I’m trilingual. I’ve worked my entire life to maintain my heritage passed down by my parents. My dad is from Italy and my mom is from Brazil. At one point, I lived in both countries and spoke both languages flawlessly and confidently. The beauty of the young human mind is its plasticity — the amount of neural pathways that are able to form and reform in our virgin brains is astronomical. We are constantly learning, changing our ways of thinking, absorbing information like sponges. Eventually, though, my family ended up in the United States and English became my primary language and memories of my foreign life slipped from my grasp into my hippocampus for long term memory storage, somewhere deep in there. My rolled r’s, gendered words and conjugated verbs faded, along with any traces of an accent that may have been there.
Luckily, I’ve always been motivated to maintain my language knowledge and ability. My mother made sure to speak Portuguese for the majority of my life, while my father encouraged English. For this reason, conversational Italian became more difficult than conversational Portuguese. Nonetheless, I continued to practice, push my brain to its limits, and expand my consciousness via words of other tongues.
At the root of it all, I am still fascinated by culture. Not just my own, but all cultures. I try my best to keep an open mind when learning about other cultures. The way a set of beliefs, traditions, languages and ideals can bind people together like glue. People cut themselves from the cloth of their culture — the starting material for consciousness. They weave tapestries (both literally and metaphorically) with proud display of their colors, their words, their love. It’s beautiful, really. Almost no other feeling can be felt but love for culture. They are unique, they propel diversity in a world that oftentimes makes it hard to be different. By comparing cultures, we compare perspectives. We are able to see beyond the horizon of selfishness and ethnocentrism. We can integrate our own threads into the tapestry of humanity.
It takes effort to resist the urge to simply conform to your culture. The goal is to integrate your culture to your person, not the other way around. Heritage is inherited, sure, but it is also learned. Our existence allows us to break free from the limits that we try to set ourselves. We try to confine ourselves, to divide ourselves, and live in little boxes with strict labels on our sphere hurdling through space. But the truth is, nobody is any more worthy than anybody else. We are all made of flesh, blood and bones. We are all walking organic matter, an experience so incredible, yet we rarely discuss together. Why shouldn’t we want to learn about and from one another, experience each other wholly? Why should we limit ourselves if our consciousness is limitless?
I try to keep my mind flexible and it takes practice! It doesn’t come as naturally as it did when I was little; a time when my brain was newer, fresher, more moist than it is now. It’s true, we’re not getting any younger. Why waste time trying to fit in somewhere? Why not explore your surroundings, be lenient with yourself, just exist on our plane? It’s okay to not know what you believe or know that you believe in everything. There is too much pressure to remain constant, relieve it by breaking free from consistency. Acceptance is a virtue, almost more difficult than patience because it requires us to challenge ours core selves. It requires mental flexibility, plasticity in the mind that lessens over time.With an open heart and mind, anything can be taught and learned.
Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY
contrary to what popular white ya authors and their stans seem to think, writing good, respectful diversity is not hard. i keep hearing people defend authors like s/jm by saying that she’s white and is just writing what she knows, but the time when that excuse would’ve been accepted is gone. she may be white, cis, and heterosexual, but some of her readers are not, and the world is not. her work should reflect that.
i will reiterate: writing good, respectful diversity is not hard. people only think it is because they misunderstand what we mean when we say we want white authors to include diversity and characters of colour.
we are not asking for white, straight authors to write stories about black characters experiencing fighting against police brutality. we are not asking for white, straight authors to write stories about. we are not asking for white, straight authors to write stories about a gay character withstanding oppression and homophobia and learning to accept themselves and come out. we are not asking for white, straight authors to tell the stories of minorities. that would be edging on disrespectful itself, because those stories and those sufferings are not for them to tell.
we don’t want or need straight white authors telling poc and lgbt stories. we just want straight white authors to have poc and lgbt characters, who are written with respect and without stereotypes. and that’s seriously not hard, even in fantasy. give this female character a girlfriend and this male character a boyfriend. make this character black or coded as black (not just through skin colour but also hair, facial features and structure, culture, etc) and make this character asian or coded as asian. steer away from stereotypes. ensure the characters are well developed and don’t suffer from harmful racial tropes. be respectful.
there is no excuse for straight white authors to be unable to write good diversity into their stories. the internet is at their fingertips; if they choose not to research how to write characters of a certain race respectfully and instead avoid it or make them stereotypical, that’s just wilful laziness, and should not be tolerated.
