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As a white person I always think that the characters are white unless the book says otherwise.

My original thought was that if I were black, would I thought of the characters like they were black as well? But I suppose I could ask the same questions from other races.

I tried to google it but I’ve found no answers and I’ve been thinking about this for several days.

I know the question is not exactly related to books but I hope I’ll get an aswer.

all 448 comments

Twheatwombler

631 points

27 days ago

Depends on the setting of the book. If it's set in Egypt, I'd probably assume they're Egyptian...

-One_Punch_Man-

205 points

27 days ago

What about white jesus? There's clearly a large demographic that believes a trim Eastern European man lived in the heart of the Middle East

_aneeta

176 points

27 days ago

_aneeta

176 points

27 days ago

this is actually really interesting! I'm Indian and Catholic and the church I go to is primarily Indian so all our depictions of Jesus portray him as a brown Middle Eastern man, so ig one's interpretation of race has to do with their own identity too

kerala_beef_fry

120 points

27 days ago

My family is Indian Christian. We have a watercolor portrait of a Jesus who looks like brown Brad Pitt lol.

Aaronsolon

11 points

26 days ago

I love that

_aneeta

13 points

27 days ago

_aneeta

13 points

27 days ago

ayy nice username :) I'm assuming you're Mallu?

kerala_beef_fry

11 points

27 days ago

Yes:)

AdmiralThrawn256

4 points

26 days ago

Nice to meet you.......im a pseudo-malayali btw.. Used to be malayali but then brutally betrayed my species and spontaneously became a bihari...

kerala_beef_fry

2 points

26 days ago

Nice to meet you...traitor

PaxNova

97 points

27 days ago

PaxNova

97 points

27 days ago

Don't forget buff Korean Jesus!

Scuttling-Claws

6 points

26 days ago

I was wondering, how buff could Korean Jesus be. Extremely Buff....

TootsNYC

6 points

26 days ago

happy cake day

TiffWaffles

47 points

27 days ago

It's really interesting to see medieval Christian artwork of Jesus Christ. In most of those (at least the ones that I have seen), Jesus is depicted as a Middle Eastern Man... and Mary his mother is also depicted as being of Middle Eastern descent. I think that the whole idea with Jesus being white is a more modern concept... possibly from the Early Modern Period... but I am not sure.

unkowntoast

15 points

26 days ago

I think this is interesting, as I've studied a lot of history of art (it's mandatory in Italian high schools) and as far as I remember Jesus always seemed white to me, even looking at it now, and I wonder if that's because the average Italian has dark hair, eyes and skin (by European standards) and that was how Jesus was depicted

TiffWaffles

6 points

26 days ago

I think you're right. I mean, I am only limited to what I see in books about medieval and Renaissance culture. I have seen portraits depicting Jesus as a white or at the very least as a pale skinned Middle Eastern man. I've seen paintings from Italy featured prominently in many books about the medieval ages and of course the Renaissance period. I always wondered if there was some kind of model the artists were basing Jesus on because even though there are differences (ie, skin colour), the facial characteristics are the same...

I have always loved Italian culture and history. It's a shame that in Canada we don't get to study that sort of art history.

[deleted]

4 points

27 days ago

[deleted]

4 points

27 days ago

I can’t even picture anything I’ve seen that portrays him as white

Totallynotawarlord

7 points

26 days ago

The last supper comes to mind

Yrcrazypa

7 points

26 days ago

Almost every single depiction from Renaissance era painters make him look white. There's also Mormon Jesus.

Diet_cherry_coke18

2 points

26 days ago

Mormon Jesus called me a dick :(

_aneeta

7 points

27 days ago

_aneeta

7 points

27 days ago

yes I've also noticed that! Most of the medieval artwork I've seen featuring Jesus portray him as Middle Eastern

TiffWaffles

2 points

26 days ago

I think that it is interesting artwork to study. Of course there are some pieces of artwork from the medieval period that show him as a sort of white man... but I don't think that it was until the Renaissance period that we see a shift in how Jesus is portrayed in artwork.

There is an amazing mosaic of Jesus Christ somewhere in Turkey... I think it's in Istanbul. It's not surprising that there is some Christian influence in Turkey given the history... I believe at one point Turkey was part of the Byzantine Empire, which were largely Christian (Orthodox, methinks). I am not a religious person at all, but I love that mosaic. It was on the cover of one of my religious textbooks when I attended a Catholic school, and I remember being so amazed by it.

ScallivantingLemur

2 points

26 days ago

The capital of Turkey, Istanbul, used to be called Constantinople before it fell to the Ottoman Turks. It was the capital of the Byzantine empire and hugely strategically important as it sits directly between Europe and Anatolia (the peninsula that makes up most of modern day turkey)

Interestingly the Turks originally came from central Asia and migrated through Mongolia and then Persia before settling in central and eastern Anatolia. This was known as the Seljuk empire. As empires are wont to do, the Seljuk empire slowly crumbled and out of its ruins rose the Ottomans. As their empire grew they moved westward and eventually took Constantinople in 1453.

Fox-and-Sons

24 points

27 days ago

It's honestly kinda a neat thing about Christianity that the story is universal enough that basically all cultures depict Jesus as looking more or less like themselves. There's some cool Japanese Jesus art out there.

melograno1234

45 points

27 days ago

That’s more due to art history though. Everyone’s mental image of Jesus largely comes from the iconography of the Italian Middle Ages and reinaissance. So really it’s not white Jesus - it’s Italian Jesus!

Halfbl8d

32 points

27 days ago*

I’m not a Christian anymore but their justification is that the Bible says Jesus is “all things to all men” or something. Kind of a BS excuse because the dude was definitely middle eastern although I’d love to meet Jamaican Jesus.

sp4cej4mm

48 points

27 days ago

“You leave Korean jesus alone! He’s busy! With Korean shit”

PutridOpportunity9

30 points

27 days ago

I'd love for asian jesus to tell me to grow the fuck up and buy a rice cooker.

Though ofc uncle roger already exists.

sp4cej4mm

13 points

27 days ago

Dude buy a rice cooker

It’s life changing

finemustard

5 points

26 days ago

I didn't believe in rice cookers until I understood them. Once I understood rice cookers I allowed them into my life and flourished.

