of choosing between my identities; people want to know if I’m Asian or white or just ask outright: What are you? to which the answer is I’m human. XD Even at school, I’ve noticed people tend to hang around people that are like them, which is fine, but more difficult for me. I can’t relate to all the experiences of my friends, but on the bright side, I can relate to some experiences in more groups of people.
Being pressured to “choose sides” is a feeling my other mixed friends have expressed, in addition to people of different cultures, religions, etc. Sometimes I feel like I’m leaning one way or the other in terms of culture, especially if I’m speaking to someone of that specific culture, but never that I’m too white or too Korean. An important thing to remember if you are writing mixed characters is that all of the races mix together to create a unique individual; being Korean AND white is part of my identity, and I would never want to ignore or erase one part of me. Factors such as food, habits, and language from both of my cultures have made me me, so don’t create a mixed character only to focus on only one culture.
I do speak Korean, but I am not a perfect speaker. My dad speaks both Korean and English around the house, so some of what I know I learned from him, but I also learned, and continue to learn, through my Korean friends and Duolingo :joy:. Not every mixed person is going to speak multiple languages, though. My sister barely speaks Korean; she never bothered to work at it like I did and she really only ever uses it to insult me without our mom knowing :joy:.

Okay, so that’s basically all I can think of for my mini-rant about being mixed, LOL. These are my personal thoughts and experiences, so they won’t apply to everyone! I hope that this was helpful to anyone who may be writing mixed characters!


#4

I am Chinese, and proud of my rich culture, heritage, and language. There’s too much to learn to compact into one post, but the topics I specifically want people to know are the stereotypes and common misconceptions, my personal experiences, celebrations and festivals, foods, names, and Chinese, and Asians in general, in Episode Interactive.


Stereotypes, and Common Misconceptions:

Chinese stereotypes are… strange. Some are simply rude, while others sound like a compliment, when to me, they aren’t. Asians are known as the ‘model minority’, the ones who are perfect, smart, excel in hobbies, with strict parents who would kill them if they have anything less than an A+. While those misconceptions may sound like they play in my favor… they actually don’t. It’s a two sided blade.

Being smart at math itself is praise, but not when it’s attached to my race. Comments like: “Duh, she’s perfect at everything, she’s an Asian.” or “Asians are so smart!” are what I face all the time. I’m glad people think Asians are brilliant, but when my race is the only reason why you believe that, there’s a problem. You are undermining my work, all the time I spent on practicing math, the online lessons I took to achieve this. Those remarks makes me nitpick at every compliment I receive and brush them off, because am I actually perfect? Beautiful? Smart? Or do you just say this because I’m Asian?

Asian parents are typically stricter than most, but not all of them kick their children out of the house for earning an A instead of an A+. I have never encountered any of those parents in fact. They understand the importance of quality education, and their love of knowledge makes me cherish my opportunity to learn. A work ethic was instilled in me from a very young age, and I was raised to constantly better myself, because it will benefit me in the end. My parents push me because they love me, they know I have the potential to be more, and this is why I love them. My friends who are not used to this ask me questions such as: “You do your homework voluntarily? You still do chores even when you aren’t paid?” Yes. My parents have taught me well. Honestly, more pressure to place my education above my health are comes from people feeding these stereotypes, instead of my actual family.

Some people automatically assume I play the piano or violin because I’m Asian. A lot of us do, but again, there’s a couple who don’t. I play the piano, and am learning the guitar, and the harmonica. There was a time when someone told me I should stop playing the piano because I was just encouraging the misconception. No. I shouldn’t be forced to give up a loved hobby.

There’s way more stereotypes than the ones that are listed here. You are not a stereotype. We are more than our race. With everything considered, invest more time in learning than judging. This isn’t to say you can’t make a Chinese or Asian person smart, or have strict parents, or know how to play the piano or violin. This is to make you aware that that’s not all we are. Chinese or Asian characters should be as well developed as all of your other characters.


Personal Experiences

I’ve experienced racism before because of a factor I couldn’t control, but loved. My race tends to be the first thing someone discusses (“Where are you from? No, where are you really from?”) There’s one moment in particular that sticks out to me. One time, when I told someone to be quiet, they immediately bowed to me mockingly, and began with “Ching, ching, chong, chong-” then rambled gibberish, poking fun of Mandarin Chinese. It made me feel like an outsider, although I was born and raised here. Those are the moments that makes me ashamed to be Chinese, but no, I shouldn’t be, because Mandarin is a beautiful language.


