Bridging the Gap of Race, Gender, & Culture in Children's & Young Adult Literature – AWP 2012

Panelists –
India Drummond – “Ordinary Angels”

How do you represent a culture without venturing into stereotypes? Like, I’m writing a character whose Asian, look at all these Asian things!

I think it’s always about having as multi-layered character as possible. If you make unique characters you don’t have to worry about it. Never run from multi-racial characters, even if they are stereotypical they’re part of the conversation!

An attendee says it’s hard to find the center when writing culture because she worries with her own racial identity, is she Asian enough? Is she American enough?

A teacher in the audience remarks that there’s a difference between stereotypes and generalization. Generalization is to make things simple. Stereotypes are about oppressing.

“The problem with stereotypes isn’t that they’re wrong. It’s that they’re only one thing.”

“What we have to realize is that more and more we’re going to be looking at how cultures rub against each other.”

You have to be aware that even positive portrayals can be stereotypical

Read books by people of color!

Tell the truth from your heart and not “is this politically correct or not?”

YA has a way of cutting through all the crap and telling the truth. It can do this in a way that even non-fiction struggles with sometimes.

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