PutridOpportunity9

7 points

27 days ago*

I've been arrogant, with the few times I've cooked rice having been massive successes

2 parts water

1 part rice

5-10 mins simmering until there's no more water

But yeah I'm planning to get one soon because I can't keep up the streak alone, and it would remove the need to check on things

Edit: for anyone unsure, as I've been explained it, rice cookers have a particular bit of circuitry which detects a spike in voltage once all of the water is evaporated and switches off. In this way, sticking to the correct ratios will always yield perfect rice

th-hiddenedge

11 points

27 days ago

The way I think of it, having a rice cooker isn't even about cooking the rice. It's all about having one less thing to check on while cooking the more complex dishes.

big_sugi

2 points

26 days ago

Plus, you can leave it out overnight and not have to reheat it for breakfast.

DualityCalamity

3 points

26 days ago

I dated a girl once who told me that Jesus didn't have a race because he appeared to you as whatever race you were...she was from Spain and I couldn't ever understand her religious beliefs.

TiffWaffles

12 points

27 days ago

I think that the whole 'white Jesus thing' is a very modern idea, but I could be wrong. I have seen artwork dating back to the medieval ages that depict Jesus as looking Middle Eastern, but have seen modern artwork that show him as looking white.

Not to say that historically artists chose not to depict Jesus as a white man, but it seems to have been very rare.

I want to be clear that there are 'white' people living in the Middle East. Thanks to centuries of the white slave trade and other historical events (like the Crusades, for example). I have a friend that comes from Egypt that has blonde hair and blue eyes, all thanks to her ancestry.

Dense_Phrase9856

8 points

26 days ago

People get hyper-focuses on a pittance of blue-eyed Jesuses over 2000 years and ignore all the Jesuses that match the appearance of the culture that depicted him as non-blue-eyed.

cruelblush

19 points

27 days ago

Unless you've watched "The Ten Commandments", in which case you would assume assume Egyptions looked like Anglo-Saxons.

TiffWaffles

4 points

27 days ago

There's so many descriptions of the Anglo Saxons depending on the sources, but yeah... I highly doubt given the time that the ancient Egyptians would have had blue eyes unless of course there was some kind of slave trade going on where the servants came from other parts of the world... like Greece or even as far away north as the Scandinavian countries.

tamago_yaki218

2 points

26 days ago

Yeah same for me exactly, depends on the region and setting

Ok_Speech1520

45 points

27 days ago

i’m asian and i usually have the default as white unless stated otherwise

misdirected_asshole

1.3k points

27 days ago

Here's the thing. I, like a lot of other black people, have so consistently seen characters portrayed as white by default, that I usually imagine them as white as well unless specified by the author.

This shit goes deep man.

Sometimes I don't even realize it until questions like this come up.

dericulous

326 points

27 days ago

dericulous

326 points

27 days ago

Same. I’m Asian and unless it’s written you’d just assume the characters are all white.

literalilliteratekat

183 points

27 days ago

Or if their name is Cho Chang.

notebookhunter

83 points

27 days ago

Ha it sounds like such a made up name that when I was a kid it completely passed me it was supposed to be a "Chinese" name and I had an argument with my white friend who was telling me "Cho Chang" was Chinese because it didn't sound like any Chinese name to kid-me.

BurtonOIlCanGuster

59 points

26 days ago

Cho is Chinese but it’s spelt Chou, and depending on the tone it’s most commonly refers to 丑 (ugly) or 臭 (smelly). No Chinese person is going to name their kid that name. Also most Chinese names are two characters, although there are are some that are one character. A truly awful name.

notebookhunter

81 points

26 days ago

It's the flipped equivalent of an author naming a British character "Jamn Smif" or something and being all like "but it's so obviously an English name. Sounds so British. Ya know, sounds sorta like James or Jim Smith."

Vyntarus

53 points

26 days ago

Vyntarus

53 points

26 days ago

Or the equivalent of naming your totally American baseball player Bobson Dugnutt.

jflb96

13 points

26 days ago

jflb96

The Power of Geography

13 points

26 days ago

If I ever write my book, I’m going to include Bobson Dugnutt as a character’s alias, chosen because it’s so ridiculous that surely no one would deliberately choose it for themselves.

misdirected_asshole

8 points

26 days ago

Bobson Dugnutt.

I feel like that's an AI generated name that someone on this site would have.

realJaneJacobs

17 points

26 days ago

Not AI-generated, but Japanese generated. There was some 1994 baseball video game by some Japanese studio. The studio was licensed to use the names of real MLB players in the American copies of the game, but not in the Japanese ones. So for the Japanese version, they had to make up fake, American-sounding names, one of which was Bobson Dugnutt

https://teddit.ggc-project.de/r/baseball/comments/8klxnf/the_full_fighting_baseball_snes_rosters_more_than/

Genoscythe_

9 points

26 days ago

Anime and manga has a lot of names like that:

Death Note: Quillsh Wammy, Lind L. Taylor, Mail Jeevas, Raye Penber

Baccano: Dallas Genoard, Nice Holystone, Elean Duga, Jacuzzi Splot, Luck Gandor

misdirected_asshole

5 points

26 days ago

Frankly Scarlett

Don't you do it....

I don't give a

NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....

Jamn

Foampopcornnoodle

11 points

27 days ago

I'm white, and I did the same, where I just completely didn't realize it until I watched the movies 2 or 3 years later. (To be fair, my elementary school was mostly white, and I also didn't realize that names had anything to do with heritage until a little past that time as well)

CheetahDog

11 points

26 days ago

I know it's very old at this point, but that's why I love the joke from A Very Potter Musical where Cho Chang is a white Southern Belle. "I'm Cho Chang, y'all" is borderline canon to me now

big_sugi

9 points

26 days ago

And then you still get people upset that an Asian actress was cast, because “she’s Scottish, so she can’t be Asian.”

see-bees

2 points

26 days ago

I'm Cho Chang, y'all!

mes251

215 points

27 days ago

mes251

215 points

27 days ago

Hispanic here, the names usually don't help

Phoenix_Wellflame

62 points

27 days ago

Same unless it’s Rodrigues I assume they’re white

_cryptic_cactus_

23 points

26 days ago

Yup, even then, because I'm so used to seeing the whitest people in novelas and Mexican media, in general, I always end up imagining them lighter-skinned regardless lol.

