Help Correctly Representing POC Characters?

Anything that you find is important to add into a story. Like the struggles of a POC (obviously you can only speak for African Americans as you said), the ways life at home may be different to a white person, etc. The second one sounds racist but I can see the differences between myself and my Maori friends in regards to the home.

Some of our lives at home are very different from a white person because it some families struggle when it comes to money and other things.

1 Like

Do you think (this is going to sound racist af and I apologise in advance I’m just trying to learn) that African Americans struggle more money wise than white people in America? Or would you say it’s pretty equal?

I wouldn’t quite say that; no doubt some of us do love spending large amounts of money haha because we like to have a lot of nice things. But I’d say that we don’t really get as many job opportunities as a white person would get. I think it’s unfair, but that’s how things are in America. Fortunately, some of us Africans Americans have really successful jobs, and I am proud of that because years ago it wasn’t like that.

2 Likes

Would you recommend making POC characters have good jobs in a story? Or would you recommend making POC characters finding it hard to get a good job in a story?

Hmmmmm… You’re asking me questions that I really have to think about, but it’s no problem. I’d say a bit of both because you want your story to have a message within it. You want the reality factor in it. They can have very successful jobs, such as being a lawyer, doctor, or even an entrepreneur. However, you can portray them having a challenging time finding a job because it is true.

1 Like

Do you think I should make an even mix of the two? Or should one be more predominant than the other?

Yeah go for it!

1 Like

Thank you so much for helping! I really want to make every character as accurate as possible to the real world. This helped a lot!

Glad I could be a help, but I do recommend doing some researching on the other POC groups as well as my race of people :slight_smile: Doesn’t hurt to incorporate those ideas into your story.

1 Like

I will be sure to find out more about different groups and opinions and ideas from other people! :smile: Thanks for the help!!

2 Likes

Writing With Color in particular is an excellent resource and could be a great jumping-off point for you, OP. From what I’ve seen, they have an abundance of posts on a pretty big variety of issues.

Like others have said, take poc on the forum and their concerns seriously if they bring them to you. Also, keep in mind that people within their own communities are often extremely diverse from one another, so getting a couple of opinions isn’t really going to give you a broad enough understanding of entire subsections of the American population - let alone the complexities of their individual experiences. Research through poc resources is an important part of the process.

I can’t be a spokesperson for anyone, but I really think people just want to know you (“you” as in “people in general”) are acting in good faith towards them and a big part of proving that you’re acting in good faith is having respectful responses, making efforts to learn, and being willing to listen to critical feedback from them.

Anyways, best of luck. Try not to get discouraged. Learning more about people can be a very long process and it never really ends, but people really do appreciate genuine kindness and good intentions. The value of understanding and being understood is worth the effort it takes to learn.

5 Likes

Thank you so much! I’ll be sure to research even more and take all that you have said on board! :smile:

What minority groups are you thinking of adding to your story? Of course, POC from different countries, areas and cultures are gonna have different unique things about them, so it might be helpful for a lot of people if you had any races/ethnicities in mind! I have some questions and pieces of advice which work for any character, to be honest, but help you make respectful POC.

The interesting thing is that the things you can do to improve your representation simultaneously also improve the quality of your story, too!

4 Likes

I want to add all sorts of POC! African american for sure! Native american Indian, Hispanic and Latino. Any POC group that is quite prominent in America (Because that is where my story is based).

In my opinion you should write her how you envision her. Unless if you want to make her Mexican heritage a part of the plot… Just my two cents lol

1 Like

Yeah I would like to add their culture into the story as a way to add depth to the character.

In which case, I suggest thinking about and planning the following things:

  • Have your characters got complete backstories going on in their lives? I don’t just mean the POC with this. A lot of Episode writers fall into the trap of making every single character exist solely to interact with the MC. Having them have their own story in which they are the hero really makes them seem like real people. This tip works for all people, but really helps to humanise POC

  • Are you thinking about the character’s back story and intentions when you add them to a scene? These things don’t have to be really obvious, but you can react to the same situation in thousands of different ways depending on what’s on your mind and how you’re feeling. Again, thinking about these things and letting them affect how characters talk to each other humanises POC.

  • How much are you going to make their ethnicity/race affect their character? Is this a person who was raised in the US or someone who came here in adulthood? Are their parents from the US? Do they merge the values of the US with the values of any other countries they might be associated with? I’m half Indian, but 3 generations of my family were born in the UK. We have strong ties to our Indian community, though, which means I have slightly different views to the average Brit. I tend to sit in between Indian values and British ones, leaning more on the side of British. This is true of many people with multiple cultures affecting them.

3 Likes
  • How accepting do you want society to be of them? This one can be difficult to think about if you’re white, but even if you disagree with a POC’s assessment of society and racism, it is important to take these common opinions and views seriously because these things affect how many POCs feel about the world around them. There is more than one way to look at an issue, too.

  • Being aware of stereotypes is important. If you’ve chosen a minority group that you want a character to belong to, do a quick search to see if there are any commonly known stereotypes about them. Avoid the damaging ones, but not all stereotypes are going to offend. The problem is when a character is ridiculously stereotypical, not when they share a few qualities with the stereotypes. If you merge that with other qualities which go against most stereotypes, a few tropes here and there will be absolutely fine.

2 Likes

Thank you so much! This is very helpful!