Before I get started I wanna say im so happy to resdiscover this forum. I’m happy to find a place to discuss some of my fav books and this seems like such a welcoming community like I remember it!
One thing I fucking love about this company and the books they produce is how diverse the works are. I love the option to choose to be LGBT or non binary and how the romance options respect that. But one thing that I remember being lacking is skin color options. I’d love to be able to make a character fully like me.
Like here’s how it is.I, like alot of black people live here in America where since birth we’ve been told our skin color is ugly, We’re told our hair isn’t fit for the classroom or the workplace, [And that when people make products they litterally don’t make them with black people in mind] (The Racial Bias Built Into Photography - The New York Times). All that to say it makes sense when I talk to other black folks online I see alot of us feel like we aren’t the “default” American. That shit is pervasive and so hard to unlearn. We have so consistently seen characters portrayed as white by default, that I usually imagine them as white as well unless specified by the author. White is there beauty standard in America too. This shit goes deep man.
That’s one of the reasons I’d like to find a skin color option within future games or a current game with the option. But as a quick caveat on the subject, the white as default shows up in literature alot so I think it’s best to break down what I mean and how it alienates people. To be clear, the ‘default’ means authors don’t describe the skin of the white main and/or side characters, but immediately describe a black person by their skin. That might seem obvious, but I’m talking directly about the author’s choice, not ours as the reader’s. It’s really apparant when there’s like only one black person in the story.
The solution for me would just be to either mention the white person’s skin more immediately too, or to wait a tiny bit to mention the black characters skin (therefore treating them the same as the white characters, as if their skin is ‘default’ too.) It makes a huge difference to me, it’s always appreciated.
As I read books and see this trope, I feel alienated a little but more disappointed in the author, especially if i’m enjoying their work. But I don’t hold it against them too much because it’s so fucking common that if I took a hard line there wouldn’t be lots of books I like left. Like it’s extremely common and we’re used to it. It might be a subconsious decision, but it’s very noticable for me which way they choose to do it, especially as I’ve gotten older. It takes me out of the reading experience, but when trying to enjoy the book that just gets put to the side unless it have the urge to power through.
So in a very round about way this is how I ask if there’s any current black writers making books for choice? Because I’ve noticed with black writers they are a little more cognizant of this phenomenon and avoid it and some of the stories just feel more authentic. I also love supporting black writers too! So if they are there I’d love to know so I can buy their books today!
This choose your own adventure and interactive story medium is so cool I’m hoping it can help me feel a bit more about seen!
Thank you for any help you can provide and I appreciate any discussion!
Edit: yeah… This wasn’t about blushing. Like it’s deeper than that. Here’s some helpful links.