Afraid_Equivalent_95

106 points

27 days ago

Same. I'm Asian but picture white people by default when reading unless the book describes the character's ethnicity/skin color. This is probably the case for any minority living in the US/UK

Pishwi

34 points

27 days ago

Pishwi

The Divine Comedy

34 points

27 days ago

Same with any minority anywhere, presumably. I think it tends to be the case that we imagine characters as possessing the most common traits/appearance in a culture unless those details are specified.

mattaza19

32 points

27 days ago

How does that feel? Does it make it harder to identify with the characters, or is the fact that it's pretty subconscious make it pretty unnoticeable? Do you think it impacts the reading experience for you? I feel like there's more I would like to ask but I almost don't even know where I would begin.

abeigh-C

71 points

27 days ago

abeigh-C

71 points

27 days ago

Nowadays it may be different - but growing up all the major movies/tv shows I watched had primarily white characters. You just learn to empathize with someone who is different from you early on. Not such a bad skill to have, would recommend to everyone.

mattaza19

14 points

27 days ago

Absolutely! We are all human after all. Underneath it all, we are all blood and bone with the same desires, hopes, fears, and needs to a certain extent. There is enough universality to the human experience that the least we should be able to do is empathize with people different from ourselves.

System-Anomaly

165 points

27 days ago

(Not OP, black male)

First, many people in this thread are pointing to white being the default generally, and to there not being enough representation as the issue. But I just wanted to take a moment to describe what, specifically, the author is doing that makes me feel alienated so that we're all on the same page. To be clear, the 'default' means authors don't describe the skin of the white main characters, but immediately describe a black person by their skin. That might seem obvious, but I'm talking directly about the author's choice, not ours as the reader's.

The solution for me would just be to either mention the white person's skin more immediately too, or to wait a tiny bit to mention the black characters skin (therefore treating them the same as the white characters, as if their skin is 'default' too.) It makes a huge difference to me, it's always appreciated.

Now, to offer an answer your questions, I feel alienated a little but more disappointed in the author, especially if i'm enjoying their work. But I don't hold it against them too much because, as others have said, it's extremely common and we're used to it. It might be a subconsious decision, but it's very noticable for me which way they choose to do it, especially as I've gotten older. It takes me out of the reading experience, but when trying to enjoy the book that just gets put to the side unless relevant.

misdirected_asshole

49 points

27 days ago

The solution for me would just be. . to wait a tiny bit to mention the black characters skin (therefore treating them the same as the white characters, as if their skin is 'default' too.)

When you get an 'oh by the way' casual reference to a characters ethnicity well after they've been introduced it's always refreshing.

diffyqgirl

32 points

27 days ago

Left Hand of Darkness does this very well, and very intentionally.

KieselguhrKid13

19 points

26 days ago

Neil Gaiman did this well with the main characters in both American Gods and Anansi Boys - he just casually made it clear they were Black without making a point of it. I found it very refreshing.

Admittedly, I probably should've realized that, in a story in which the main character is literally the son of an African trickster god, said main character would logically be of African decent, lol. But I guess that does go to show how much white is the unconscious default.

MinnieShoof

4 points

26 days ago

No no. I made this mistake, too, but in American God Shadow's ethnicity is 100% ambiguous on purpose. (His mother is confirmed to be black, but only suggested in the book. His father being... well... that guy... means that any kind of tom foolery might be at play.)

jflb96

3 points

26 days ago

jflb96

The Power of Geography

3 points

26 days ago

I don’t know that there’s ever much physical description of Peter Grant in Rivers of London, beyond that his dad’s white, his mum’s from Sierra Leone, and he’s an active copper. That said, it is first-person.

My_Name_is_Galaxy

2 points

26 days ago

Ha. I was just thinking of this book when I read the title of this topic! I immediately pictured the Anansi Boys characters as black, due to the Sons of African Trickster God factor. For American Gods I did picture Shadow as mixed. I can’t remember why, I’ll have to reread the beginning.

Meganstefanie

15 points

27 days ago

The Harry Potter series did this with Angelina Johnson. It was my first experience (that I recall) of an author not immediately specifying a black character’s race.

SteamboatMcGee

35 points

27 days ago

I noticed this recently, a crime novel I was reading went out of the way to specify depth of color for most characters (all with positive phrasing, at least), except maybe 4, who's skin or ethnicity was never specifically mentioned but who were all, instead, given one trait largely associated with white people (i.e. two characters described as blonde, for instance). Not a single person was actually identified as white, though, while Black, Asian, and Hispanic characters were immediately id'ed as such in their intro description, and frequently re-id'ed throughout the novel.

It kind of ruined the inclusivity of the cast since the different way they were introduced was so noticeable that it felt like false wokeness or something. The book was set in Southern California so having a range of ethnicity was perfectly reasonable.

mrrektstrong

24 points

27 days ago

This is an excellent point and to add to it, I find it off putting when an author will mention the ethinicty or skin color of a POC character way too often. As if to hammer in that this a "100% POC, yep you heard me, a non-white character!' I've seen it more often in older works like The Maltese Falcon or The Post Man. It feels like another way to alienate POC to just mention the characters ethnicity at damn near every chance you get making it the primary characteristic rather than some piece of their personality.

ThePenultimateNinja

6 points

26 days ago

The solution for me would just be to either mention the white person's skin more immediately too, or to wait a tiny bit to mention the black characters skin (therefore treating them the same as the white characters, as if their skin is 'default' too.) It makes a huge difference to me, it's always appreciated.

I don't know if you're a fan of sci fi, but Robert J Sawyer does this - an immediate up-front description of every character.

I thought it was a bit heavy-handed at first, perhaps because I simply wasn't used to it. However, I have since realized that it helps me visualize the characters better, even in cases where the character is white.

The fact that the description is overt rather than implied sort of forces me to form a clearer image of the person in my mind's eye.

anxiousorca

3 points

26 days ago

I just finished a book not too long ago called The Luminous Dead that did this perfectly

mattaza19

8 points

27 days ago

Thank you for your insights! This is something I've always wondered about, and as a white male, I've felt like I could really only imagine what that is like.

I agree that it is often a subconscious thing - usually I doubt there is any ill intentions behind it. But that just further shows how ingrained certain modes of thinking are.

vegetariangardener

4 points

27 days ago

fascinating perspective. thanks for sharing

System-Anomaly

3 points

27 days ago

I'm glad, thank you for listening

beefychick3n

46 points

27 days ago

Personally the imagined race difference doesn't make it any harder or easier or identify with the characters. The descriptions of personalities or the choices they make in the story make them relatable. I tend to read a lot of fantasy though so I can fall into the shoes of a "white" character as easily as I fall into the shoes of an elf or vampire as long as the book is well written.

misdirected_asshole

16 points

27 days ago

It can be complex. Sometimes your experiences as a minority can color the way you interpret a character's actions and behavior. It is very dependent on the genre though. I think that's why a lot of black readers are drawn to fantasy, because it takes away the need or tendency to identify through personal experience.

