Opinions on race in stories

Hello! I’m currently writing my story for the double life contest and I had some questions that I would love opinions on- from POC and non-POC!

My story is about a girl who is a mixed (black and white) lesbian and she used to live in NYC- where people were much more accepting- and her mom accepted her but then her mom got promoted and they had to move to Texas. They moved to a small town there and people were racist towards her at her new school. She never came out to anyone at her new school and she was not confident at all. The whole double life concept comes in when she meets her best friend, Kay, and is introduced to music. She starts to love singing and songwriting and she starts to make videos where she dresses up in the outfits she feels the most confident in and sings (specifically about her sexuality) and she goes viral and has a lot of great feedback online.

Anyways, I wanted some people’s input on it because I am not a person of colour. My skin is white. Both of my parents are white, and my dad’s side is all European but I am Native American from my mom’s side. Point is, I don’t consider myself a POC but I do have a lot of different ethnicities in my blood. So, I am not a person of colour. I am white. But, my main character is black. And my main character is bullied for being black.

I wanted people’s opinions on that. Is it okay for my MC to be black? And more importantly, is it okay for my MC to be bullied because of that? I could always alter my story so that she isn’t bullied for that reason, or even change her skin colour. This is something that has been on my mind since I had the idea for the story, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t being offensive or if it wasn’t my place or my story to tell. Thank you for taking the time to read this. <3

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I personally don’t think it is offensive as it happens quite a lot in many episode stories regardless of ethnicity. Some people might get triggered so it’s probably best to add a warning in front of the episodes that contain bullying.

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Okay thank you so much for your input!!

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Also, I hate to ask, but are you a person of color? If you’re not comfortable telling me I understand :slight_smile:

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Yes I am, I’m Indian and that makes me brown :))

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Okay thanks :))

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As a black person, it kind of makes me uncomfortable when non black people (Even if they’re POC, but not white) write about black people experiencing racism. I can’t speak for all black people tho, so I will say just do extensive research and ask questions if you can (Don’t get upset when people don’t feel comfortable answering them).

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Okay, thanks for your input. It really is very helpful. I need to decide wether or not I am going to keep the racism in my story or not. I may just change her race to Native American or white but thank you for telling me your opinion!! <3

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I don’t think this is offensive, but I don’t think you should be writing about experiencing racism and the black experience when you’ve never experienced it.

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Got it. Thanks so much for your input! Based on the reactions I’ve been getting, I think I’m going to switch it up a bit so her best friend is black and her best friend experiences racism and the MC tries to help her best friend thru that. Do you think that’d be okay?

Again, I don’t think you should be writing about experiencing racism when you do not experience it.

There is enough trauma porn of black people written by nonblacks everywhere, and considering recent events, it’s an extra sensitive subject to touch on. Must she experience racism- is it truly integral to the plot? Or can she (MC or otherwise) be bullied in some other way- perhaps for how she dresses or behaves? Why does it have to be racism exactly?

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Okay, I agree with @software that you should NOT be writing stories about experiencing racism when, you, have NOT experience it. Your story can be so many things than writing about racism. So think of something different, I don’t also speak on behalf of POC, so they have their say on this, and I think you might want to change up your story a bit.

So, your story doesn’t always have to start at school, it could start somewhere else. I’m still trying to think of some ideas, like let’s say the MC is working somewhere, and the MC best friend is introducing the MC to music, and the MC loves to sing, and start songwriting.

The MC can start singing at home, and, or at work, writing songs about her sexuality, and acceptance. Uh, hm. still thinking…still thinking.

If you need a new story idea, feel free to ask. To take out racism if you are going to take it out.

Your story can be anything: Spy/Agent, Superhero, Detective, Famous Singer, etc. any job that your character can balance both lives. What will be their struggles? Will they have someone to trust or betray them etc.

A double life is not about dressing up, and making videos, and going viral. Double Life is basically balancing both lives as a different person. I hope I explain that right. :thinking:

Example: Superman, or any other superheros. He’s known as Clark Kent, he’s a daily new reporter, dresses professionally, has a good personality and his secret life is a superhero, he dresses in a superhero suit, and his personality is different and he battles enemies.

