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junipergreen

pareidolia

science fiction, new weird, old weird, very weird - and everything else

not always save for work. never nice.

Currently reading

The Honourable Schoolboy
John le Carré
Progress: 11 %

Kit de Waal: Don't Dip Your Pen in Someone Else's Blood: Writers and "The Other"

While authors have always made things up, adopting a different viewpoint needs particular care and sensitivity to avoid falling into the trap of cultural appropriation.

 

This is a very good, measured article on how authors can write characters with different life-experiences.

I have to admit, the mention of "cultural appropriation" makes me cringe, because it's used out of context more often than not. Therefore it was a real joy to read de Waal's nuanced take. 

Her advice is really rather basic: write people, not stereotypes; do your research; be respectful. But especially in SF, I'm sometimes left with the feeling that authors spend a lot of time researching science and tech, but neglect to research the people they write about. That leads to flat characters who reveal the author's prejudices, but don't work as full-fledged protagonists.

de Waal also offers a neat analogy to explain why members of marginalized groups often are so protective of their culture.