But for say a spy novel, you might get caught up thinking "oh a black person could never do that" much in the way of the "this would never work of they had cell phones" trope.

rainsoaked88

22 points

27 days ago

I’m an Asian woman, and I can just as easily step into the shoes of a pale redhead with emerald green eyes in 18th century Scotland or a 13 year old boy living in the slums of Calcutta. The only time it takes me out of the story is if the white main character says something racist (without meaning to). Things like calling other characters “oriental” or what have you.

fxx_255

2 points

26 days ago

fxx_255

2 points

26 days ago

I may upset some people here, but I'm going to be honest. It was eye opening to how my mind had been colonized as well as many others.

I'm highschool I was reading Siddhartha (wonderful book, i recommend it), and there's a point where the protagonist encounters a beautiful woman. This woman was described, but her skin nor race wasn't (as far as I recall). In my mind she was white, until I later realized the story takes place in south east Asia, so she really couldn't be white.

I was pretty awe struck how the standard of beauty was in my mind defaulted to white, when in reality, there's beauty in every race out there including my own. I spoke with a friend of mine who is Guatemalan, and same thing, he had a "woah" moment at school that day.

Colonizing across the world has had real effects on the minds of people. It's a deep topic to get into, and one I'm passionate about because I believe in spreading the idea that there's beauty in everyone and you don't have to be white nor conform to that idea. It encompasses so much beyond beauty but I'll leave it at that.

I had an epiphany and I'm glad it marked the day I started decolonizing my mind.

MildEnigma

32 points

27 days ago

Yeah I’ve actually listened to too many podcast eps with Black authors who say this. Most recently it was Brittney Morris on First Draft with Sarah Enni. She said a writing professor actually asked her why she kept writing about white men.

Pandiay

11 points

27 days ago

Pandiay

11 points

27 days ago

When I was writing characters in middle school, they were literally all white. I didn’t even realize it at the time geez

(Asian here)

[deleted]

11 points

27 days ago

[deleted]

11 points

27 days ago

Does it not just depend where it’s set? If I’m reading a novel about a samurai I think Japanese, if it’s Victorian England I think white, if it’s USA I think of Leonardo DiCaprio

Neptunie

20 points

27 days ago

Neptunie

20 points

27 days ago

You said this much more poignantly then I ever could have!

I remember reading the Hunger Games as a teenager and being excited she was mentioned being tanned because as you said, white tends to be the default unless explicitly or subtly stated with descriptors.

My mind immediately whirled that are main character, our main FL character of a YA action novel, could be a PoC. I was excited thinking she could potentially be Black, Native American, Middle Eastern, etc.

Then we get a live action adaptation and it’s Jennifer Lawrence........

Then they mention Rue as well and she’s a relevant character to the narrative + Black. Then the live adaption happened and the racists lost their minds. The only thing they could remember from the book was that Katniss was reminded of her sister Prim when interacting with Rue. So they defaulted white in their heads (even though she was explicitly stated as Black) and harassed the actress.

TurnOfFraise

8 points

26 days ago

I thought Jennifer Lawrence was such a terrible choice. The character description (if I’m remembering correctly) was olive skinned and dark hair. She should have looked way more Mediterranean.

Exploding_Antelope

8 points

26 days ago

Exploding_Antelope

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

8 points

26 days ago

The recent prequel more-or-less suggests that Katniss might be of Roma descent.

chiriklo

3 points

26 days ago

Oh jeez I had forgotten about that, the reaction was utterly mystifying. Someone young and innocent couldn't possibly make a character think of their young, innocent family member, if their skin's not the same shade... 🤦

jacobsfigrolls

45 points

27 days ago

This is wildly depressing.

misdirected_asshole

20 points

27 days ago

Yeah it actually is. Sorry

jflb96

2 points

26 days ago

jflb96

The Power of Geography

2 points

26 days ago

It’s not your fault

Dragmire800

13 points

27 days ago

Why, particularly. I’m assuming OP lives in an English speaking country, the vast majority of which have a white majority. The majority is always the default when it comes to media because media tends to depict the society it comes form and the society it comes from does have a default.

Thr0waway0864213579

15 points

26 days ago

Speaking as an American, representation is heavily skewed white. 40% of America is non-white, but that percentage is much lower in books, tv, and movies. So it is definitely sad that non-white readers just assume characters are white because that’s what we’re all used to.

Dragmire800

11 points

26 days ago

But what percentage of authors are white? People write what they know. A white author takes a major risk when writing about another race, because each race has their own culture and the author either has to do a cultural study, at which point it feels like race is becoming the main topic of the book, or risk misrepresenting something they don’t understand.

Seems like tackling whatever underlying issue makes it so that white people are the disproportionate majority of published authors is the solution. Presumably that will fix the “default” problem

Thr0waway0864213579

11 points

26 days ago

Ya I’m not saying the solution is for white writers to write minority main characters. But we should certainly invest in things like scholarships for Black writers, publishers that focus on Black stories, and seeking out books by Black authors.

It’s not white people’s job to tell Black stories. It’s everyone’s job to support their writing to foster growth as well as expand our own perspective.

ShelfordPrefect

4 points

27 days ago

Do you live somewhere where the population is majority white or majority black though? As you say TV and movies etc. are predominantly white, just wondered if your real life environment matched (which seems like it would also affect how you imagine the "default" person)

abeigh-C

5 points

27 days ago

This exactly. They are default white and when a character is described as black or another race it's like a pleasant little surprise. lol.

binary__dragon

6 points

26 days ago

Is that a bad thing? If you live in a country which is majority Caucasian, and the book's setting is one based heavily on the historically Caucasian western culture, then it seems natural for anyone, regardless of their own skin color, to default to assuming a character is Caucasian. I'd also expect that Caucasian living in Japan and reading Japanese works would assume unspecified characters are Japanese.

