In case you didn’t know, it was officially posted on the PHB yesterday: I am no longer an author for the PHB. I’ll keep posting my super long rambling bits of text that could be called “blogging”, I suppose, right over here!
Today was the beginning of the fun thing us old high schoolers get to do: finals! Suffice to say math can be confusing at times, and I managed to get a good score on my English presentation. (It was about how emojis and abbreviations aren’t totally destroying the language, hah. I think I convinced most people in the audience!) As a first for me, I only have four finals – a program I’m in has more project-based grades rather than tests, so we don’t have finals. Heck, the presentation I did for English wasn’t even really a final, it was just a presentation we did at the end of the year. I certainly don’t mind having less pressure before the holidays. Also, thanks to my schedule this year, I don’t have to go to school until after 12. Maybe I’ll pop back onto the PHC or play some Poptropica, we’ll see.
Anyways, before I gave my presentation (I was last, not my choice), there were certainly some… interesting ones before me that I felt I couldn’t go without mentioning. First of all was a kid whose document was titled “Convince these [derogatory female term]”, used the term “whack” multiple times throughout the presentation, and spoke at the speed of fast for a solid minute without even realizing it or trying to fix it. We then had a 30 second and a 10 minute presentation back-to-back. They were supposed to be between 2 and 3 minutes. We then had a guy who was forgettable, a guy whose document was titled “outline thing”, and then during my presentation I discovered that somehow some classmates of mine didn’t know about Gone With The Wind, or that really famous scene from it with the swear.
At any rate, before my presentation when I was definitely totally paying complete attention to the other presentations, I started to wonder about professionalism. You see, back when I was in fifth grade (I think), I had to give a report on a state. And for my presentation on Nevada, I decided to go with a persona of a skiier coming off of the slopes and telling some Nevada n00b all about the history of the state in some sort of café that served hot chocolate. I got a perfect grade, but was docked off 5 points for not being professional. Everyone I heard from said mine was the most entertaining and memorable, however. Which makes me wonder… what’s the deal with having to use professional language all the time? Why can’t you just present like you’re talking to friends? I know I’d probably be a whole lot more stressed for presentations. if I had to put on this false air of professionalism, heh.
I watch this YouTuber with some mature/explicit content named GradeAUnderA (kids look him up with extreme caution) who made some excellent points on using “academic” language – if you use such superfluous words that make you bloviate, it makes less of the audience able to understand you. Heck, my computer’s dictionary doesn’t even know what those two words I used are! As he points out, if you’re trying to educate people on your findings or whatever, shouldn’t you be using words that make sense to the most amount of people, rather than words that just make you sound like you have a big vocabulary? I also don’t see why we can’t put jokes and the like in presentations – it helps keep people engaged and not dozing off, like I might have done a little during the 10 minute presentation, heh. It’s not that her topic wasn’t interesting, it was that hearing about one thing for so long with no breaks can get a little droll!
Of course, I’m not saying one shouldn’t talk in a different matter than day-to-day conversation when giving a speech – there are simply some words that one should probably never use in a speech, like “bae” or “twerk”. Of course, one could argue that one should never use emojis in a presentation, but that was something I did today, so maybe I don’t actually know anything. Hmm. At any rate, probably don’t swear in front of your teachers.
What was the last thing I was supposed to talk about in this post, based on the title I put up there before I actually wrote it? Oh yeah, diversity. Recently I heard an argument that giving a character technicolor skin, like teal or pink or say, bright orange, is including POC (people of color) and racial diversity. Let me test something real quick with y’all. Here’s some drawings I completed recently. Take a look at this character. And this one. And this one too, for good measure.
You done looking? Great! I’m just curious now: what race do you think they are? Didn’t give them any coloring at all. Be honest, tell me telepathically. Trust me, I’m a telepath.
Okay, in order, those characters are a black/white mix, a mixed-race Latina, and a Japanese. Let me guess: you assumed they were white, right? See, the thing is, there’s been so many white people in popular culture, it’s very easy to assume that any non-defined character is just going to be white, as if it’s the default race. Kind of like people assume male is the default gender. (Funny thing is, neither is true biologically, heh.) So if you make a character a nice vibrant color, people are going to assume it’s just another white character with a really bad spray tan, or whatever. As TV Tropes nicely put it in their page:
Giving your characters unrealistic skin tones sounds like a great way to avoid Race Tropes and Unfortunate Implications, doesn’t it? Well, sometimes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like this. If a character is meant to be of a specific ethnicity, they will most likely have the “correct” skin tone for their ethnicity, regardless of anything else. It seems as if only “white people” (i.e., people with the Caucasoid features of straight hair, round eyes, thin noses, thin lips, and so forth irrespective of actual skin color) get Amazing Technicolor Skin — everyone else is left out. Still, it’s a nice thought. Isn’t it?
Basically, unless all of your humans have technicolor skin, don’t bother. Or if you do, at least don’t claim it’s adding racial diversity. It just makes you sound super racist. Like you’d rather have purple people than actual people of color in your work.
The thing is, I sort of suffer from this too. I’m not immune! Many of my characters I thought of as white when I first made them. Then I looked back and thought “wait, why?” There was no reason they had to be white. So I didn’t make them white anymore. BAM, done. It’s not hard. And if my work ever becomes popular in some way, now some kid can look at someone who’s like them in fiction, and that’s pretty cool. Basically, “diversity for diversity’s sake is bad storytelling” makes absolutely no sense. There’s no reason why I can’t have my characters be races other than white! It’s not like their entire character hinges on the fact that they’re Caucasian. It’s funny, so many POC seem to have their characters hinge entirely on the fact that they’re POC. … Huh, that’s probably kind of a problem. But in my mind, it’s just another facet of their personality, like the fact that they have this eye color or this hairstyle or like this food.
I think that’s all I’ve got for today. Sorry that this post had literally nothing to do with any fandoms or whatever, I guess I’m still not sure what’s going to go on this blog.
P.S. Check out all of the characters I drew over here! I spent at least a week on this and I want you to appreciate it. Only four of them are Caucasian, and only two are straight. No reason why not, right? 😉