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Thoughts on Monochrome Casting:

 26 feotakahari, Fri, 6th Jan '12 10:08:32 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Now, this is the kind of approach that always feels forced to me - sitting down and enumerating.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being forced in the writing, so long as it's not forced in the reading. Forcing myself to change things is one of the ways I avoid my natural tendency towards cliche.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Shadowed Philosopher
I don't really think about the race or skin color of my characters, except as it relates to character-relevant information, since I don't think of race as an important contributor to character as written, the way gender is. (A person's past experiences, as possibly influenced by their race, may well influence their character, but I don't think race per se does.) The one work takes place in a far-future After the End Europe, and I haven't thought through the race mix yet (the bigger problem there is Fantastic Racism of the do-you-have-powers variety). The other is in essentially contemporary US; most likely some of the characters there are non-white, but I don't know which ones.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 28 nrjxll, Fri, 6th Jan '12 10:29:01 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I don't think either race or gender is inherently an important contributor to character, as it depends both on the setting and the individual character.

Indecisive Goldfish
I tried to keep things diverse in my Magical Los Angeles setting. Though I've noticed when writing fantasy, immigration is rarely common while white isn't always the default, they are a bit monochrome. Whites and Asians are most common. Middle Eastern people pop up a bit too. For some reason I can't put my finger on, I almost never have characters that are black.

>_> I also fuss over getting enough women in since I know I tend to do mostly male casts because I have an incredible aversion to drawing breasts (so most women who do show up are flatchested tomboys... or just flatchested...)
 30 fanty, Sat, 7th Jan '12 7:57:25 AM from ANGRYTOWN
Woefully Ineloquent
When racial diversity is included, it isn't "just for the heck of it" or "just because." The few creators that do have diverse casts do it because, despite what the media says, the world is a pretty diverse place, racially, culturally, nationally, ethnically, religiously, fiancially, etc. etc. etc.

Now, Fanty, I know you said that you come from a homogenous country, so I can't speak to your experiences. But from my experiences—being a minority military brat who currently lives outside of a big city (New York)—casting a story where everyone is the same or similiar would be wrong.
If, say, I decided to write a story set in New York, then I would definitely end up having a diverse cast. Not because I'd want to make a point about it being a diverse place, but simply because I'd want to use the setting to its full potential. (I mean, what's the point of writing a story set in New York when your cast looks like the story is set in a quaint 20's English village?)

Then again, I don't think in terms of race. In my head, a cast that features a Belgian, a Russian and a Scott, is just as diverse as a cast that features a Malaysian, an Indian and a Kenyan. Same for a cast that features a Kenyan, a South African, and a Ghanaian. Screw skin hue, ethnicity is where it's at.

edited 7th Jan '12 7:58:35 AM by fanty

Individual liberation is an illusion.
 31 Night, Sat, 7th Jan '12 8:48:21 AM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
The two major ethnicities of my main work's world are not physically distinguishable. The cast is hardly monochrome (the main character is Arabic, Saudi, and at least one other is Han Chinese, as well as several Japanese inherited from canon). But I still find it an amusing and interesting commentary that the two largest ethnic groups I deal with cannot be distinguished unless named.
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Period pieces...

Less than you might think. People have a bad habit of overestimating how monochrome, say, medieval Europe was.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 33 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:10:18 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
To be fair, it's pretty easy to make that assumption when there are very few pieces that prove otherwise. The power of media, everyone.
 34 JHM, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:16:45 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
Mediaeval Europe was a very strange place. While the native population was what we might call now "white, " how they looked at race was a completely different matter. Also, Eastern European slaves, visiting Moorish nobles, Levantine pirates, et cetera.
 35 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:17:43 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
And suddenly, european history looks a lot more interesting.
 36 JHM, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:18:40 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
European History was my favourite high-school subject for a very important reason.
 37 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:20:14 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Although it's a pity, because Europeans tend to be genericized. They're "white" without much diversity. Brargle.
 38 JHM, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:23:26 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
Well, now they are, but that really seems to have started in earnest at the turn of the 18th century with the rise of the African slave trade. Before then, racism was more... even, I guess? Considering the origin of the word "enthralled"...
 39 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:24:37 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
oh, I get that, it's just that it kind of goes back to the default. If you're white, it doesn't matter whether your family is from the Czech Republic or Lithuania or Canada. I tend to like culture in stories. They're fun.

edited 7th Jan '12 9:24:52 AM by MrAHR

 40 JHM, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:28:42 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
Oh, Lithuania. I love Lithuania. It's so weird when you realise that so many of the tiny, ostensibly insignificant countries of today used to basically be kick-ass superpowers.
 41 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:29:34 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I know nothing about Lithuania.
 42 JHM, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:34:06 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
 43 chihuahua 0, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:37:50 AM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I keep forgetting how I love history. I should write a historical fiction one day—when I bother doing the research.

 44 Major Tom, Sat, 7th Jan '12 9:50:03 AM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
@Topic:

I generally don't do it unless it doesn't matter like a monoethnic group or whatever. (I won't do tokens for the sake of tokening.)

But on the flipside I do throw some diverse cast members fairly frequently. For instance in Endless Conflict I have two black guys in the same special forces outfit, two Russians, one guy of Japanese descent, one Israeli, and I've thrown around a number of Hispanics in other outfits as well as Chinese-born Admiral Mei Lin.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
 45 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 10:00:07 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I am much more of an oral visual learner. ;.; But I guess I'll certainly try a euro history class one day.
Responsible adult
I'm one of those people who rarely mentions the ethnicity of characters, and even when I do, they tend a bit towards Ambiguously Brown. In my head, they can be all number of things, but I often leave my readers to fill in the blanks. This is, unless their ethnicity is relevant to their plot somehow, but I think that's something I've only done twice. I have one character, Apollo, who is explicitly Asian because his family has a host of interesting problems related to Youkai myths. The second, Cosmo, is black, and while it's not his defining trait (which is that he falls firmly on the super-good side of the Morally Ambiguous Doctorate), it did help faciliate a bit of Mixed Marriage-related drama in his backstory.

I think the only character with an explicitly defined ethnicity which is not plot-relevant is Cantella, who is outright stated to be Brazilian.* Oddly enough, these characters are also all from the same series.

I think it's 'cuz I try to adhere to the whole "write characters not stereotypes" thing. A large majority of my characters could probably be safely Race Lifted in any visual representation, though I have a noted obsession with red hair that might make that a bit difficult.

edited 7th Jan '12 10:26:01 AM by FreezairForALimitedTime

"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 47 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 10:26:21 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
obviously no one wants to write stereotypes, but sometimes I feel like people say "don't write stereotypes" as in "only write normal people" which is turned into "only write white people"

Obviously not for everyone, but it sometimes feels that way.
Responsible adult
There's a big difference between writing a junkie struggling to overcome addiction in a poor area of town who just happens to be black, and writing a junkie struggling with addiction who feels like a figure from a gansta rap song dialed up to 11 who also happens to speak in a very ignorant white person's interpretation of urban African-American slang.

Similarly, compare a person who works at a bank who happens to be Jewish to the Jewish moneylender stereotype.

edited 7th Jan '12 10:48:51 AM by FreezairForALimitedTime

"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 49 Mr AHR, Sat, 7th Jan '12 10:32:13 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I am quite aware, thank you very much. I am more referring to the fact that people assume that if you try and diversify, it's tokenism/stereotyping.

edited 7th Jan '12 10:32:46 AM by MrAHR

 50 JHM, Sat, 7th Jan '12 10:46:47 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up][up] Or happens to be a Jewish moneylender, as the case might be. A character is how you play them in the story.
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