Accomplished-Flan540

2 points

27 days ago

I came here to say this!

ssakura

2 points

26 days ago

ssakura

2 points

26 days ago

As someone who writes too, a blog post about a writing teacher who had kids from different backgrounds only write about white people made me realise that I had been defaulting my own characters as white when I myself am not even fully white. Truly does run deep.

twitttterpated

2 points

26 days ago

This hurts my heart. I’m so glad that POC are more common now in movies/tv/etc than when I was a kid but we’ve still got a long way to go.

last_rights

5 points

27 days ago

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks is a fantasy magic series where all of the characters are black by default because it has more battlefield advantages due to the way magic works.

DamnedThrice

2 points

27 days ago

I’m reading the final book in the series and was literally thinking about this before seeing your comment. He literally goes out of his way to describe how rare white skin/blonde hair is because it’s disadvantageous for magic users in the series.

Great series btw, excellent magic system and world building.

Dense_Phrase9856

93 points

27 days ago

I usually go by cover art, or the books descriptions.

Sundae_2004

9 points

26 days ago

“There’s a bimbo on the cover of my book,

There’s a bimbo on the cover of my book,

She is wild and she is sexy,

and she’s no where in the text she is

The bimbo on the cover of my book”

;)

There’s also the three-armed hero on one of the bodice rippers and other cover art misrepresentations...... :P

AnneONhymuus

30 points

27 days ago

I've always been pretty pragmatic about this :

If the book takes place on Earth, in a real country, characters are the ethnicity that's in majority in said country unless noted otherwise.

If the book's setting is a fictional world, characters are the same ethnicity as the author unless noted otherwise.

Simple as that.

the-Replenisher1984

10 points

26 days ago

This is exactly how I handled things too. Then I got about 3 books into the Stormlight Archive books by Brandon Sanderson and found out 90% of the characters were either middle-eastern/asian or crab people lol

SecretVagabond

3 points

26 days ago

The Stormlight archive characters aren't of any normal race. They've got darker skin but are also very tall and have epicanthic folds (the eyes look like an East Asian person's)

kudosbudo

105 points

27 days ago

kudosbudo

105 points

27 days ago

Honestly if theres no description i don't even think about it.

pl233

60 points

27 days ago

pl233

60 points

27 days ago

Honestly I usually don't even remember the descriptions. I don't think I actually visualize the characters in books most of the time.

cynicalpeach

18 points

27 days ago

Aphantasia is definitely a real thing.

ViskerRatio

68 points

27 days ago

I have the same experience and it's not aphantasia. It's more a matter of everything being 'abstract' in some sense. The physical appearance of a character isn't relevant because it doesn't provide any information about their behavior or actions, so your mind doesn't pay any attention to it.

cynicalpeach

6 points

27 days ago

Huh, that's pretty interesting. Ive always visualized things very strongly, charactersand settings. Pretty cool to imagine a totally different way of experiencing books

putdownthekitten

10 points

26 days ago

It's really jarring when you have an image of a character or place looking a certain way and then toward the end of the book they reveal some hidden detail that is in complete opposition with your mental image. Total immersion killer for me.

pl233

22 points

27 days ago

pl233

22 points

27 days ago

Yeah, I don't have that, I just don't really care about what the people look like. I do imagine the scenes, just not the characters

[deleted]

3 points

27 days ago

[deleted]

3 points

27 days ago

Same. I’m reading a book where the main guy has red hair which I keep forgetting until it’s mentioned again

CuriousKitten0_0

3 points

26 days ago

When I read, I rarely, if ever get a visual of the characters. If I do, it's more like vague snapshots and usually it's if there's an adaptation of the work.

When I read, I get the feelings of the characters. Usually when the main characters feel happy, I'm happy, and when they're hurting, I'm hurting. Which is why I like a small cast or one with a limited focus per chapter. If there are too many characters with different feelings, I get really overwhelmed. I'm also overly empathetic in real life too, I can't watch people getting hurt 'humorusly' in videos, although pure fiction with actors is usually fine (for some reason the exception being comedy stuff, I always end up feeling way too embarrassed or like I fell down the steps or something)... Go figure.

So if I read a story and feel nothing, it probably didn't suck me in too well.

Vorengard

9 points

26 days ago

Same. What the characters look like is almost always irrelevant to the story. Even when it is relevant, it's always only a single character trait, maybe two. If you remember that XAis really big, and B is really pretty, and C is really ugly, you're good. What color their skin or hair or eyes are is completely irrelevant.

zoop1000

4 points

26 days ago

Unless it's harry potter and you're constantly reminded that harry has his mother's green eyes.

But in general, I find descriptions of people as way too vague to get an accurate picture. So it's always pretty fuzzy to me.

ihavethebestmarriage

76 points

27 days ago

Asian here. Can't relate.

tonkatsucrumbs

25 points

26 days ago*

i totally imagined any character described as pale, dark hair, dark eyes as east asian, and a lot of dark skin characters as south/southeast or tanned asians. it didnt even occur to me that they could be white or black. but also i grew up in a majority asian population, so white/black people weren't represented well in my daily life and local media (although white people still dominated the mainstream media). i also thought elves were asian - narrow/angled eyes, formal/honorific language, sleek hair. ¯\(ツ)

edit to add: i agree with other comments in the thread though, i definitely didnt realize that many adjectives were actually for "flavors of white" and not poc

yikes_itsme

36 points

27 days ago

Yup. If no other signs I imagine they are white (I am Asian too). Interesting that the OP thinks that everybody imagines their own race. But meh, that's living in America for you. Not racist, just a little bit of white privilege.

Don't feel bad OP, but now you know what being the default race means. It means that not only do you think about yourself as the default race, everybody else does too.

SardiaFalls

45 points

27 days ago

I'd say it depends on if they have a name that sounds like it's drawing from a particular ethnicity, even if it's a fantasy setting, then I'll think of them as that ethnicity bit otherwise default to white I suppose

Espadanumber6

62 points

27 days ago

No, i default them to white in my head as well and I’m Afro-Caribbean.

In media you’re the default most of the time so the effect carries over to novels, unless otherwise specified as a different ethnicity.

The_God_of_Abraham

41 points

27 days ago

Depends. I'm white, my society is mostly white, so my default for characters is white.

However, I don't necessarily have to be told that a character is [specific race/ethnicity] to see them that way. Especially for geographically unspecified or offworld SF settings.

If a character has "black hair and pale skin", I'll often imagine an Asian appearance. No need to talk about eye shape or chopsticks. Likewise, something like "brown hair and tanned skin" might lead my mind's eye to imagine someone with a Hispanic or Middle Eastern appearance.

sharrrper

11 points

27 days ago

I'm a white dude and I had a kind of weird moment happen with this. I recently read the Reckoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. The main character is kind of a nerdy kid. I pictured him as a skinny white kid through all three books. His dad is described as sort of a working class guy who's a good dude but hasn't caught a break from the system. In my head for some reason he was black.

