Here are some interesting tidbits from Tumblr. I hope these are informative.
I was wondering what kind of female black characters do people want to see more of? Like, them being soft or selfish?
Black Girls & Women: Representation We Want
As a Black woman reader, I definitely want to see more soft Black girls and women in literature. Girls with their own self-interests (caring about oneself isn’t necessarily selfish) and not always someone else’s caregiver is great too.
Here’s my list!
More Black girls…
- In love
- With close family bonds and healthy relationships and support systems (that don’t require enduring abuse, fixing their partner, or overall emotional labor to earn domestic happiness)
- Being protected
- As main characters, heroines and anti-heroes
- On adventures
- In fantasy and magical settings
- In historical settings as peasants, upper-class society, and royalty
- Descriptions of Black Afro hair, skin, features as a normal thing in books (see this compilation) and not in an Othering way
- On the other hand, vibrant, sometimes hyped up descriptions that allude to their beauty (see this ask. Or this one). Not Othering, just appreciating!
- Put us in fancy dresses and give us a sword and let us dance at the balls and have admirers!
- Experiencing complex emotions not necessarily in reaction to racism or racist violence
- On the book cover! And with an accurate, not light or white-washed model
- Soft black girls and nerd girls who like cute things.
- Shy black girls not just in situations with boys.
- More lgbtqia+ black girls. Studs! Femmes!
- Gender fluid and non conforming constantly changing their style because they like it!
- Spies and not just as the ‘sexy bait’ or ‘weapons master’ let us sit behind the computer for once and be hackers and stuff
- Black girls who are just…people.
- I want a fantasy escapism adventure that isn’t a thinly veiled discussion on slavery or racism or any other aspect of The Struggle. I am tired.
- Can I just have a happy Black girl who believes in fairies or something?
@esmeraldanacho-1776 More autistic Black women/girls! I don’t care what genre really; just have them in there!
@briarsthicket And enby black people!
- Def soft black girls.
- Energetic and playful.
- Or shy and quiet.
- I want to see more black girls who are nerds and not just mommy mommying or nanny nannying everyone.
- I want black girls who want to be a ballerina, or a talk show host, or a game designer etc.
- I want a black girl who gets to be happy.
- Who doesn’t have to act older than she is and be the shoulder for everyone, always.
- I want more black lady nerds, if we’re talking modern settings!
- More black ladies who have a sporty/playful nature!
- Who aren’t afraid to get dirty and make chaos, without being dirty or frowned upon!
- Strange as it sounds coming from me, more black princesses! Brandy as Cinderella in the 90s was my first Cinderella, and I LOVE that.
- Please, god, more black wlws.
- I want to see tropes exercised
- Black women of all shades and tones
- Tbh just fellow black people being happy, like I rarely see that,
- Or enjoying hobbies
- Happily childless black women
- Black women traveling the world
- Fat black women in happy, healthy, poly relationships
- Black cis and trans women having a true sisterhood
- Autistic black women
- Black women in period pieces that aren’t about slavery and don’t take place in the US
- Black women thespians
- Black women painters
- Black women revolutionaries
- Black women front and center in the narrative
- Black women healers and storytellers
- Non christian Black women stories
- Black women rockers
#complicated black women characters #tell those stories
More Black Girls…
- With diverse cultural and social backgrounds!
- That are nerdy, girly, intelligent, ditzy, all the personality types that white girls in literature get!
- That are fragile, shy or anxious. Almost every single black woman I’ve seen in media or otherwise are wise and adult. Let us be an absolute wreck, or an anxious mess!
- In science! Characters like Shuri, Moon Girl and Iron Heart in Marvel revitalized me, cuz young black girls only get two types. Both these girls are in intellectual and in science, but have bery different personalities.
- In interracial relationships, and not because they hate black men or something along those lines. They just happen to be dating outside their race, black women get hate for that in real life and it’s unfair. Let us have relationships outside our race! That said…
- In platonic relationships with black men! I think that’s important, cuz I don’t often seen black solidarity unless it’s for the purpose of showing how diverse the writing is. Let them share interests, daily frustrations that they would only understand, but don’t force a romance.
- In solid friendships with other black girls! For some reason, we’re pitted against in each other inside and outside of writing! Write some sweet wholesome friendship!
- With different sexualities! Let there be some that are ace, others are gay, bi or pan! Just be sure you don’t sexualize them, or turn em into a robot.
- •Who are dark-skinned! This can be seen a lot in tv or movies, but when you want a black girl in your stuff don’t just hire a light-skinned black girl or a biracial black girl. It’s not the same.
