Create Diversity Tip Two


I missed all of you, but I needed a week to get my blogs built back up and figure out what I was doing. I’m taking Krisitn Lamb’s blogging class so expect wonderful changes.
Monday Musings and Music.

Create Diversity Tip Two: books and movies.
I have heard many authors say they are afraid to write characters from backgrounds different from their own because they don’t feel they can portray them well. I understand this concern; however, like everything in life you can learn. A great way to do this is to read books and watch movies–not only about other cultures but by people from other cultures.
So there are two types of books and movies that help us learn about different cultures. Some are by people of one culture (I’m going to use white Americans because that’s what I am) going into another culture. These books typically highlight the differences between the two cultures, the things that stand out to a middle class American and might be overlooked by someone from that country because it’s normal for them. However, this perspective can cause issues because the writer might not understand everything that’s going on.
This can take the form of a travelogue such as Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan.

Novels and autobiographies, including Pearl S. Bucks books. Her autobiography is amazing in its detailed account of her life in China as a missionary’s child and the American attitudes when she returns during the Great Depression. She also wrote novels about people living in China and India, and about Americans visiting those countries. If you haven’t read her work, read them now. Even books written in or about the past tell you a lot about a country and its people.
Other examples:
Eat, Pray, Love
Dances with Wolves
The Count of Monte Cristo
Tony Hillerman’s books
Mutant Message from Down Under
I can’t think of any religious or LGBT examples right now. If you have good ones to share, please leave them in the comments.
People writing about themselves in their own culture: this can be a country, religion, lifestyle, or sexual orientation.
Kali’s Odiyya
The Rice Mother
L.A. Banks Vampire Hunter series
Josh Landon’s books

Children’s books can also be a great source of cultural information. They tend to have the details of daily life shown more in depth, especially picture books.
My Very Last First Time
Who Owns the Sun?
A Pair of Red Clogs
The Secret Garden

Movies are similar. We have movies about people from the outside going to new countries:
Thunder Heart
Enlightenment Guaranteed
Tarzan- the Legend of Graystoke
My Name is Khan

Alica Mckenna Johnson, Tarzan, diversity

photo by Hyju

I LOVE foreign films. Every time I watch a movie made in another country I learn something about their lifestyles and values–even the weird sci-fi movies.
Anything written by Russell T. Davies for England, and he wrote Queer as Folk, and Torchwood, giving us a window into the LGBT lifestyle 
Stage Beauty- for a look at the change when woman where allowed to act on stage.
Billy Elliot
Monsoon Wedding
To Sir With Love
Don’t forget kids movies:
Spirited Away
Kirikou and the Sorceress
The Secret of Roan Inish

Books and movies show us glimpses of other people’s lives. Don’t limit yourself to movies about people like you; expand your choices; pick something different about people you’ve never really learned about. In the process I think you’ll learn a lot about yourself.
So I know I’ve missed at least one person’s favorite book or movie, so please tell me what I’ve missed. I’m hoping to get a bunch of new entries for my “to be read” and “to be watched” lists.

Here’s your Monday morning music. I hope it brightens your day. It’s one of my son’s favorites, Alizee Moi Lolita

Also, for those of you wanting to branch out into other cultures, I just got this email for a class that I’m definitely going to take.

The Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of RWA Presents

Latina Heroines
Presented by Dr. Charley Ferrer
WHEN: October 24, 2011 through October 26, 2011
WHAT: Not all Latinas are the same. Mexicans, Puerto Rican, Columbian, Dominicans, Spaniards–we’re all different. Like Brits and Americans. Add to that the cultural bias, religion, sexuality, regional quirks and the individual’s ability to straddle two cultures as she tries to assimilate to the American way of life and still respect the old world traditions of her parents, and you have the hilarious situations just waiting to happen.

WHERE: This workshop will be conducted via a Yahoo! email loop. Email invitations will be sent 48 hours prior to the beginning of the workshop.
HOW: Just register for the workshop and complete the payment process via PayPal. The cost is $5.00 for FFnP members and $7.00 for non-FFnP members. Payment is due at the time of registration.
Refunds /credits are determined on a case by case basis. If a class should be canceled, then participants have a choice of a credit to be applied to a future workshop or a refund.
REGISTRATION: {you might want to do a Tiny URL here, so the link is small enough to be on one line}

WHO: Dr. Charley Ferrer is a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist with over 15 years experience. She produces and hosts a TV Talk Show called PLEASURE on relationships and sexuality. She’s an award-winning author with eight books on sexuality and self-empowerment. Her new books BDSM FOR WRITERS and BDSM THE NAKED TRUTH were released June 17, 2011.
Dr. Charley teaches psychology & human asexuality courses at Rutgers University and lectures throughout the US and Latin America on various topics dealing with sexuality. She’s the sex expert for various TV/Radio shows. She writes for newspapers & magazines, including Fox News Latino, where her first live interview was providing relationship advice to the royal couple. In her spare time, Dr. Charley enjoys traveling and exploring ancient ruins and conducting research. She has created a Yahoo Group for BDSM writers to share their knowledge and learn from each other.
For 2012, she’s hosting a BDSM FOR WRITERS Conference in New York City where authors will not only receive information but gain a little hands-on experience. Plus she’s hosting a BDSM Writers Contest for published and unpublished authors starting September.
Please feel free to visit her site or for general information about sexuality

13 responses »

  1. One of my favorite foreign films is The White Balloon. Set in Tehran, it tells the story of a young girl who wants a goldfish, one of the fancy ones that “looks like it’s dancing.” The thing that struck me most is the fact that this child is wandering through a city with a very large amount of money in her hand, and no one thinks it is unsafe or unusual. No one tries to steal it or harm her. I tried to envision a 7-year-old girl in Chicago with with $50 in her hand trying to buy a goldfish and shuddered. A delightful and winsome story.

  2. SUPERB resource that I will be able to use in the future for learning about other cultures, Alica. Thank you SO much for this. I would never have been able to figure all of that out on my own. And I just signed up for Dr. Ferrer’s class yesterday. it’s online in October. It sounds so interesting and I know I’ll learn a lot from her.

  3. Great list of resources! I’m definitely going outside what I know with my current main character. She’s an oceanographer, and I am so not a science person. But I looked up stuff online and even found a couple blogs by oceanographers so I could learn about their daily work life. It was fun to learn new things, like how there are four distinct disciplines of oceanography, so I could narrow down my character’s backstory even more.

    • Wow- that is really cool. I had to do research for my circus performers, thankfully I know people- I think I’d be more intimidated by having an oceanographer as a character then a person from a different culture. I hate getting facts wrong.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. I just checked out your blog for the first time and I really like the new direction. I love the music you’re sharing. I like Alizee too but especially the Eurovision song was cool 😀 I am a huge fan of the contest.

    Great tips about getting to know other cultures. Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival are great sources for spotting movies from a diverse range of directors from different countries.

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