Anonymous asked: I always wondered.. as a black person, when you read do you picture the characters as usually black too?
I feel like, at least in the books I read, the author will let you know straight up from the beginning if a character isn’t Black, usually by describing their blonde hair, or their green eyes and freckles. Somebody who is Black can fit that description too but more often than not they mean the character is Caucasian.
A lot of time when an author wants the character to be Black they will describe their skin as like, cinnamon, or caramel, or chocolate, or some other non-offensive food.
But let me ask you this; how many characters, after they’ve been made into their movie form, stay as least as dark as they are in the book?
In Divergent, Christina is not only described as having dark skin, but skin that is so dark that Tris could hardly see her bruises after she fought. Yet, in the movie, they cast a bright-skinned actress. Not to mention one of the other character, Uriah, also Black, completely ceased to have a brother, and Uriah’s importance diminished greatly in the movie adaptation. It seems like the only options they go with when it comes to multiple Black characters are either to lessen their darkness or get rid of them completely.
In the Hunger Games, was Katniss really supposed to be Caucasian? She was described as having black hair, olive skin, and gray eyes; couldn’t we find a woman of Color that fits this description a lot better than the naturally blonde Jennifer Lawrence? Thresh has, quote, “the same dark skin as Rue,” yet so many people were outraged that Rue was Black. How could they be outraged? She wasn’t even as dark as he was! It’s like Hollywood was like, “Okay we’ll make her black because we have to, but not TOO black.”
I feel when you describe a character as “dark” in a book, and then cast somebody who has light brown skin, you are ensuring that that is as dark as Hollywood gets. Hollywood, a place with hundreds, thousands of fictional universes, and yet somehow those who have dark skin have very little place there. And that is a problem.
And what about those moments where a character COULD be Black, when they have a CHANCE for diversity, but then they still are cast with a white actor? In Harry Potter, Hermione Granger had bushy hair and brown eyes; how wonderful would it have been if that bushy hair was that of an Afro, and her skin nearly as brown as her eyes?
Don’t even get me started on Lord of the Rings; they shouldn’t even WORRY about Black vs. Asian vs. White vs. Spanish vs. anything at all. The people aren’t “human”, yet you’re telling me they had to cast white characters? That even in Middle freakin’ Earth, diversity is too much to ask for?
To answer your question, when I read, and I come upon a new character, I try to find something to hold on to that will help with the possibility that they may be a minority because they haven’t said otherwise; dimples, dark hair, long eyelashes, things that can apply to most anyone.
But honestly, I’m guilty of assuming they are white until stated otherwise because that’s what I’ve been taught. That’s what I’ve been conditioned to know.
And that needs to stop.