In this episode of Doing Diversity in Writing, we—Bethany and Mariëlle—talk about diversity within diversity and what writers can learn from the concept of intersectionality.
To listen to the episode, find us on Podbean or your favourite podcast app.
What we talked about
- how Kimberlé Crenshaw came to coin the term ‘intersectionality’
- Black Lives Matter as an example of an organization that does diversity within diversity right
- intersectionality as a lens that helps you see how each individual character is made up of different identity markers and how these identity markers intersect within that individual character
- how a character’s set of identity markers might mean different things or lead to different situations depending on context
- the fact that there are no universal characters – everyone is different because we’re all made up of different identity markers
- why we need characters who have multiple diverse identity markers
- diversity as going beyond identity markers such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and so on – it includes literally everything
Quotes from this week’s episode
“Identity markers intersect – hence the term intersectionality – and how they intersect in a given space and time influences how they affect your place in society, the kinds of stereotypes that exist about you, the kinds of expectations people have of you, and so on, depending on the context you find yourself in.”
“When we’re writing inclusively and adding diverse characters to our fiction, it’s really important to look beyond what might seem the single most important identity marker for a character.”
“If you have a white male character and you decide to make them gay, you have to think through how that might affect anything else in their story and the story overall.”
“Good writing always includes characters that make sense when considering where they’re from, what they’ve encountered in their lives, what emotional baggage they acquired along the way, and so on. Adding this intersectional lens through that uncovering of who your character truly is and what they want and need just helps having a firm grasp on these characters.”
(Re)sources mentioned on the show
- Kimberlé Crenshaw: https://www.law.columbia.edu/faculty/kimberle-w-crenshaw
- The statement by Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about
- Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter series: https://shadowhunters.com
- Glee’s Chris Ryan’s decision to create Kurt Hummel and cut another diverse character: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Colfer
- Mariëlle’s undated 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. III: https://mswordsmith.nl/journal
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