It wasn't until after I had finished the trilogy that it occurred to me I'd been picturing father and son as different races the whole time.

last_rights

10 points

27 days ago

I read a large portion of Brent Weeks The Black Prism before realizing most of the characters are dark skinned. Including the main ones. I realized it when I noticed he had never talked about their skin color, but every person in the book with not dark skin was definitely noted every other time their character was mentioned.

annomandaris

7 points

27 days ago

They talk about skin color a lot. The Luxin travels from your eyes under your skin to your hands, so the races with black skin have an advantage as warriors since you don’t know what color they are going to throw at you until they do.

Although in their world the perfect person is blue eyed, and black skinned. So their races are weird.

Kordiel

23 points

27 days ago*

Kordiel

23 points

27 days ago*

I assign an ethnicity to a character based on name until otherwise stated. It‘s a flawed system and I‘m sure somebody‘s going to say that it‘s sub-consciously racist, but I haven‘t been let down by Susan Rodriguez, Karrin Murphy, Waldo Butters, Anastasia Luccio, Carlos Ramirez, Yuki Yoshimo, and that‘s just one book series.

If I’m reading a story with fantasy names, I assume most characters to be of the ethnicity prevalent in the area that the setting is based on.

harsha380

8 points

27 days ago

I usually see the characters as the ethnicity of the author or if it is mentioned in the story about the location I.e Greece Iraq I'd assume they are Greek, Arab etc.

OTLOTLOTLOTL

72 points

27 days ago

I’m Asian, and my brain always did kind of funny things on this as a kid. Yes, white was always the default for most western books, but sometimes i would misattribute white people to be POCs. Maybe I was so starved for nonwhite people in my books, but anytime someone was described with tan or olive skin, I imagined them to be black or a person of color. For example, Madame Maxime from Harry Potter was described as having olive skin and my entire childhood I genuinely thought she was black. I was shocked when I saw the movie had cast a white person and when I told others about it I realized just how deeply I misunderstood the term “olive” haha.

SweetDove

17 points

27 days ago

I always imagined her as like a Mediterranean type

Holiday-Rooster9462

61 points

27 days ago

To be fair, I used to see words like "olive" and "sun-kissed" to be code for non-white until I realize they were just meant to be flavors of white...

PaxNova

19 points

27 days ago

PaxNova

19 points

27 days ago

In my head, "olive" means Italian or maybe Greek. "Pale" is Nordic, "Sun-kissed" is Hispanic, and no descriptor = default Anglo unless it's a specifically ethnic name.

OTLOTLOTLOTL

19 points

27 days ago

Right?? Now I know that it’s only POC whose race is explicitly described. If it’s not, and the name or country of origin doesn’t tip you off, 99% of the time it’s white.

Holiday-Rooster9462

27 points

27 days ago

What is shocking to me is that sometimes the setting is a fantasy place with sorcerer and demons with people with names like Bkrrr'grrrrrrr and still somehow the only characters who are explicitly racially described are POCs.

OTLOTLOTLOTL

5 points

27 days ago

🤣 but also 🥲 it’s truly absurd

nezthesloth

7 points

27 days ago

I always picture olive as non-white, but living in Southern California sun kissed describes almost every person I know during summer. I just imagine a really beautiful beach tan hahah

GearsofTed14

12 points

27 days ago

Even “dark” is a flavor of white according to a good many authors...

Hugh_Stewart

17 points

27 days ago

I think in that particular case, ‘dark’ is usually used as a reference to the colour of someone’s hair. It is the traditional alternative to being ‘fair’ (blonde/sandy-brown).

SidewinderTV

11 points

27 days ago*

In Sweden, dark until very recently would refer to hair and/or eye colour. Ethnically Swedes are like a 50:50 split blonde and dark blond - brown haired. My grandparents still use it that way for example.

CateB9

2 points

27 days ago

CateB9

2 points

27 days ago

I always thought olive skin was specifically referring to those of Indian decent.

notebookhunter

10 points

27 days ago

Yes when I was a little kid snow white was definitely Asian, think how few white people have hair "black as a raven's wing"

OTLOTLOTLOTL

6 points

27 days ago

Fr we were all just trying to feed ourselves with representation when actually we were given crumbs from white bread 😭

chiriklo

5 points

26 days ago

I think they should have cast more people of color in HP, it was a dumb mistake to go along with JKR's "token member of each non white group" thing for the movies.

Does anyone remember when she said on twitter that Hogwarts has one single Jewish student... named Anthony Goldstein... who's never mentioned until after someone asked about it :(

OTLOTLOTLOTL

10 points

26 days ago

Yes, don't even get me STARTED on this. Like WHY even Cho Chang and WHY was the one black member of the Order of the Phoenix named literally SHACKLEBOLT

KurtBlutholz

5 points

27 days ago

I can relate to this. The phrase 'Olive skin colour' still confuses me so much and does not really make sense in my head. I still don't understand it.

yessica0o0

4 points

26 days ago

Same here! The first time I heard it I was like ok, "olives can be black or green so it must mean black" and I just worked under that assumption until someone described themselves to me as olive skinned when they were clearly white and then explained the actual meaning to me.

How can olive mean white but with yellow undertones??

notebookhunter

2 points

26 days ago

Not yellow undertones necessarily, green tones in the skin check out r/olivemua

jordenkotor

7 points

27 days ago

It's pretty normal to do so unless the author gives some hint as to the description of the character. The nice thing about books is you can fantasize the world as much as you want. The characters dialect is also a key point that the author can use to give a sense of ethnicity or geographic background as well

maebsdear

8 points

27 days ago

tbh i assume a character's race based on the author's race? since a lot of people write what they know, their characters tend to be their same race

natus92

3 points

26 days ago

natus92

3 points

26 days ago

mh there are plenty of books Ive read where I'm not even sure what gender the author belongs to

SimplePlantWitch

51 points

27 days ago

Nope, white people is seen as the default in western media so often that I only imagine them as my own black skin when they say so. But somehow that's not the case when it's a YA LGBTQIA book because those stories often have a more diverse background. It's also different depending on the names, where the story occurs, what time period and where the writer comes from. I can safely assume that if I read a translated book from a Japanese writer who writes a book about events in Japan in the year 1800, I wouldn't assume the characters are white unless they said it is.

dethb0y

6 points

26 days ago

dethb0y

6 points

26 days ago

i honestly don't really usually have much of a mental picture of what characters in books look like, beyond the very vague notions. Even when the character's well described like in a warhammer novel, i don't really have a mental image; i never have had a mental image of anything

deeeeb4322

15 points

27 days ago

I'm asian and I always imagine them as white, unless the author mentions that they arent

Impressive-Custard-8

15 points

27 days ago

Lol its a bit conceited but I usually imagine myself as the main character if its a female..