- Who get to act their age! Black women have a long standing history of being adultified, starting from a very young age, and it’s extremely harmful. Little black girls can wear what they please, the problem is people sexualizing them. Let the teen black girl be a teenager, she can look out for her siblings but she isn’t the keepern the house or their lives. Young adult black girls are not ideal housewives or capable working machines, they mess up and mess around just as much as any young adult.
- With mental/physical disabilities or illnesses.Alongside with being forced to be more mature than they are, disabilities/illnesses are never taken seriously and we’re forced to just deal with it. Having black girls who happen to have these issues, but also have a healthy support group is always good!
- Seen as beautiful and desirable and NOT in a hypersexualized way
- Interracial relationships are wonderful because black girls are beautiful and lbr everybody sees it
- Sensitive and allowed to feel something other than righteous anger
- Some black girls are skinny! Some are big! Some are slim and some are curvy! There’s no mold!
- Dark skinned!
- A YA protagonist out to save the world from something other than racism
- Superpowers or magic that doesn’t come from generational trauma or slavery
- Black characters who support other black characters. None of this token crabs in a barrel business.
- Black girl nerds and punks and goths exist. I promise.
- And this may be a personal preference but I’m not against the idea of a damsel in distress. We are always being strong. Let her be soft and delicate and cared for. Let her be princess carried and rescued from the tower and the dragon.
[Note from Mod: It’s not just you! I love a Black damsel being saved and protected. What is progressive for one woman varies due to historical and present depictions and is why intersectionality in feminism is so important! -Colette]
As a writer, I write a lot of my black female characters like this because I rarely ever see black women being represented in these ways! ESPECIALLY on the covers of books, unless the author themselves is a black woman and even then its rare.
Too often black women are stereotyped as strong protector types that are always rough, tough, and don’t need anybody in books (and real life), when that’s honestly just dumb and inaccurate–black women are as vulnerable as anyone else (in some cases, even more vulnerable, but that’s another topic).
So yeah, this list is 100% accurate and I encourage those who are interested in writing black female characters (whether you’re a black woman or not) to consider writing them like this, because the stereotype needs to die lol.
Visit: alwaysanoriginal at the link, to continue reading the rest.
We’re all having “hard conversations” about racism, police brutality, and #BlackLivesMatter I hope.
You’ve probably noticed that detractors often use the same “racist talking points” in response. Here’s a researched and sourced guide to help you answer, for the times you may get stuck.
Feel free to save these images and share them!
#Say Her Name
Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones
Sandra Bee Wilson
Tameka Evette Anthony
Emma Mae Horton
Guanda Denise Turner
Andrea Nicole Reedy
Tesha Reena Collins
Clanesha Rayuna Shaqwanda Hickmon
Dijon Senay Jackson
Denise Michelle Washinton
Clara Fay Morris
Gabriella Monique Nevarez
Keoshia L. Hill
Audwyn Fitzgerald Ball
Jameela Yasmeen Arshad
Jameela Cecila Barnette
Martha Regina Donald
Tessa “Teesee” Hardeman
Emily Marie Delafield
Queniya Tykia Shelton
Aubrey Zoe Brown
Michelle “Vash” Payne
Tiffini Kuuipo Tobe
Deshanda “Ta-Ta” Sanchez
Sharon Rebecca McDowell
Ricky Shawatza Hall
Lashonda Ruth Belk
Natasha Renee Osby
Rekha Kalawattie Budhai
Tracy A. Wade
Varez Michelle Cusseaux
Bessie Louise Stovall
Queonna Zophia Edmonds
Wanda Jean Allen
Summer Marie Lane
Halley Simone Lee
Erika Tyrone or Erica Rhena Tyrone
Antonia Martines Lagares
Delicia C. Myers
Dorothy Smith Wright
Chanda White (Pickney)
Deanna Cook Patrick
Vida DeShondrell Byrd
Rosa Flores Lopez
Sarah Ann Riggins
Yazmin Vash Payne
Rikessa La’Shae Lee
MOVE bombing victims
Kristina Grant Infiniti
Taja Gabrielle DeJesus
Brianna Elaine Carmina Ford
Kendrinka T. Williams
Talana Salissa Cain
Amber Nashay Carter
Catawaba Tequila Howard
Tamu Malika Bouldin
Alice Faye DeFlanders Clausell
Uteva Monique Woods Wilson
Marnell Robertson Villarreal
Angela Beatrice Randolph
Denise Nicole Glasco
Linda Joyce Friday
Shari Bethel Cartmell
Fandom is toxic to fans of color, especially Black women
TRIGGER WARNING: Mass shootings.