So that mean, the MC has a current job, and at night time, the MC have a secret job. It could be around day, evening, night time. if you want to stick with music, watch the movie Hannah Montanah, and get some inspiration from the movie.

She balancing both lives as a singer and a farm girl, I think? So yeah, I hope this helps somehow. Man, my mind is spinning. Or check out other cartoons, like superhero ones. Totally Spies, Miraculous Ladybug, etc.

There’s so much more than you can write about than racism, you don’t need to include it.

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It doesn’t at all! She’s bullied for being a lesbian as well and her best friend is bullied for being bisexual. I thought that it might be more okay to write about racism that the MC is witnessing as that is something that I have experienced before. This was a story idea that I had and I thought it would be interesting to write, but I also thought the racism aspect could be offensive which is why I posted about it. A big part of the reason I thought racism would be an informative view to incorporate was because in the rubric about the challenge they said it would be awesome to see inclusive stories (about race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc.) and this idea was one that I had. I definitely don’t need to have her experience racism, but I thought having her best friend experience it would be something informative to have rather than her experiencing it as I have never experienced it firsthand. Thank you so much for your opinion and thoughts. I’m definitely going to drastically change up the plot of the story. Do you really think that I shouldn’t have her best friend experience racism? If you do, I won’t have it in the story, but I think it would be a very informing idea to have in the story as I have had friends who experience racism and I have tried to stand up for them so that would be something that I myself have experienced. Again, thank you so much for your opinion. It really is helpful.

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Thank you so much! This is super helpful. What is your opinion on the best friend experiencing racism, and not the MC?

I think that school can be seen as a “job” in some ways. And it can definitely be seen as another part of her life. I know that double lives aren’t necessarily about dressing up specifically. My idea was more about the change in emotion and feeling. In the day, she’s a regular old schoolgirl who gets bullied and is unhappy and unconfident with her daytime life. At night, she dresses up in outfits that make her feel the most confident and happy. She does her hair and makeup to stand out, rather than blending in, and goes viral because she is so happy and confident in her videos. Then she’s worried about her classmates finding out because of how popular her videos are getting.

Again, thanks so much for your input! It is super helpful.

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this is still not a double life, in my opinion. :thinking:

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Are you a part of the LGBTQ+ community? Just like racism, you can’t write about dealing with homophobic people without proper research. If you aren’t LGBTQ+ I don’t feel comfortable with you writing about our experiences with being gay and judged for it. Like Lana said there is other stuff to pull inspiration from.
ex Sleeping Beauty You’re a born princess who gets sent away due to a curse you are a fashion designer in the real world what happens when you find out the truth of your identity.
ex Kim Possible or Miraculous Ladybug You’re a superhero or spy saving the world while being a student at college or high school.
ex Hannah Montana route You are a college student who secretly is a famous singer.
There are more examples of stuff to use such as a fashionista who is secretly a killer.

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I don’t think its your place to talk about racism and homophobia. This also doesn’t make sense for the DL contest.

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My opinion is, that this should not be included in the story if you have NOT experienced it as an author, yourself, and not the character that you’re writing.
And racism is not “interesting”. :thinking: Also, as I’ve said again, this is not a good fit for the DL contest, so maybe try something else and fresh and not writing about racism. :thinking:

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Exactly she can’t use racism and homophobia in her story. If she doesn’t experience it then its not her place to write about it. Also racism and homophobia shouldn’t be used to tell a story at all especially if you arent black or a part of the lgbtq+ community.

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Racism is not an interesting view to incorporate. Racism is something that kills, time and time again.

Episode’s inclusivity and diversity rubric doesn’t call for characters experiencing trauma and oppression, it simply calls for introducing characters that aren’t just white or heterosexual, which can be achieved without reminding minorities of the shit they already face in real life.

Then don’t write it.

I think having her best friend experience racism is honestly an even worse route to go with, as it automatically gives the story a white savoir complex. Maybe you’ve stood up for your friends who’ve experienced racism in the past- and honestly, good on you for it- but that doesn’t authorize you to make something you don’t experience a major plot point, nor does it authorize you to speak over black people who have actually experienced it in your attempt to educate others about it. So don’t.

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