Discussion On 'Default' Characters and Diversity In Books.



I think @SchuylerThorpe is also highlighting another issue that I think perperuates this problem and falls in line with it.

As much as we’d like to blame the industry, society and culture for the lsck of diversity, us as readers are equally to blame. We honestly can’t control what people write and publish, and we shouldn’t. They’re free and entitled to write whatever they want. HOWEVER, the author is NOT entitled to be read or bought. Which brings me to readers:

You need to make critiques with your comments, and make demands with your dollar.

Us as readers who are troubled by this lack of diversity, by the white default, we tend to mix those two up. We end up demanding with our comments, but buying all the things we hate. We need to talk and share more, otherwise i think we are in some ways just playing at a fad. We make diversity “the flavour of the month” and turn it into a “just a phase”. We say we want diversity because it sounds good but don’t really make the changes we need.

On the flipside, Authors need to start shaking off the demands and take responsiblity for their own writing. Instead of getting upset when someone “demands” they do XYZ with their book, they need stop and realize that no one is making them do anything and shrug it off. If keeping it the way it is means people don’t like it, they need to own that and stop blaiming beople for their personal tastes. If they want writing to be a business, and their lack of diversity is hurting them, they need to evaluate and decide what they’re going to do about it, and if they decide to do nothing, then to admit that’s on them and no one else.


Oh, that is such a good way to frame it that I never thought about!!! That covers things like mental illness portrayals very well.




And as far as readers are concerned, that’s a HUGE issue. There’s a subset of people calling for diversity who are really just regurgitate genuine dialogue and thoughts they pick up on their feeds for the sake of “getting in with the trend”. The trouble is that, to the outside, these tend to be the loudest voices, because people interested in genuine change are investing their resources where it counts. Loudest too because they’re the voices that are easiest to argue against since their words are empty, their “views” misguided/rootless, and their evidence lacking.

Not at all.


Throw the whole barn door open – when it comes to fiction, that default goes from characters to social dynamics to cultural norms to worldview to setting and all the way back to character again.


I’m dyinggggg


Maybe I shouldn’t be replying before finishing the whole thread but pardon me.

Valid point. In my own opinion a lot of it is unconsciously taught to people. I would just add also, I think the biggest reason why stereotypes exist especially for minorities is because they are dealt with in groups rather than seen as individuals. When someone’s individuality is overlooked its easy to loose sight of the uniqueness and humanness of the individuals from said groups. Instead the group is seen as one singular collective consciousness as opposed to a collective of different personalities all capable of nuance. Instead seemingly common behaviour traits are seen as the identity of the entire collective. ie Sterotypes. I think this is why minority identities aren’t yet fully viewed as part of the norm because of that perception.

If you think about it animals are also viewed this way—not saying people believe minorities are animals—but there is a shared similar viewpoint when it comes to individuality. Dogs are studied as a collective, so are Gorillas, so are Tigers. Minorities are polled in group surveys but non minorities are not and when you speak such to a member of the default, the response is “I’m an individual” and the mere idea that they are being grouped is offensive. I think there is a lot to unpack about that.

I think there must be a redefining on a conscious and subconscious level of what we see as the human experience, as many times the default identify is seen the template rather than one of many. This creates a vacuum for the “Default Perception” so when you create identities that steer away from such a template people question that decision without realizing the inner machinery behind that thought.


Well said.


When the master recognizes you: Arigato Senpai. :bowing_man:


Where did you read about the black dragon rider? Gimme! :Sticks out grubby little hands:


Totally the default template right here. It permeates so much of our thought in many different ways. Its the reason why we don’t even belong in our imaginations. Its basically the matrix and you have to take the red pill to really wake up.


Real recognises real. Real also spells ‘recognises’ correctly.


Low blow Hlumelo. American English has tainted us all! I am not the only one. Hmmph.


Oh don’t worry, I’m judging you all. The P in Senpai is for petty.



Unfortunately, I haven’t :confounded: or at least, not that I can remember off the top of my head. It was sadly just an example


Damn you industry Damn you!


lol now you’ve got me wanting to write a dragon rider story :joy: I know it’s be so hard to write one that isn’t super overdone now tho lol


well…I do have something in the making of my own. I’m currently writing in the same universe so I might as well bring out some dragons.



Everything is better with dragons


I include everybody in my books and see no reason not to. Maybe some readers don’t like it because they actually are prejudiced, and others may not like it because they just don’t know ‘those kind’ and are not interested in them.

One of my books is set in the South Pacific and the characters are white, black, Asian, and many mixes of the various islanders. Another I’m working on has gay mafia hoods, a white billionaire’s son who was raised by a recovering drug-addicted ex-homeless black man, streets gangs of every mix imaginable, and the super rich who mingle with the super poor.

In real life everybody from everywhere actually is mixing, involved with each other, working with each other, living with each other, loving each other. The only default in real life is diversity and those who choose not to see it are ignoring reality. There is no reason we cannot write good fleshed-out realistic characters of every type who co-exit and interact in every way with everyone else. That’s what happens every day out here in the real world.