Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Esg Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    It seems reddish brown though
  2. JediFreac Force Ghost

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  3. Skaddix Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 3, 2012
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    lol actually none of the standard excuses really apply at all for Star Wars.
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  4. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Feb 2, 2010
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    @JediFreac

    Looked at that tumblr, wasn't expecting much, didn't get much. Some marginally useful advice buried in there, but it's under a whole lot of angry snark and a massive pile of self-righteousness most of which is decidely counter-productive. Look I get that there are very legitimate reasons for anger at times, there really are, and plenty of truly righteous rage ought to be dispensed on people who are actually deliberately being racist. Despite this, shouting at people for acting on the passive in-group biases that they have developed due to their experience and media exposure, especially if they are trying, albiet imperfectly, to adjust to such things, is counter-productive. It just causes boundaries to harden.

    I think this sort of thing is particularly common in the United States, due to geospatial segregation effects. A very large fraction of the major minority populations of the US grow up in areas with extremely high minority populations, often from a wide range of ethnicities, whether this is major urban centers, the southwest borderlands regions, the rural southeast, or even Native American reservations. A very large fraction of the US white population grows up in areas that are almost exclusively white. I'll gamely throw myself out as a an example: I went to a high school with 1600+ students. Four of them were black. Four. East Asians and Indians were 5-10%. There was no significant hispanic presence. Where I live and work now, in a very different part of the US, I have about 100 co-workers. 1 is black (a former Sudanese refugee), 2 are Hispanic, and they are out of region and present for their language skills. I have no Asian co-workers, everyone else is white.

    This is a common white american experience. If I wrote a true to life novel about my work it would be lily white as all get out and it would be accurate as such. Is it so surprising then that mostly white authors, living experiences that are probably even whiter than mine of the course of their formative years, since America has grown more diverse decade by decade for a century or more, write in this fashion?

    Look this is a problem, a big one, and it's tied to issues of poverty, linguistics, and a whole host of other factors, mostly white authors feeling more comfrotable or naturally reaching for a world that doesn't reflect the world the minority audience expects is a symptom of this. I don't see treating the symptom as the solution.
  5. Skaddix Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 3, 2012
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    Well sure we should treat the problem but that is going to take a whole lot longer (generations) besides one should not underestimate the impact of media in perpetuating the status quo.
  6. AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature

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    Huh. Not every day I wake up and see a post advocating the destruction of a NATO ally. Well, guess I better brew some coffee. [face_coffee]

    --Adm. Nick
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  7. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
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    I'm sure there is more, but there is the series with this guy in it as an example of Star Wars EU with an alien as the lead character:

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nuru_Kungurama

    Off the top of my head perhaps the only other thing I can think of is the Ewoks Cartoon which had zero human characters iirc.

    Ahsoka is also clearly the lead at times in TCW, so there is another one. Maybe one shots or short series from Dark Horse that I'm unfamiliar with?

    Any more examples come to mind?
    Last edited by Robimus, Nov 11, 2012
  8. Esg Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    Dark Times Parallels
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  9. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Nen Yim is an alien lead character holding down her own plotline in the Edge of Victory books. Etahn A'baht was also the lead character for his portion of the Black Fleet Crisis. We also have Jedi: Aayla Secura and a handful of Republic comics with Aayla as the lead character, plus the earlier Republic comics with Ki-Adi-Mundi as the lead. There are also several of the little Clone Wars digest comics with various alien Jedi as leads. It's not much, though.
  10. Valin__Kenobi Author: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Praji

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    ^ And sadly those were pretty much all abandoned after their initial authors/series. Ki-Adi's moment in the sun ended just as he and A'Sharad were hitting real momentum. Aayla is of course the big exception who made the leap to the screen, but even she doesn't get wide use outside of Ostrander's stuff.
  11. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Feb 2, 2010
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    Alema Rar was also used as a viewpoint character, even if she was both an antagonist and more than a little insane by that point.

    Near-Humans have a stronger record than other humanoids, Asajj Ventress being one (somewhat convoluted) notable example, along with Thrawn, and Aurra Sing.

    In general, taking just the novels, ensemble casts are far more likely to have strong alien perspectives: the various works of Michael Reeves and Steve Perry (Death Star, Medstar, Coruscant Nights, etc.) include a number of alien perspectives as part of a larger grouping. This is not surprising, when there is only one major viewpoint the impulse is too maximize familliarity, a writer who is a white male (ie. the majority of Star Wars authors) is probably going to attach heavily to a specific white male character, whether it's one they themselves have created (Stackpole - Corran Horn, KJA - Kyp Durron) or borrowed (Allaston - Wedge Antillies). In the EU protagonist creep has amplified this considerably, working in tandem with Skywalker/Solo nepotism forces.
  12. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    Jun 29, 2003
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    We're out of the 90s bro.
  13. Jeff_Ferguson Force Ghost

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    Anything with Chewbacca as the lead, including A Forest Apart, Chewbacca and the Slavers of the Shadowlands, and about one fourth of Tyrant's Test. Starfighter: Crossbones has almost no Humans at all, and George R. Binks is a fun one with zero Humans. Nom Anor and the heretics hold down a third of the Force Heretic trilogy. Cade is also half-Yuuzhan Vong and is the star of Legacy.
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  14. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
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    I'm thinking more of straight leads than anything else. Before the Storm still comes back to Luke for instance.

    And Cade isn't half Vong, not sure where you got that one. Thinking of Invasion maybe?
  15. Darth_Duck Force Ghost

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    Oct 13, 2000
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    Cade is half-Vong? Since when?
  16. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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  17. Likewater Force Ghost

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    I thought the 90's rocked?



    [IMG]
  18. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Yeah thats a great example. I forgot about that one.
  19. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    I'd accept it if they were writing a coming of age novel or something pertaining to the experiences in which they grew up. But these authors are writing in a science fiction setting; something which requires creativity and thinking outside the box. The Star Wars universe is full of aliens and all sorts of different species, so it strikes me as very strange that an author would not challenge his or herself to write from a different perspective.

    And really there's hardly some huge difference between whites and minorities, especially in the Star Wars galaxy of all things.
    Last edited by Point Given, Nov 12, 2012
  20. Skaddix Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 3, 2012
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    Oh yeah in the star wars galaxy there is no difference amongst Humans. Heck there is not even Human on Human Racism.
  21. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Trying very hard not to wade into the insanity of the Episode VII forum, but there just so happens to be a new thread entitled "Should there be gay characters in the ST?" should anyone feel inclined to participate.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Nov 12, 2012
  22. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Apr 4, 2011
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    Yet, you sometimes see Bith-on-Near-Bith and Duros-on-Near-Duros racism. Racism in some fashion was present within Rodian society, though it was based on clans. I was asked once if there was any Breather vs Lungless racisim amongst Gands, but I haven't seen any sources indicating such.

    I'd need a full environment suit if I were to venture into that cesspool.
    Last edited by TrakNar, Nov 12, 2012
  23. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 11, 2012
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    Arkanian-on-Arkanian offshoot racism.
    Arkanian offshoots were basically servants, bred for tasks.
  24. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Apr 4, 2011
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    I had forgotten about the Arkanians, as I tend to lump them into the Human-faced Aliens category, which I lump into the Near-Human category.
  25. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 11, 2012
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    They are basically very white humans, who are extra smart.
    Just as Chiss are blue humans.

    OMG THE BLUE MAN GROUP SHOULD BE A CHISS ORGANIZATION!
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