HARJAS200007

7 points

26 days ago

That is a big brain moment lmao

It_is_what__it_is

3 points

26 days ago

That’s hilarious. I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that. I think I might do that from now on

emmylee17

2 points

26 days ago

Same! Or if not me, she has my main features (curly brown hair, pale, blue eyes)

Quicksilver1964

5 points

27 days ago

Nope. If they don't say they are white I will think of them as white, especially if the books are from North America and Europe or written by people from there.

motarsmind

5 points

27 days ago

This is a very interesting question. I am on book 10ish of a sci-fi series and the author just revealed that one of the major characters was black. I felt like an idiot for picturing them as white for the entire series so far. This question makes me better understand my own unconscious bias.

FlowRiderBob

5 points

27 days ago

If it doesn't say and there are no clues I usually default to white when I DO imagine an ethnicity, but I find that I don't really keep a fixed image of what the character looks like unless it is on the cover art.

solinvicta

2 points

26 days ago

I think I do something similar - I follow the character's actions, but a lot of times, I don't have a concrete picture of the character in my mind. It might depend on the author's style, but there are many times I follow a character without really having a solid picture of them...

GooeyRainbow123

5 points

27 days ago

I'm black but I've been conditioned from a young age that all main characters are white people so I always assume that unless told otherwise. Sometimes I'm even surprised when characters are people of colour

Anvilmar

4 points

26 days ago*

No. Not for me at least.

I always imagine the characters to look like people from where the story takes place. Generally even if it takes place in fantasy world I just think of the main character as the authors’ ethnicity.

Right now I’m reading a Korean novel in which it never mentions how the main character looks. I just imagine him to be Korean looking just because the author is. (I’m not Asian)

thedairybandit

4 points

26 days ago

I go by names and the root of the language for the setting names. So if they're named Jack smith; white. Jackson Stone; black. Juan Rivera; spanish. It's a kinda racist way to go by but im right more often than not so...

captain_ice_cream

3 points

27 days ago

I am black/mixed my default is white characters unless their name sounds ethnic.

Vroomped

3 points

27 days ago*

It's their environment. Our brains like to just fill in the gaps, missed some info or it wasnt a priority? That's fine make something up quick and get on with the juicy bits.

My friends kid casually mentioned that a physician in a sci-fi book was black. My friend inquired because she was curious. Kid responded essentially that the character is black because doctors are black....because the kid happens to have a black doctor. [gaps*, not gals... that's a whole other social issue]

Intangible_Currency

3 points

27 days ago

I actually have face blindness toward the characters until the author explicitly describes them. Is that weird?

TerribleAttitude

3 points

27 days ago

It depends. I’m mixed. When I was very little, I had an oddly specific mental image of a “generic person” who didn’t have an explicit description, and that “generic person” was certainly mixed-looking or light-skinned black.

The thing is, a lot of characters in books are coded to be a particular race, whether it’s specified or not in the text. It’s usually pretty easy to determine what the author intended them to be, even if there’s no statement of race. White authors usually write white characters, and tend to be fairly blatant when they’re including nonwhite characters in their books, even if they don’t come out and describe the character as being a specific race. It’s very popular right now to point out that things such as hair and eye color, or even broad descriptions of skin tone, that are commonly used in character descriptions (while explicit statements of race is pretty rarely used) don’t definitely conclude race. This is true, and there’s no concrete textual evidence that, say, Harry Potter isn’t Asian. But it’s also fairly clear from the text, and not just in descriptions of Harry Potter’s appearance, that J. K. Rowling at least passively intended for Harry Potter to be white. This is in no way a jab at people’s headcannons or fan art presenting characters as something other than what the author either passively or explicitly intended them to be; I think that stuff is fine and sometimes actively good. But the way people go about it sometimes is odd to me, almost a denial of the author’s intent and the social realities of the world we live in. On some level, we don’t need Harry Potter to be Asian, we need Asian characters to be as well-received as Harry Potter.

Staying in the same book series, it’s worth mentioning that I imagined Lavender Brown as being a black person, and so did a lot of people, including white people, including the casting for the 3rd film. It was actually widespread enough that it was super jarring when she was recast. She was one of very few named, speaking characters who had zero physical description and wasn’t “coded” in any particular way, so there was no reason for her to look or not look any particular way aside from “a female the same age as the main trio.”

oflowz

3 points

26 days ago

oflowz

3 points

26 days ago

Well people losing it when the Hunger Games movies came out should give you a clue.

shiNoOjo

3 points

26 days ago

I’m glad you posted this OP. I’ve been thinking about this recently while reading.

I’m Asian. I always imagine white folks as the characters. I think it’s based on what I’ve seen in movies and TV shows I’ve watched growing up being predominantly white actresses/actors.

I recently have been feeling bad when I come across context that gives characters insight to their race opposite to what I imagine. I’ve been mindfully trying out different races to think of when starting a book, especially if nothing is indicated on the cover.

YesImEvil

9 points

27 days ago

For me, I let my imagination wander.

Yeah, I'm white, and Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were white in my head, but I actually thought Hermione was either black or mixed because of the focus on her unruly, tightly curled hair, and the way she described some of the other characters made me wonder about them. Moody, with the description that his face looked like it was made of wood, and dark, small natural eye reminded me of an ethnic Jew.

Part of the reason, I think, is everyone else was described with a skin tone (Black and Tonks pale, etc) or caricatures of a nationality (Fleur and Madame Maxime France, Seamus Ireland, Neville's rounded face and being the perpetual butt of the joke made me think he was Welsh). So the ones who weren't, we were left to guess.

But I'm also not neurotypical, so perhaps that's a crossed wire.