Leonell Cassio - Night Sky (ft. Julia Mihevc) || No Copyright Music
but we still have literary narratives written by women bashing characters for wearing makeup and being fashionable. Newsflash! Your character isn’t better than any other girl for being natural. All kinds of women wear makeup sporty/gym nuts, nerdy, beautiful, average, ugly, weebs, goth, and even those antisocial ones that never get out the house. Tons of women also don’t wear makeup. Your character is not special and your character is not different. In fact, your character is just like any other female character that has the trait of being “not like other girls.” Stop shaming women period!
ok but like, listen.
we need more black girls in fantasy.
i’ve been writing a book for the past six years, and it’s definitely evolved. it literally went from a boring straight white romance to a lgbtqpoc story, and only now have I realized how fucking hard it is to find concept art or character examples in pop culture around black women in fantasy, and certainly not lgbt+ black women. hell, even trying to make a picrew of the characters can be hard because most of the time there isn’t even the option to make a character of color on there.
i’m just now realizing the privilege i’ve had. i’m half asian, but i’ve still had the luxury of being surrounded by characters that at least look like me somewhat. i can relate to them because i’m also half white. a lot of people don’t have that, and it’s taken me way too long to consider what it must be like.
everyone deserves to have a character they can look at and think, “hey, they remind me of me!” it’s fucking ridiculous how underrepresented people are because of stupid reasons like the media “not being marketable” or “too liberal.” there’s nothing political about seeing yourself in a cool character on screen or in the pages of a book you love.
we need more black girls and other woc in fantasy. period.
I remember reading something about JK Rowling having just that one Asian character with a stereotypical name - Cho Chang - and I told myself that I would not do that.
I have SEVERAL non white characters in my books because we need diversity otherwise the world would get shitter tbh.
My Asian characters in particular are some of my faves. There are 3 in particular I want to talk about.
First off we have Xiangliu. The reason I named her that is because she has the same powers as a gorgon and has Medusa hair therefore I named her that because a Xiangliu is the name of a Chinese mythical snake demon.
Then you have her sister Hestia. Hestia has fire abilities and Hestia I think was the name of a goddess of fire. It fitted.
Their little sister is Carlotta. She’s a slightly minor character and was named after the person that saved their mother’s life.
The last name is Powers because… I liked it.
Well the true diversity is clear.
men should wear skirts!
Have I found you?
Flightless bird, American mouth
This was a request by @technomoondemon
“The reader is nonbinary but their mother doesn’t except them, throws away all of their stuff and then they end up being saved by Marceline”
Warning: Mention Transphobia, homophobia,
Y/N sat in their room, laying on their back and holding their phone in front of their face. They had been texting this girl, their crush. She was a cool punk bassist and she had pretty brown skin and red eyes and shaggy black hair and was so accepting.
‘Hey bb! Are you free this weekend? xx’
‘Uhh I havta ask my mom..I’m kinda on thin ice since I came out..’
Y/N had tried to come out to their mom and it didn’t go well at all. Their mom yelled and screamed and threw away any of the clothes that weren’t feminine. Left them with a closet full of dresses and blouses. It wasn’t a good day. Ever since then, their mom has been distant so.. yeah.
They hoisted themselves off the bed and padded to the bathroom, looking in the mirror at their rich brown skin before splashing water on their face and checking their phone again.
‘I was thinking we can run away. I have my RV and we can perform for money..just think about it.’
Y/N’s eyes widened. Run away? A million questions ran through their head. What if they get caught? What if they run out of money? What if, What if, What if? They sat against their bed and sighed, weighing the pros and cons.
On one hand, If they ran away, they can finally live like how they wanted, be with Marcie, get away from their abusive mother.
But on the other hand, they could get caught and never be able to see each other again..fuck it.
‘Let’s do it.’
They thumped down the stairs and bumped into their mom.
“Girl!” She sucked her teeth, “Watch where you’re going!”
Y/N shrunk, “Sorry Ma, I was wondering if I can hang out with Marcie tomorrow?” They asked, still cringing on the inside at the use of the word girl.
“Do I know Marcie?” She asked, rolling her eyes. Y/N nodded vigorously, “You meet her the other day remember?”
“Go ‘head, she pickin’ you up?”
Y/N rushed upstairs and pulled out their duffel bag, putting their money jar and the clothes that looked the most neutral, they packed their toothbrush and any essentials.
‘I’m all packed, I can’t wait to see you.’
‘I’ve wanted to do this since the day we met.’