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Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

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

  1. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2004
    The evil Neti in Red Harvest alone blows the Diversity scale. ;)
     
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  2. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Understandable, and it's all well and good to call out companies on this sort of thing, just don't expect that calling anyone out is going to cause corporations to change. Such information needs to influence the fans first, and cause them to exercise their purchase power accordingly, or even raise the mass perception that they will do so (which is what is happening in the NFL vis a vis head trauma right now). It's all worth doing, I just get weary of watching people (including myself, I regulate business for a living, I'm very well acquainted with the amoral exploitation of loopholes) expend moral outrage on entities that are effectively impervious to it.

    My focus is on finding things that can be changed without requiring changing the world at the same time, as I'm very much an incrementalist. There are pro-diversity moves that can be taken that are completely economically neutral or at least potentially economically positive (through pursuit of greater market share in uncommon demographics, allowing new storytelling through alternate cultures/species, or just making things look visually more detailed, etc.). There are also maneuvers we can advocate for where there is a legitimate regulatory authority that Lucasfilm/Disney is bound to respond to - the numbers I posted about the EU's almost entirely white authorship history could legitimately be construed as open to an equal oppurtunity challenge - it absolutely cannot be that hard to find talented minority authors who want to write for Star Wars.
     
  3. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2006
    I'm fairly incrementalist myself, I imagine our differences lie in the size of the increments, or which ones we think should be prioritised more than the concept itself.

    But I don't think outrage (or passion or discussion or whatever we want to call it) is wasted even if it won't affect imminent change, because it's part of a different incremental process - which you also identify - the need to reach the fans. Which is more likely to happen if people are even peripherally aware that this is an issue that actually gets discussed.

    So I understand your practical approach - your point about the equal opportunity challenge regarding the authorship history of the EU is fascinating - and I support it. But I think that there's social value in...raging against the machine. ;)
     
  4. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2003
    "Incremental" is a very vague term.

    Just saying.
     
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  5. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2011
    That Neti gave me a whole new respect for the species. Before that, they were boobie trees.

    And speaking of human and species diversity... A thought crossed my mind while I was taking a shower (the bathroom: Where all that we are is laid bare and the ideas flow like water)...

    Has this image yet been discussed? I'm too lazy to read through fifty pages, so I'll just repost and ask.

    [​IMG]

    Lots of diversity there... Yet, there is still segregation. The humans, while diverse in appearance and gender, are separated in their own little group with the clone trooper figures. They are unorganized and chaotic, preoccupied with little, trivial things, throwing toys, and not working as a team. The non-humans are diverse in race, in their own group with their battle droids, ready to square off against the other kids. They are organized and methodical, focused on lining everything up perfectly, and working as a team. Despite their differences in species, they work together. The humans, with their similarities in appearances, are either doing their own thing, cooperating with one or two others, or are instigating fights with the other side.

    Hm...
     
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  6. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2003
    The separatism was intentional in that particular comic.;)
     
  7. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2011
    I must have missed that comic. Though, the discussion of it, removed from the context, is still apt.
     
  8. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Isent that pic from the Wizards Heros Guide? :confused:
     
  9. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2011
    It is, and Barriss, you confused me! :(
     
  10. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Well, speciesism is alive and well in-universe, and the Clone Wars was largely a conflict between the human-dominated Core Worlds and the alien-dominated Mid and Outer Rims. That children, or their minders, would be socialized to identify in such a way is not surprising. In fact COMPNOR almost certainly pushed that approach on educators, since it dovetails with the goals of Human High Culture.
     
  11. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 28, 2000
    You mean it reflects the natural order. I'm sure it happened completely spontaneously and without any input from their educators.

    I mean, the notions of human and alien children getting along just because they're innocent and don't have the seeds of discrimination planted in their hearts by the darker parts of human society... sounds like fanfic to me!
     
  12. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Actually, it's the Galactic Campaign Guide. But it's a point relevant to the Clone Wars section. When the book was published, it was assumed (OU) that the Separatists were mostly composed of aliens.
     
  13. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2011
    It's a sad state of affairs, then.

    Also, I noticed a lack of insectoids. Insectoids are people, too. :(
     
  14. JediFreac

    JediFreac Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 7, 2002
    I'm running into this conversation a bit late (and ditto to everything becca said) , just to say that I find it really striking that when we get a Jaden Korr or a Finn Galfidian or a Zayne Carrick or a BoringMcBoringson white male human lead, fans are far less likely to say: "Looks like they made this character male for the sake of having a male lead." "They made the character white because they were pandering." etc.

