Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 7 months ago

I need help with describing a character in a novel who looks Asian?

I don't want to sound racist or offensive when I describe the character. I just want my characters to have different cultures and personalites. I just have a hard time doing it, because he's never going to say out loud, "I'm Asian. My parents are from Korea." What are some creative and non basic ways to describe him and give a hint to readers that he's from Asia?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Update:

The reason why I'm hesitant to acknowledge the race of my characters is because they live in a world that is not ours. In the book, it doesn't have countries or continents. I'm very sorry for not being clear before.

16 Answers

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  • 7 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Why does it need to be spelled out after you already said he was from Korea?

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  • denise
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    Olive skinned, Almond eyed, ??

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    If your characters live in a world that is not Earth, then your character is not "Asian" or "Korean" because there is no "Asia" and no "Korea" in that world. What features make you think "This man is an Asian" when you see him? What makes you think "This girl is European" - German perhaps." ? My ancestors were North Germans, and when I was with a tour of English and Scots to Germany, the German guide in one museum thought I was not part of the group because I "looked like a German". Yet I'm as born Canadian as my fellow tourists. My boss is a born Canadian too, but his racial makeup is Korean,

    • Karen7 months agoReport

      Thanks for the advice, but the book I'm writing is like The Hunger Games. It's on Earth, but not our Earth. It's changed; the ways of life are very different. All I want is for the main character to describe him in a way people will understand where he came from, if he lived in our Earth today.

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  • 7 months ago

    I like adding a lot of diversity to my stuff too. Don't think you're being offensive by simply stating what someone is. In describing a character's ethnicity, I kinda like being playful and colorful with the language. In one of my short stories, titled "Tough", I wrote that my heroine's mother is "a lovely Hawaiian nurse who frequently made her award-winning strawberry mochi for the neighborhood kids" and her Caucasian father as being "a handsome, fiery-haired police detective." Then, I gave her the name "Malaya", which is thought to be of Hawaiian/Philippine origin. Describing her unique and exotic looks was kinda fun to me, especially as my lead male role looked upon her "quiet Eurasian beauty." Just be creative, have fun with this, and stop worrying too much what people think.

    Source(s): Contributor to Hubpages.com
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  • 7 months ago

    Don't hesitate to say someone is Korean, or French, or black, or whatever. If we start tip-toeing around words like these, we run the risk or making it seem as if being Korean or French or black is somehow bad and embarrassing.

    • bluebellbkk
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      *risk OF, of course. Sorry.

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  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    Numbnuts, Nobody is going to be reading your novel. You can just state that the person is of “blank” origin. This isn’t racist. We are all human beings. We are all one race. We can all make babies together. Stop thinking like a progressive leftist.

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  • 7 months ago

    I would turn it around and say that if there's nothing about him that indicates that he's Asian, then why make him Asian?

    Being mixed myself and having friends from all over the world, my personal experience is that people's culture often tend to reflect somewhat in their lifestyle and their activities, maybe have him Skype with his grandmother in Korea or have him mention something that happened to his family during the Korean war, have him grown up with Korean food and maybe make Korean food for his friends, celebrate Korean holidays etc.

    • bluebellbkk
      Lv 7
      7 months agoReport

      The asker has blocked me, but I'd just like to add that 'Asia' covers a great many countries, so she's going to have to be specific about Korea at some point.

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  • Speed
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    Since readers default to Caucasian, you have to say--but you don't have to be the narrator making an announcement. You can have other characters interact with your Korean guy and make remarks, ask questions, whatever.

    Example:

    I'd been in Heidi's class since sixth grade and she'd never spoken directly to me, but she walked up to us and interrupted. "Daniel, can you help me?" She tossed her long hair over her shoulder.

    "Uh, sure, I guess."

    "It's calculus. I know you're good at math."

    My friend shared a look with me. "I am?"

    "Sure, all of you guys are good at math."

    "Us guys, people who went to East Middle School?"

    "No, Asian guys."

    "You're thinking of Japanese guys. I'm from Kansas City."

    She laughed uncertainly. "No, your people."

    "Oh. My parents are from Philadelphia. My grandparents, they're from Korea. No special talent for math."

    "You're kidding."

    "Not really. I got a B in algebra--just barely."

    This makes Heidi and Daniel be the ones who tell the reader.

    • ...Show all comments
    • Marli
      Lv 7
      7 months agoReport

      It also shows that Heidi had a false conception of Daniel based on his appearance. He looks Asian, therefore he is 1) good at math and 2) not a born American citizen.

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  • j153e
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    If one checks the photos of a selection of e.g. Korean men, there are varieties: http://beauty-around.com/en/tops/item/100-samye-kr...

    A video of Psy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vy-zilON8k

    Youtube thumbnail

    Maybe begin with his hairstyle?

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  • 7 months ago

    He is super skinny, and his coat always reminds me of that bar b que place just down the street. You know that restaurant, Kim Lee's bar b que. they have such good food, I love going there.

    Its not racist to describe someone as Asian. People are who they are. There is a lot of PC crap going around. Don't listen to it because, maybe just maybe, it has no impact on your life. People are people and if you treat them like average people, then they are just that. An average person. And who knows, your boy in this story could be the son of landed immigrants who own that restaurant. Many first time immigrants open businesses as a way to earn a living while they learn the language.

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