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Jacob Kellogg @JacobSKellogg

Okay Mastofam, I ran into a racial snag and need help.

So for my next RPG design (the anime-inspired game), I've commissioned a handful of character portraits to show off on Kickstarter later. I wanted to make sure they're not all white.

Thing is, one of the non-white chars is the smart tinkerer, but the prelim sketch came back looking basically like a car mechanic. Wouldn't it be pretty bad to make that character brown?

Advice appreciated, thanks!

My contract allows a few revisions, so I was thinking maybe upgrade the tech level in the costuming so that the overall vibe is less "grungy mechanic" and more "anachronistic tinkerer".

Thoughts?

@JacobSKellogg I think showcasing fine or exotic tools, and a taste for precision and quality in dress and appearance could go a long way?

@JacobSKellogg As a general rule, if you have several PoC in a piece of media, having one of them partly match a stereotype isn't a problem, because the others will show representation beyond the stereotype.. The problem is when either A) the character IS a stereotype OR B) the partly stereotyped character is the only character.

This applies equally to all marginalized groups.

That said, 1) don't make non-white characters generic. Given the a specific ethnical/racial background. ...

@JacobSKellogg ... 2) have them vetted by people FROM that background to the extent possible (Writing with Color has a number of folks who have volunteered to help writers out with stuff like this, they may be willing to help with a video game as well. 3) Do your research.

@jessmahler
Thanks for the insight!

If I may, how is the situation affected by the fact that these aren't "real" chars? That is, this is for a , not a video game, so these are pics of possibilities, ergo I'm not writing personalities and such.

So I won't be making them generic, but also won't be making them NOT generic.

Since this is pre-Kickstarter promo art, it's a small batch of portraits; one other was going to be black (the kensei).

What do you think?

@JacobSKellogg I'm not comfortable answering that or making suggestions. You're dealing with something very far outside my experience as a creative (I'm a writer, so clearly defined characters are central to everything I do) and I am white so can only speak to what I have been told.

My own marginalizations are usually invisible. They just wouldn't come up at all in the kind of video game you are talking about.

Def reach out to any PoC you know who are willing to discuss this kind of thing.