Celebrations and Festivals:

Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, are one of the more common Chinese celebrations. The date changes every year, but the day can fall anywhere between the first day of January to the last day of February. Every year, it’s the year of another animal on the Chinese zodiac. For example, 2018 is the Year of the Dog. People hang up red lanterns (灯笼), because it’s a sign of luck for the next year, and red signals happiness (side note: white is reserved for mourning and funerals in China, not weddings like in the U.S.A.). Dumplings and other traditional foods are served as family and friends celebrate together and hand out red envelopes (紅包) with money inside of them. Parades and lion and dragon dances are very common too. Happy Chinese New Year! (新年快乐!) is what people say.

My family celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) too, and it marks the end of the autumn harvest. We eat moon cakes (月饼), and sticky rice dumplings (粽子).

There’s countless more festivals and celebrations than that, and I encourage you to research them.


Foods:

American Chinese food and authentic Chinese food could not be any more different. Our meals are set up similar to buffets. We have our main course in our bowls or plates, which is usually rice or noodles. Our side dishes are set in the middle for us to chose and pick up with our chopsticks (some people use spoons and forks still), but once we put it in our bowls or plates, we’re expected to eat it all as to not waste food. However, Chinese parents show endearment by stuffing your bowl with food and that’s expected to be finished too. Chinese food is all fresh, and there’s rarely a time when I eat premade or canned meals. A lot of Chinese people have their own gardens to ensure the quality of their food. I’ve never eaten dogs or cats, but I have eaten fish heads, crabs, lobsters, squids, chicken feet, and etc. (Don’t judge the food until you’ve tried it). Hot pot (火锅) is a favorite of mine, and it’s when fresh food is placed in simmering water in a pot in front of you, so you can watch everything cook yourself. The water turns out to be the soup as more flavors are added in, and it’s absolutely delicious! Tea, hot water, or soup are the main drinks. Most people prefer tea drunk plain, but I always plink a few sugar cubes in.

The real fun only begins during Chinese dinners with all the friends and family. Out of generosity and politeness, almost everyone brings a gift, even if it’s just a causal meal. Again, out of politeness, parents refuse each other’s presents, and demanding their’s be accepted. Debating and negotiating gifts takes at least 10 minutes. At the end, only a few people accept the presents, but there’s a lot of cheers, laughter, and thanks.


Names:

Chinese people refer to their older brothers and sisters by ‘older brother’ or ‘older sister’, while the youngest is usually referred to by their names. In Mandarin Chinese, we have actual words for older or younger sisters and brothers that don’t involved adding the words ‘older’ or ‘younger’ in front of it. The parents sometimes talk about the children by their place in the family too, like younger sister (妹妹), young brother (弟弟), elder sister (姐姐), elder brother (哥哥). Out of respect and as a sign of closeness, Chinese parents usually have their children call their parents’ friends ‘uncle’ (叔叔), ‘aunt’ (姑妈) or even ‘brother’, ‘sister’ depending on their age difference.

Last name always goes first. If someone’s first name was Lily and their surname was Xu, they would be Xu Lily in Chinese. Instead of Doctor Xu, it’s Xu Doctor. Instead of Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Xu, it’s Xu Teacher no matter the gender.


Chinese, and Asians in General, in Episode Interactive

Where are the Asian with the starring role, the love interests, the populars? A few Asians being the shy girl, or the smart nerd is okay because some Asians are in reality, but not everyone is. (Also, not all Asians wear glasses, some wear contacts and others don’t have any eye prescriptions.)


There’s more than can ever be explained, but it’s a rich culture I love.


#6

I’m so happy to see posters sharing about their culture with others. Not only it’s helpful for stories but also helpful for us to learn more about each other.


#10

Race/Culture: I am biracial/mixed. My mother is Afro-Caribbean (also considering Latina > Belize is in Latin America) and my father is a white American. I have grown up open to both sides of my cultures. I love them so much. If you need any help about experiences being mixed/interracial relationships, Caribbean/Latin culture, or the southwest US, I’m your girl!


#12

Hello! I think this is an excellent post! I myself am mixed Indian and Afro-Caribbean and bisexual and I think that diversity is one of the most important things on Episode to help us understand one another. I do, however, have a lot of opinions about diversity and the importance of getting it right. There is, in my opinion, no point in adding in diversity simply for the sake of diversity, as it ends up doing more harm than good!

Info on why I think that here.


#14

I agree, there’s a border line, you can embrace and praise a culture, but when that’s the first thing you see of a person, and not their personality and their character etc, that’s just crossing the line. :heart:


#15

Bookmarked this! This is an incredible resource!


#16

I couldn’t find this information on my own, but I think someone here might be able to correct me if I’m wrong.

I’m planning a story that takes place at a boarding school and one of my boarding characters is a hijabi Her floor is only girls (and she has one roommate), and students are not allowed to visit other dorm floors. Is uncovering on her dorm floor and covering when she leaves okay?


#19