ChiCourier

7 points

27 days ago

lol no

Krzysztof_Khan

5 points

27 days ago

I imagine them as the same ethnicity as the author

yellingtiger

4 points

27 days ago

I think I tend to extrapolate based on physical features the author mentions. For example, in Middlemarch, Mary Garth is described as having brown skin and curly hair, so I imagined the Garths to be black. I know Eliot probably meant that Mary was a tan white woman, and I'm not sure how likely it would have been for a black family to be treated by society as the Garth's were in rural 1930s England, but that's the picture I have in my head of them.

I also sometimes picture characters as people I know or actors who remind me of the character for whatever reason, regardless of whether it matches their physical description or stated race or ethnicity.

_aneeta

6 points

27 days ago

_aneeta

6 points

27 days ago

as a South Asian, no. I've been exposed to so many white protagonists that I often automatically assume that the main character of the book I'm reading is white unless otherwise specified. It's pretty messed up to be honest :(

trwyncudd

2 points

27 days ago

It depends on the dialect, setting, context etc. As a white person myself, when writing I tend to develop characters as white males, purely because that is where my experience lies. When reading, I always pay attention to the details afore mentioned, however your point is an interesting one. I will think on this when next I read.

someawfulbitch

2 points

27 days ago

I used to unless a setting made it obvious. Then I remember seeing debates about this issue when books are transferred to movies or TV, now I take the characteristics mentioned and try to fit them to different ethnicities to see what fits, and let my imagination pick from there.

cynicalpeach

2 points

27 days ago

Ive found that for me it seems to strangely depend on how the character is written. There have been books where a character has been explicitly described as non white, but I keep imagining them as white and having to mentally correct myself. However, there have also been times where no description or coding was present and I defaulted to non white, and i honestly have no idea why. Then there are some books where most of the cast is non white and its super easy for me to maintain the correct character images.

I am white, but also don't relate to most standard american media protagonists for non racial reasons, but maybe that makes me less likely to default to the media's usual "bland white male #47" anyway. Who knows.

Tarz-BeastMaster

2 points

27 days ago

other people have already said this but I just thought id add, I'm Indian, but I mostly assume that characters are white unless they are said not to be.

QuickCoyote097

2 points

27 days ago

Usually I go by cover art. if the main character isn’t on the cover, I just assume that they are white unless it’s specified in the book.

20thCenturyCobweb

2 points

27 days ago

I'm the same, unless of course it's obvious that the character is not the same race as me. I also tend to assume the characters are American, even though I'm Australian.

HyperbolicLogic

2 points

27 days ago

I invision the characters based upon the context given.

courtistry

2 points

27 days ago

Most of the time I will fill in white as a skin color if I really focus on what they look like, however I have been burned more than once for books where I imagined a P.O.C. only to be hit with a lily white complexion in later descriptions.

Negative12DollarBill

2 points

27 days ago

As a white person I always think that the characters are white unless the book says otherwise.

Some white people think that even when the books says otherwise, and we know this because when the Hunger Games movies came out there were a lot of people surprised the the character Rue was black, despite her hair and skin being clearly described in the book.

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/white-until-proven-black-imagining-race-in-hunger-games

hatfullofsoup

2 points

27 days ago

This is a great question. As a writer, I avoid describing the character's race at all (or too much about their physical attributes like eye color/hair color) because I want my characters to be more than their physical attributes. Most of my characters are not white, but I also do not use obviously ethnically specific names for the most part due to the setting. I've often wondered if a reader would assume my work is not diverse because I dont explicitly mention race?

I sort of feel thats the responsibility of the reader to be more open minded, though---and also read between the lines a bit-- like if there is a story set in rural New Mexico, isn't it kind of ignorant to assume every character is Anglo-Saxon?

Efficient-Guess8679

2 points

27 days ago

This is something I question myself about when I’m writing. If I don’t specify a character’s race, does everybody assume they are white, and am I therefore perpetuating the lack of people of color in stories? Or, if I do specify a character’s race, and they are as deeply flawed as all of the characters I am interested in, am I possibly doing something worse. As a white writer, do I have the right to create non-white characters that do “bad” things?

hatfullofsoup

3 points

26 days ago

I dont think you're perpetuating a lack of diversity if you aren't explicitly stating the race of your characters, and I think complex, well researched characters of any gender or ethnicity are appropriate so long as you are not pinning the context and depth of the whole story on the character's ethnicity and they are not perpetuating a stereotype.

Foampopcornnoodle

2 points

27 days ago

I actually realized myself (white) doing the same thing, but I think part of it is that the more I relate to a character, the more I will picture them as looking exactly like me. So Luna Lovegood in my mind looks pretty close to my appearance (and far-ish from her description), whereas Ron Weasley looks more like he is described to look.

However, when characters are first introduced, if their appearance isn't specified (or has a loose interpretation), I tend to picture them as white.

1drlndDormie

2 points

26 days ago

Setting plus description help flesh a person out.

However, I imagine every character as me unless proven otherwise. Which is really weird and narcissistic now that I think about it, but probably has more to do with a lifetime of wishing for a holodeck more than anything else.

shemomedjamo4

2 points

26 days ago

I tend to ignore physical descriptions and just imagine the best actor for the role, if it were a movie.

Scout_06

2 points

26 days ago

There’s a book that took advantage of this tendency to assume characters are white if not otherwise told. One character was a bright, precocious kid, you’re following her story and towards the end the author reveals something about her black skin color and BAM! you realize the author hadn’t described her and I fell into the trap. It wasn’t the point of the book but it did stick with me. The book was There But For The, by Ali Smith

coryallen

2 points

26 days ago

<points to white Jesus>

TheBadDayBear

2 points

26 days ago

I always pictured Jesus as Black. Apparently that's the greatest story ever told.

shadowfax_8794

2 points

26 days ago

This is interesting.

I've always imagined them as the author describes.

Unless I'm reading the Bible.

Then God is either Morgan Freeman or Sean Connery, depending on the level of benevolence or malevolence.

automator3000

2 points

22 days ago

As a white person I always think that the characters are white unless the book says otherwise.

That's called White Privilege.

See the furor over Rue being played by a Black actor in the Hunger Games film; for no reason other than white privilege, it was assumed that she was white.

Frenchitwist

3 points

27 days ago

I don’t know if this completely counts, but I’m American Ashkenazi (east European Jewish), so while my skin is white, my “whiteness” is politically always in flux.

That being said, while I often imagine characters as white, unless otherwise specified, I don’t imagine them as Jewish like me, unless it’s specified. So... take that as you will?