Describing PoC to Avoid Whitewashing from Writing With Color

I have for my first resource on here a blog post from a tumblr blog I stumbled upon recently by the name of Writing with Color. It’s a small community of mods that are dedicated to writing and resources centered on racial & ethnic diversity, as their description suggests. It’s important to have diverity in books and unfortunatly I’ve seen one too many that entirely skip over describing race or appearance for fear of racial backlash. I’m here to tell you that so long as you don’t make your descriptions fetishizing by listing off a grocery list to describe your character or derogatory and hurtful towards others, you can do it; explicity mentioning race is not racist if you do it right. And guess what, Writing with color has posts about this too.

I could go on for hours about how helpful this blog has been to my writing but why not let you guys see for yourselves!

said: Hello there (thank you for having made this blog! it is amazing!) ever since I found out about the issue of racism through roleplaying and the importance to include (more) POC characters in stories, I’ve tried to include this in my story as well. I’m writing a fantasy story set in a world that has over 15 different races (Elves, Dwarfs, etc.), that I’ve tried to link to different cultures around the world (for instance the race Noards, Wareless and Teccups part resemble African and South American cultures, while the Elves are a combination of American and Asian cultures).

My main character is from a country that bares a lot of similarities with the middle east. However, this character is rather pale, how do I make it obvious using other physical features that he looks middle eastern (especially turkish)? I have mentioned his thicker eyebrows and described an other of his kind with the skin tones pdf I found on your page, but I want it clear so people can’t white wash his appearance when reading about him. Thank you soo much in advance, and I apologize before hand if anything I’ve said is offensive! You may call me out on that, I need to learn. :]


For describing and establishing characters as People of Color, combinations of physical traits work well along with subtle and/or more blatant indicators (such as just stating their race).

These posts should be helpful, and many more found in the description tag:

~Mod Colette

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