Re: How can I respectfully write diverse/global fantasy as a white guy?


MrBadWithNames Wrote: For example, I'm Polish.
The stereotype is that we're xenophobic drunks.
If you're writing a story set in/about Poland I'd expect you to show that yes, there are crappy people and yes we do drink.
If you go out of your way to insult the people that's one thing, but if you want to show the difficulties you MC encountered with the jaded locals or show them / their family being drunks - go ahead!
That's interesting, as that's not a stereotype I've heard about Polish people. I'm Irish and I thought one was ours.

Goes to show you gotta do your research. 

Re: How can I respectfully write diverse/global fantasy as a white guy?

My feeling is that unless you write magic realism that is set in modern Singapore, Manila or Jakarta or a fantasy retelling of an actual historic event, it is better to do your research, then move yourself away from the real thing and create a vibrant fantasy setting. Fantasy writers too often get caught into the unnecessary copying of the 'real life' or their idea of 'real life' and it often ends as a caricature of a country or a historic period.

Determine what draws you, then create something new, that makes sense and life of its own. If you succeed in that, you will belong in that setting, as it is authentically yours. It will become immersive, not sticking out to a reader from that region as a coat of fantasy paint on the Top 10 of Country X found on Wikipedia . Also... don't use Wiki as the only/primary source of your research. It's by its nature superficial and not suitable for a deep cultural dive.

This actually applies to own culture as well. Most of us have vague, conflicting ideas about our own identity, often manufactured in the last 200 years or so, not a very deep well to plumb.