On another post I’m not going to link to, someone commented that people hate Kylo Ren because he’s a white dude and asked if that would still be the case if he were a woman of color.
This person seemed genuinely curious, so I did my best to briefly put that reaction to his character into a broader social and political context. Namely, that whether deliberately or not, Kylo Ren, as a character, exhibits traits analogous to mass shooters, and people may be responding to that because of the scars that mass shootings have left on the collective American psyche.
I also mentioned how we unfortunately live in a world where white male mass shooters are treated better than Black people murdered by cops and white men with guns, and people who would be targeted by the “typical” mass shooter (entitled, pissed off white males with alt-right/neo-fascist/white nationalist leanings) may find Kylo Ren particularly repulsive.
What the hell did I say that for?
You’d have thought that I said, “If you like Kylo Ren, you’re a horrible piece of shit, and you need to be locked up or executed.”
Which I didn’t, BTW. I have better things to do than shit on people for enjoying a fictional character. Like picking my nose.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve seen it all before.
This sort of thing inevitably crops up whenever fans of color attempt to address the larger social and political context of media and fandom. Almost without fail, someone will respond as if we said, “You’re a terrible person if you like this character, ship, or work of art.”
Unless you’re talking about outright bigoted propaganda like Birth of A Nation or Triumph of the Will, I rarely see fans of color say that. I have seen fans of color be sharply critical of behaviors some fans engage in. I have seen fans of color urge fans to be mindful of how they consume media and how they participate in fandom. I have seen fans of color attempt to add depth and nuance to the way fandom addresses race. I have seen fans of color apply the framework of intersectionality to better understand media and fandom. I have seen fans of color warn each other about fandom environments toxic to people of color.
But straight-up hating on fans who like something they don’t? Not really. I’ve seen fans of color, especially Black women, get labeled as haters and antis because they do the things I mentioned up there. I’ve seen fans of color, especially Black women, get accused of hating fans who like a certain character, ship or piece of media because they examine characters, ships and media from a social and political context different from the fandom norm. I’ve seen fans of color, especially Black women, get labeled as hostile, angry or mean because they didn’t code-switch thoroughly enough.
Most of the time when we catch this kind of flack from fandom, nobody sticks up for us. Nobody assures us that we’re valid. Nobody comforts us. At best, there might be a handful of women of color in the same fandom who see what’s going on and speak up. But the vast majority of the time, we’re on our own.
It’s painful and exhausting.
So where does this leave fans of color, especially Black women? It seems there are only a few choices if we don’t want to constantly deal with all that:
- Remain silent or stick to “safe” topics
- Keep to a small circle of other fans of color
- Leave the fandom
Many fans of color, especially Black women, just fucking leave. If somebody’s always going to get bent out of shape when a fan of color brings a teensy bit of BIPOC realness to the fandom experience, that’s not a place that’s healthy for fans of color to be.
As white people, we can’t begin to eradicate our internalized biases without knowing how to identify them. Let’s educate ourselves. And don’t forget that these are biases you need to call out when you see them in others as well.
Understanding Implicit Bias (article)
Stereotypes of African Americans (wikipedia): do the work to understand the links between old incredibly harmful stereotypes and modern white expectation that Black people be caretakers, for example.
Read about how scientific racism was used to institutionalize racism and justify slavery and white supremacy in the United States by claiming that enslaved people could withstand more pain.
Connect this to Black people today being denied the same medical treatment as whites: Some medical students still think black patients feel less pain than whites (article)
On calling Black people articulate/well-spoken/educated: The Racial Politics of Speaking Well (article)
Consider why perceptions of Black people as dangerous/aggressive make white folks so reactive to Black anger: to perceive civility as incivility and to perceive anger as a violent threat.
Perceptions and stereotypes of Black men being bigger, stronger and scarier can also be fetishizing. Fetishizing people of color isn’t a compliment, so don’t act like it is (article)
Is This How Discrimination Ends? (article)
I encourage anyone to add, with links or by writing out your own thoughts.
As white people, what should be guiding us is compassion: breaking down the way white supremacy has reduced our compassion for Black lives.
Anger Benefits Some Americans Much More Than Others, by Davin Phoenix, author of “The Anger Gap: How Race Shapes Emotion in Politics.” (article)
Racial Profiling and the Loss of Black Boyhood, by Hussain Abdulhaqq (article)