Writing with Color – Race-Assignment to Non-human Characters

One particular blog that I’ve found to be extremely helpful when writing a diverse novel and you yourself haven’t the slightest notion of how to do such a thing is a Tumblr blog by the name of Writing with Color. They have been very helpful with resources before and are just a wonderful bunch of people to write with. One subject that I know I’ve been guilty of myself is the subject mentioned below, forgetting to include a description for a character and letting it be assumed that the characters are white. I do not believe that writing in the colorblind manner is helpful to the novel at all. Why wouldn’t you want to describe your characters more in depth? I love when authors make the reader see what they see. After all, art is what you make others see.

Anonymous asked:

Hello! In one of your explanations of why “colorblind writing” is a bad idea, you mentioned that when a character is written of in race-neutral terms, many people will have a tendency to automatically picture them as white. What are your thoughts on how that applies to stories where the characters are all aliens or fantasy “races” or something, and their skin colors and such don’t match up to any human ones? I worry that the same tendency might apply.

writingwithcolor‘s Mod Alice answered:

Race-Assignment to Non-human Characters

Could happen. Just take some classic high fantasy or scifi (with aliens) novel and you’ll see (apart from the white=good and black=evil) that most aliens and fantasy races are either animalistic, white or offensive stereotypes/tropes.

I’m not saying there aren’t any exceptions, it’s just that you have to search day and night to find one that does not adhere to this (because I try so hard and fail miserably in finding them)

So yes, that could happen. Just keep in mind that race is more than just skin colour.


The Mod’s also used more resources in their commentary with this question which I highly recommend giving a once over because it is very valuable insight! The commenter wanted a more in-depth answer, so here is the link to their tumblr blog where they originally wrote and posted this resource.

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