Anonymous asked: do you have any tips for writing poc characters when you, yourself, are white?
The simple, honest answer is that you need to be very careful because you have never been a POC and therefore are in danger of portraying a group of people insensitively, unfairly, disastrously―you get the idea.
This concept is known as “Writing the Other”, and it basically refers to writing about characters whose racial heritage, sexual orientation, religion, etc. differ from your own. It can be intimidating, especially since Writing the Other incorrectly can harm you the writer, your readers, and the people about whom you write.
That being said:
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’ve never died, but I’ve written a death scene. I’ve never waved a magic wand or dueled a dragon or gone to Mars, but I can write about it. Why is that? Imagination and research. (x)
Mostly lots and lots of research. We’re going to give you a great resource in the links below to get you started.“But remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.”
― David Wong
Try to write without pity or condescension or idealism in your heart. This is a sure way to mess up writing any character, but most especially a character based on a real group of people who are culturally different from you.
Instead, write characters with dignity and who are grounded in reality. Write honest characters.
Now for those resources we promised:
- How to Write a POC Character Part I: The Authentic Race
- Writing about PoC’s
- Writing the Other
- Why Writing People of Color Is Hard
Thank you for your question! If you have any concerns or suggestions about this article or writing in general, hit up our ask box!
This is relevant to a question we received recently and is worded much better than anything I could’ve said.