Lit Beating a Dead Eopie: The Diversity Thread (various spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Aug 20, 2009.

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  1. Dawud786 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2006
    star 4
    She is gorgeous.

    Related to Revan, I'm envisioning him as the last playthrough that I can recall... where he was an Asian man(the sort of Jet Li looking head) and his name was Sun Tzu. Yes, Sun Tzu. I was appalled by Canderous' lack of imagination in calling Revan Avner in the book.

    As for the Exile... I can't recall what I did with her in my last playthrough. But yeah, bland white woman sucks.
  2. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    Just a quick note to mention that I'm FINALLY.

    DONE.

    READING.

    ASCENSION.

    ...and I've started up on Darth Plagueis. Since it's lacking a DP, I'll save my usual write-up and scoring for afterward. Between Plagueis himself, and Tenebrous being a Muun, we're off to a decent start. I haven't given Luceno a diversity score yet, so with most of the book focusing on Plagueis and Palpatine, it will be interesting to see how all the secondary and tertiary characters shake out. For those of you who've finished it already, what were your impressions? Does he tend to give skin-color descriptions for humans, at least?
  3. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Hey guys, I have recently discover Bob "Moviebob" Chipman. I didn?t know if his stuff on race and the media, especially movie media would be handled in the "Amp theater" as I have never posted on that part. Outside of scifi and fantasy I don?t really do movies all that much.
    I have seen the ?Hangovers? and some Adam Sandler and Marten Lawrence, some action schlock. But that?s about it.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/moviebob/6797-Twilight-of-the-She-Geeks

    article and this video

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/3183-Skin-Deep

    seem to strike a chord.

    My Mom introduced me to tyler perry, Which the Boondocks episode "Pause" can sume up my feelings on.

    Hollywoods lack of understanding, nature aboring a vacume, and yes even the rationalization of colorblind casting.
  4. jSarek VIP

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    Feb 18, 2005
    star 4
    LeVar Burton recently did an interview that touches upon issues of race in popular culture. He mentioned one bit that gets said a lot here, but perhaps people hearing it from a celebrity will help it sink in:
  5. JediFreac Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 4
    I was wondering if this thread would survive the move to the new server. There is so much content in this thread on diversity...from Coop's headcounts to our longwinded discussions about representation...I just hope they're preserved somewhere so we don't have to start over at square one.

    I wish I could bind it into a book and drop it on the doorstep of DelRey.
  6. Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2003
    star 6
    We'll be transferring over all the existing threads, so this one should still be around on the new server.

    In more topical news, from the Book of Sith Endnotes:
  7. JediFreac Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 4
    I don't have the book, but on the Wook it's a black and white pencil sketch. Is the picture of the book in color?

    A recent case example of why authors sometimes have to make it extremely explicit that their characters are people of color: One of the characters in The Hunger Games, Rue, is described as having dark skin throughout the story and coming from a "District" that is essentially a heavy-handed antebellum south metaphor. This tumblr, http://hungergamestweets.tumblr.com/, compiles the dozens and dozens of tweets from fans appalled that a black actor was cast as Rue in the film. Somehow, the fact that Rue was black in the book did not register.

    Sadly, we're so used to assuming that characters are white until otherwise blatantly stated. I wonder how many people automatically Shalla Nelprin or Belindi Kalenda were white. (Old school characters, I know.)
  8. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Oh sure, make the Sith Lord a black guy... [face_whistling]

    But seriously, folks - speaking of Coop's headcounts, I just finished Plagueis.

    This is a really hard one, because not only is there no DP, but the cast is freaking enormous, and while there are a lot of WHMs, not one of them is Luceno's fault - in fact, it seems like he went drastically above and beyond the call of duty to make the original characters aliens, including all 197 crew members of the Woebegone. I'll return to that in a minute, but first, here's my best attempt at boiling down a DP, in no particular order:

    Nute Gunray
    Darth Plagueis
    Darth Sidious
    Pax Teem
    Ars Veruna
    Bon Tapalo
    Larsh Hill
    Dooku
    Rohnar Kim
    Finis Valorum
    Darth Maul
    Darth Tenebrous
    Sate Pestage
    Darth Venamis

    My very loose guidelines were that the character had to appear more than once (Larsh Hill, Venamis), and/or participate in at least one conversation that I could recall reading (Rohnar Kim, Pestage), and/or have a significant impact on the plot (Tenebrous, Gunray).

    Even with all that in mind, the pure math isn't very good - out of 15 characters, 7 are WHMs, meaning a record-low Diversity Score of 53%. That simply will not stand. What I settled on was counting all the alien characters double; each one representing himself as well as one of the myriad alien side characters. That leaves us with a score of 67, which I think is fair in comparison to the other books I've rated. You can't ignore the fact that almost all of the important roles go to white men, but you can't crucify Luceno for it either.

    TOR: Deceived - 66
    Knight Errant - 75
    Darth Plagueis* - 67
    Death Troopers - 60
    FotJ: Vortex - 65
    FotJ: Conviction* - 65
    FotJ: Ascension - 58

    I did want to talk about the Woebegone for a second, though - it's great in the abstract, but as I was reading the crew's introduction, I couldn't help but view the moment as the kind of thing detractors of this thread bring up as a worst-case scenario. Not the inclusion of so many aliens in itself, but Luceno's rote, borderline obsessive-compulsive manner of listing each and every one and precisely what species he or she happened to be - not unlike the way he spent a paragraph in TUF just reciting Jedi names. I don't necessarily mind that if it's in the service of greater diversity, but I can at least see how that could pull some people out of the story. I imagine that their worst fear is a situation where every single human character was introduced in a similar fashion: "Joe was a dark-skinned human male. Sally was an olive-skinned human female with epicanthic folds. Carl was a caf-skinned human male with a large sphere of curly black hair."

    Thoughts?

    Apocalypse is up next, but I won't be picking it up for a couple days, so I'll check back in then.

    Unless someone else wants to rate it? :D
  9. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Well, for the Plagueis book, all the main human characters are only characters already established as being human (Palpatine and other people from Naboo, Valorum, Pestage, Dooku).

    Every major new character, and most secondary characters, are all nonhuman. Plagueis himself is a Muun. And Luceno directly covers how the mentalities of nonhumans differ from each other and humans (ex: how Tenebrous approached things from his Bith point of view, how Plagueis approached things from his Muun point of view, etc.)
  10. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    What's interesting about the Hunger Games example - which we've talked about earlier - is how something that didn't register with some readers, I think, registered and resonated very, very strongly with non-White readers. Katniss' appearance, too...
  11. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    I have no issue with it

    My Sith Warrior in TOR is black so why not?
  12. Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2003
    star 6
    Locking this thread for posterity, so that @CooperTFN can start a reboot. This conversation ain't over...
    Last edited by Rogue_Follower, Sep 3, 2012
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