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Writing with Color has received several asks on this topic.
Everything from “how do I describe my character’s skin tone without being offensive?” and “what’s the problem with comparing my character to chocolate and coffee?”
I’m hoping to address all these and likewise questions in this guide on describing POC skin color, from light, dark and all that’s in between.
The Food Thing: So what’s the big deal?
So exactly what is the problem with comparing POC skin tone to cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar and other sweets and goods? Well, there’s several potential problems you come across when you pull out the old Hershey’s bar comparison for your dark-skinned character, even if offense is not your intention.
I was cringing at the puns. Good job.
Character: Cosima Niehaus and Delphine Cormier
Appears in: Orphan Black
Commonly Interpreted as: Lesbian
But Really: Cosima is canonically in a relationship with Delphine Cormier.
She never expresses interest in a man in the course of the series, leading many fans to interpret her as a lesbian. However, she never explicitly identifies as a lesbian, and in this article Tatiana Maslany, her actor, confirms that she is bisexual:
John and Graeme [the screenwriter and director] had mentioned to me early on that Cosima was bisexual, and I could feel it in the writing even when it wasn’t explicit. I feel like she identifies as bisexual, and very much understands her sexuality as a spectrum from a scientific viewpoint.
Delphine is also bisexual. While at first she is startled and confused by Cosima’s advance, she soon admits that she ‘never considered bisexuality’, before kissing her.
Therefore, they are both bisexual.
Thanks to fibonaccisequins for this submission.
The Controversy: Unfortunately, in the show other characters have referred to Cosima and Delphine as lesbians. Also, Graeme and Tatiana have also casually referred to Cosima as ‘gay.’ At one point in an interview Graeme said, “I think Cosima’s been “bisexual” (if you had to codify it), but maybe she’s ready to self-identify as gay.” However, in the text Cosima has refused to label herself (classic bi-but-won’t-use-labels trope) and Delphine actually called herself bisexual. So, as of the end of Season 2, they’re both bisexual.
I’ve figured it out: My type is tall, handsome and dorky as fuck
god, just— apart from everything else i really, really love about my religion, apart from the food and the lighting of the candles, apart from getting to share something with my family that isn’t tangled up in unhappiness, apart from the sheer pride at being part of a tradition that stretches back for over three thousand years, apart from the long rambling philosophical discussions we had in hebrew school and apart from the peculiar happiness of having an identity that is separate and makes you separate and makes you stand out and makes you you—
i think so much of what i love about my religion is that it is so inherently grounded on the idea that stories are important.
my mother likes to say that biblical stories exist in order to teach us moral lessons, in order to get us to behave a certain way, but i don’t think that’s quite right; after all, it’s a book of laws. there are pages and pages of this is unclean, this is unholy, this is unfair, this is good and right, act this way, do not act this way, on and on
but genesis begins, very simply, with this is the story of our family.
and somebody knew, somewhere along the line— to not eat pig, to rest on the seventh day, to pray, these are rituals you perform every day, these are things you make your body do
but things like woman, snake, fruit, paradise, or and the seas parted, or there was once a giant and a boy with a slingshot— these are the things that stick, these are the narratives that you can use to build a structure in your head, like the outlines in a coloring book.
these were people who understood that making laws will build you a city, but telling stories will build you a civilization
and that “but did it really happen?” is so, so much not the point.
(314): You just said we could build a blanket and pillow “fuck fort.” Of course I’m never leaving you.
(443): I’m in the city buying alcohol. I just got warned by a homeless man on the street that I shouldn’t look so pretty “in these parts”
I like to imagine that kel runs into some trouble when she’s a little drunk. It’s nothing too serious, but she doesn’t have anyone to call. Her family are in Mindelan, and Neal and Dom both when to visit their hometowns and she knew better than to go drinking with Cleon but it sounded fun, but he’s defiantly to drunk to drive and she could call roald but he was also with his family and they were all together for once and she remembers that she has professor Goldenlake’s number and she calls him and it doesn’t matter where she is, he’s right there in a heart beat to take her back to campus. He doesn’t judg,e he just hands her some water and goes to find cleon to get him back as well and yeah
stop calling every fucking pejorative a slur
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