What is a Respectful Story? Links to people who can help

In light of some troubling events on the forums recently, I thought it was really important to create a thread to discuss how we can all be a lot more respectful about the communities, ethnici groups, countries, sexualities, genders, disabilities, etc that we represent in our stories.

First and foremost, I want to say that this applies to how you represent white, cisgender men too because it’s kinda sad how they’re being represented in stories lately too.

I have some comments to make on the subject as a whole, and I would love for some other people to add their own opinions and experiences, too, to make this post more comprehensive.

Please don’t use this as an opportunity to argue about whether or not representation should be a thing. This post is for people who care about representation and want to do it appropriately.

Please keep your comments broad. Of course, it is important to talk about how to represent all minority groups, but this post is about the things that unite all human beings, not divide us.

So with those disclaimers out of the way, here is my advice for all of the people wanting to know how to create a respectful story.

  1. Do your research. This is the most important thing to do if you’re trying to represent any community you don’t belong to. Heck, it’s important if you belong to the community, too! One person’s experience doesn’t represent the whole community. Doing your research is the first step to creating a respectful story, but it isn’t the only step.

  2. If you don’t know, don’t do. Bad representation is a lot worse than no representation at all. Of course, that doesn’t give you a free pass to just pretend that people from various minorities don’t exist, but if you’re in doubt or don’t understand a topic, don’t try to represent that topic for that community. If you don’t know about the holocaust, for example, don’t try to represent that topic until you’re sure you have a good understanding.

  3. Don’t be afraid to ask. There are always going to be people from various minority groups who are more than happy to help you with your work. I’m going to list myself as someone who can help you with mixed race/Indian/Jamaican/British representation, bisexual representation and general history knowledge. At the end of this post, I will be putting the names of people who I can personally vouch for when it comes to writing certain types of representation. If you want to be mentioned, Just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to compile as many helpful people as possible.

  4. Humanise people. Make sure that you remember that your characters are humans first and then members of their various groups afterwards. Remembering that helps you to ground your story in reality and create characters that aren’t offensive or two-dimensional.

  5. Don’t try to represent unknown experiences. Of course, it is always important to try to add some diversity into your story to your capacity. I’m also not saying at all that we can’t empathise with people who are from different social groups to us. Of course you can! People from all social groups feel love, friendship, interest, boredom, etc. People from all social groups can struggle in life. We are all people, after all! However, it’s probably best not to write a story that revolves around being a member of a social group you’re not part of. Don’t focus on what makes that African American character or that Japanese character African American or Japanese. Focus on the things that make them a person.

  6. Find out the stereotypes. Discovering stereotypes can really help you to know what to avoid. Once you know what to avoid, you’re much less likely to write something that feels full of tropes or offensive.


Here’s some more info on my website!


Those are all the things I can come up with at the moment, but I will try my best to add to this thread as much as possible.

People Who Can Help

Feel free to DM these people if you want some specific information about how to represent the areas they know a lot about.

@ShanniiWrites

  • Being mixed/biracial
  • Being a Londoner
  • Being bisexual
  • Being British
  • Being English
  • Anxiety and depression
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • British and European History
  • Being Black in the UK
  • Being Asian in the UK
  • Speaking more than 1 language at home
  • Roman Catholic Christianity

@ChaoticDeluge

  • Being Scottish
  • Being British
  • Masculinity/toxic masculinity
  • Martial Arts
  • Being bisexual

@EpisodeShadow

  • Islam and Muslims, especially NOI (or Nation of Islam)
  • Modest outfits/clothing
  • Characters with Ezcema
  • Teenagers and School life in the US
  • Being black
  • The American Black Experience

@ELx

  • Mental Health

@SenchaStories

  • Being biracial
  • Being British
  • Alternative culture
  • Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism

@line123462

  • Autism
  • Being Danish

@purplezombieattack

  • Asexuality
  • Being transgender
  • Protestant Christianity
  • Leaving your parents’ religion
  • Mental health
  • Masculinity and toxic masculinity
  • University as a working student
  • Abusive relationships
  • Rural American culture

@Willowbean

  • Being Christian
  • Being black in the US
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fleshing out characters

I’m so sorry that it took me so long to add you all to the list! I’ve given myself so many different projects :stuck_out_tongue:

@xRubiesAndThrillsx

  • Being Asian
  • Being Asian in Australia
  • Being born in one country and immigrating to another at a young age
  • Being queer/questioning sexuality/not being exactly straight
  • Being pansexual
  • Australian History? (although the world rarely seems to care about Australia nowadays lol)
  • Having OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

@jade.cherry

  • Being biracial (especially black/white)
  • Carribbean & Afro-Carribbean culture
  • Living in the US (especially the southwest; Nevada, California, etc.)
  • Bisexuality
  • US school system & transition from high school to college
  • Mental health (or anything related to the medical field)

@TheSunflowerQueen

  • Mexican culture
  • Protestant Christianity
  • Teaching English at a bilingual school in Mexico

@loveyourself

  • Black Muslims
  • Black LGBTQ+ Allies
  • The African Community
  • Mental Health
  • Sunni Muslims
  • Being a Black Muslim in America
  • Writing Poetry as a Black Muslim Woman
  • Learning in Islamic Schools
  • Questions About Sex Crimes

@KanuFlowerTemesgen

  • Being Jewish (or Jewish in Israel) and Judaism
  • Being Ethiopian in Israel (especially the new generation, but also the “old” one {= those who immigrated from Ethiopia}) or/and Israeli.
  • Ethiopia (I speak Amharic as a native language, especially at home)

@AnonymousAuthor1

  • sexual abuse questions
  • being mixed race (african american and latino which ik technincally isn’t a race but still)
  • being dark skinned
  • mental health
  • suicide

@princethecat

  • Being Black (in US)
  • Atheism (in a Christian family)
  • Abuse
  • Bullying
  • Body Shaming
  • Bisexuality (In a homophobic family)
  • Mental health

@Empower

  • Being Hispanic/Latina (Colombian and what Colombians would call a “rola”)
  • Latino school/work environments
  • Being a lesbian in a conservative environment
  • Tattooing/ tattoo culture
  • Leaving Catholicism (parent’s religion) and becoming an Atheist
  • Activism (in forms of feminism, environmental activist, and lgbt+ rights advocacy)

If you’d like to be added to this list, please feel free to drop me a DM or a comment on here and I can see what I can do. Of course, I’m going to focus on people I can vouch for, so I’m sorry if I don’t add you!

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I personally when I write about characters I try to go away from the stereotype version of people. cause people are not just a stereotype.

also, you can add me to the autism list if you want. I not only have it have been to an autism school so I have seen many different version of. i am always happy to talk with people about it

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Always happy to help :kissing_heart:

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:relaxed: Thanks for being a helpful member and willing to educate people on how to make autistic characters.

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Alternative culture! Geez that’s a big ask! Add me to Catholicism!

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Good luck :wink:

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Can you add on for Muslims and Islam “specifically the NOI”? Because that’s where I have more knowledge with. :sweat_smile:

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I added another one to yours too :wink:

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I’m hoping I can get some other people’s backing. It would be lovely to see some more LGBT and Asian people added to the list, but I don’t want to @ them and pressure them into something they don’t actually wanna do

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i think i can hellp

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Awesome! What would you like to help with?

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What do u need

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We could use Christian and Black representation helpers. And if you are apart of the LGBT+ community, offer some if you will.

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Christian yes
Black yes x3
And i can help with some mental health (anxiety/depression) stuff
And maybe fleshing out characters? Or situations

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Great! :smile:

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@Willowbean I’ll 100% add you in a few mins :heart: You’re definitely someone I feel happy vouching for so that’s amazing

@EpisodeShadow I wish you could edit the post too! :stuck_out_tongue:

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:sweat_smile: Yeah but they don’t have the feature too sadly.

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Thanks ^//^

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Hey, this is very interesting! About time someone posted a thread like this.

I do not know if it helps, but people can reach out to me if they want to be enlightened about bisexuality, asexuality, how to respectfully treat past sexual abuse and its many possible effects (this is a recurrent theme in Episode that is terribly depicted), and I guess I could debunk many stereotypes regarding latinos.

An amazing thread, @ShanniiWrites. Please, keep it going! :slightly_smiling_face:

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@EpisodeShadow
I’m working on chapter 4 right now. And I’m thinking is it racist for a Muslim to wear sexy clothing? Please don’t hate me for this comment. I’m young and still learning.