    But making the character a white human male happens so often, if anything it's proof of pandering or sole-purpose-character-designing! We even have instances where editor/honchos have said "make that character white" (Galfridians) and "make that character male" (Dooku.)

    Women overall buy more books than men in general. In SF/Fantasy specifically, they buy equal amounts of books as men do. Since the numbers are 50/50, you'd think the ratio of male to female characters, including point-of-view characters, would be 50/50 in Star Wars books. They are not. If DelRey wanted to say, reach out to the demographic more likely to purchase their stuff and be present in that bookstore and browsing the shelves, you'd think they'd have more covers like Choices of One or this new Legacy cover standing out. I think they're missing out. Transitioning from a publishing imprint that caters mostly to men to one that caters to both genders might take some growing pains (write a really good novel with a female protagonist and sales WOULD probably drop temporarily until women realize that Star Wars has woken up and the men in the fandom adjust to the shift.) But I think it would yield stronger results in the long run.

    FYI... Denzel Washington and Halle Berry have both said on the record that their prospects are pretty dire because of racism in the industry. And we're talking about Oscar winning actors here. So at least, for actors of color, it isn't a reality and that makes it a lot harder to get films based on characters like Black Panther made. (Especially when there are openly racist executives at the top of Marvel like Ike Perlmutter...)

    But if Nicholas Cage wants to be Ghostrider, that's cool.


    Essentially, yes. Financially motivated discrimination is still discrimination. It's more than just classic characters, though--every time you adapt something you have an opportunity to add diversity, too. But we don't see say, Jimmy Woo, we see Agent Coulson. The next few Star Wars movies will likely feature the Solo-Skywalkers again...but will we see more than just them and how diverse will the new characters be?



    CONGRATULATIONS YOU WIN AT TELLING LADY FANS THAT THEY ARE WRONG AND EDUMACATING THEM YOU SURE LEARNED HER A LESSON. Most fans who are referencing that Nick Fury's design is based off of Jackson are also aware that it's from Ultimates, and also aware that originally Nick Fury was white and that Iron Man's outfit used to look like pajamas and Hulk used to wear bright purple boxer shorts so count your non-Hasselhoff Nick Fury blessings.


    Just trying to say that so often in fandom people assume that women fans don't know things and roll in with a response like his one. I've seen it happen so often and it is so heartbreaking and upsetting to see. (Especially stuff like random mention of the rape scene that is completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand.)

    Sometimes I wonder if this stuff is just a microcosm of the bigger picture we are arguing against. Because the people creating the product don't believe that women/people of color are consuming it...do their readers start believing it, too?



    Is it bad if both Red Harvest and Riptide are so unmemorable I had a hard time telling them apart for Coop?
     
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  15. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Eh, there's a Whiphid, a Neti in about two scenes, a Zabrak who's in it for five minutes, a human woman, and then like fifteen human guys. There's a whole Sith Academy, and the only alien among the dozenish dramatis personae students is the Zabrak. It's bland even by the standard of other work, and that's without a single established character in it, much less a Skywalker-Solo.
     
  16. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Quick off-topic question (but at least it's about Star Wars and not Nick Fury): "Whip-id" or "Whiff-id"?
     
  17. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Actually it's Vhiff-id. The entire species has a German accent.


    You'll never think of K'Krukh the same way again.
     
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  18. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2011
    I say "Whiffid," but now I'll start saying "Vhiffid." You have thus corrupted every article reading of mine that involve Whiphids. :p
     
  19. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2003
    You replaced all mention of "Whiphids" with "Whiphids, potential Hat-bearing entities?"
     
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  20. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 8, 2004
    You have one weird concept of boobie trees :p

    [​IMG]
     
  21. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
  22. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Soliloquist of SWTV star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Havac there's also a Nelvaanian, which is mostly what I meant when I said rarely seen. Granted, he appears for about a scene before being decapitated, but still.
     
  23. Lugija

    Lugija Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2009
    I don't know if this has been said before, but there's a movie coming out next week. I believe it was named Hobbit or something. And what's its diversity score?
    100%. The first humans join the story in chapter 10 in the book, and the movie doesn't go that far. That makes the main characters a hobbit, 12 dwarves and a token Gand...
    [​IMG]
    ...I mean a token Gandalf, who is not a human in the movie (in the book it's not clear, since wizards as maiar came with LotR, but the movie is in LotR world). Other named characters are hobbits, dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls, talking purses (sadly, no) or maiar.

    So the story with almost all non-human cast has been done, and it was quite a success.
     
  24. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Eh, they're all white dudes.

    Gandalf particularly emphasises the trope that God's an old white guy with a beard.
     
  25. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    What becc said. Don't even get me started on Middle Earth. :rolleyes:
     
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