siriussandra asked: I'm considering writing a novel of a female Robin Hood, and was wondering if it could be historically accurate to write her as being half-Asian? The story would take place in the 12th century in England. Do you have any information on Asian people living in England at that time?
Of course. Asia and Europe aren’t even a separate landmass, after all.
Here are some links to give you a broader perspective on the kinds of people who would have been in Medieval England, Europe overall, how and why they got there, and how long they would have been there for.
Western Europe via Venice (trade gateway)
Black and Asian Performance in British History (V&A Museum)
P.S. Asian people in Medieval European art are usually “marked” that way via clothing, not physical characteristics.
P.P.S. There’s a good bit of evidence that a character like the one you describe would not have necessarily been perceived as physically “other” or “different” by Medieval English society; but you’re writing for people reading this story now. Probably keep that in mind.
Also, an Asian woman as a Robin Hood type character would make a fascinating story and a lot of sense! Many Asian nations/regions have a long tradition of women warriors.
- Khutulun, Wrestler Princess
- Queen Sondok
- Queen Manduhui
- The Trung Sisters
- Lady Hö’elün
- Shagrat Al-Durr
- Empress Chabi
- Sorghatani Beki
- The Great Khanum (and eight princesses)
- The Katuns (Queens) of Mongolia
One more fun thing: Trotula of Salerno, who revolutionized Medieval medicine by and for women, synthesizing knowledge flowing out of Asia and the Middle East regarding medicine and specifically gynecology. In Medieval Europe, some of the most well-known people of color were physicians, because African and Asian medicine was pretty revered.
It all depends on what kind of story you want to tell. You can have some pretty epic Merry Men and Women, too!
This is cool and all, but you know she doesn’t have to be half white, right?
She can be entirely Asian and still belong in 12th century England.
I see this a lot, and I dunno, it kind of makes me uncomfortable that people are willing to write biracial protagonists with a white parent more often than monoracial protagonists, or biracial protagonists without white parents. And a lot of these biracial protagonists are very similar - overwhelmingly, it’s the mom who’s a PoC who has travelled alone to be with her white husband, and a biracial protagonist is usually born in the white country while all the monoracial characters are immigrants, the biracial protagonist usually has a white name while monoracial characters don’t, and a lot of the time the biracial protagonist feels equally alienated from both sides of their heritage… and these stories are really rarely written by biracial people. They’re usually written by white people who feel like biracial people are more watered-down, approachable people of color they can write. And that’s a disservice to both monoracial and biracial people.
A monoracial Asian Robin Hood would be just as at home in the Sherwood Forest she grew up in. A monoracial Asian Robin Hood would face the same difficulties you’re probably planning for your biracial Asian Robin Hood - worries about losing her culture, difficulty speaking her parents’ language, worries about not looking like the other kids - these are diaspora things, not biracial things.
I dunno, it just feels like monoracial people are being marked as More Foreign, while biracial people are considered more assimilated by default? And that’s really not how it works. You don’t need a white parent to tether a PoC protagonist into a story. Interracial marriages and biracial people aren’t cheat codes for getting PoC into a mostly-white or racist environment. They’re just one way of many that PoC characters can happen, and it’s worth exploring the others too. It’s not more ‘realistic’ to have one Asian woman moving into the village to live with her white husband than it is to have a couple of Asian families moving in. Just because ‘white guy brings home foreign wife’ is a familiar narrative in our culture doesn’t mean it’s the most ‘realistic’ or the most interesting. If reading medievalpoc has taught you anything, it should be that multiple people of color in 12th century England are not impossible or improbable, and that people of color had many reasons and ways to come to England.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t write a biracial protagonist, but I’m saying you should think a bit harder about why you’re doing this, and what you think would be different if she had no white heritage.
Apparently kylesimmonsstache gets really excited about art.
LET’S FUCKIN TALK ABOUT ART
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THIS LOOKS LIKE A SCENE OUT OF A MOVIE
OH SWEET LOOK AT THIS SCULPTURE RIGHT
JUST WAIT A FUCKIN MINUTE HERE
THIS IS A DRAWING MADE TO LOOK LIKE A SCULPTURE I CAN’T FUCKING
LOOK MORE SWEET ASS COLORED PENCIL DRAWINGS
NOW I’M ABOUT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT MY BRO BERNINI OKAY JUST TRUST ME ON THIS
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Every writer needs a little writer fuel, whether it’s fueling your body, or your mind. Every week, staffers at Camp NaNoWriMo HQ will be telling you about the food and the music that inspires them. Today, executive director Grant Faulkner unpacks the power of ‘the fool’:
To get where you’re going, sometimes you’ve got to go the wrong way. You might not truly know what it feels like to stand right side up until you stand upside down. Sometimes you have to wear a costume to find out who you are.
NaNoWriMo is famous for its “just show up” approach to writing. But sometimes you’ve got to know when to not show up, or rather, when to show up in a different way. I say this because “showing up” to revise my novel during this session of Camp has felt like an exercise in rigidity of late.
"When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit. You can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened." - Alan Moore
WolfCop - Poster
In theaters June 6, 2014
This is how Derek Hale gets arrested, AGAIN, protesting outside the Beacon Hills movie theater with a sign he made that says: REPRESENTATION, NOT EXPLOITATION. Or—that’s not how he gets arrested. He’s out there for most of opening weekend, wearing various sweaters in cosy colors. He has some pamphlets, if people are interested. He dutifully explains to people who say, look, the werewolf is the HERO in the movie, what’s the problem? Again and again. No actual werewolves were involved in this movie in any way—that would have been a good start. It doesn’t matter if he’s the hero if the movie still portrays being a werewolf as a freakish, terrifying, disgusting thing that happens to your body instead of a core part of your identity. This movie is lurid fetishization dressed up as progress. Here’s a list of independent werewolf films if you’re interested.
How he gets arrested is that Isaac shows up late on Saturday night, takes one look at the college kids laughing at Derek while he talks to an NPR-Mom, and leans in and snatches their tickets out of their hands, rips them in half.
"Don’t worry about it, you can still see a werewolf," he snarls, grabbing one of them by the shirtfront, fangs dropping. Derek pulls him off, but not before he clocks one of them pretty good. They both spend the night in jail.
NPR-mom testifies at the trial. Derek is cleared. Isaac gets community service and discovers his talents at teaching toddlers gymnastics at the local Boys and Girls Club. The makers of Wolf Cop issue a formal apology. Claw and Order, a gritty crime drama where most of the wolf characters are played by real werewolves and they have a werewolf script advisor, debuts on HBO with record-breaking ratings. Derek has it on his DVR but is 13 episodes behind because it’s intense and sometimes really sad.
Pack + 1 is on ABC at 8:00 on Fridays; it’s an hour-long family dramedy about a dysfunctional pack and their reluctant emissary, who learn lessons about love and trust after taking in an orphaned wolf pup. Derek watches it live and then downloads it from Itunes and also he bought the soundtrack for season 1, but that’s because it’s important to show support, he says, it’s not—it’s just—it’s a kid’s show, but—but. It’s pretty well written, he mutters.
Change begins at home.
There are a few ways to save the world
guns, micromanagement, celibacy,
tiny seeds in the teeth, exomoons, the color red,
vivid technicolor war veterans, topology, trauma theory,
razor-sharp limes, upside-down fundamentalism, squeegees,
celestial hexes, endless ragas, motionless pharmacies,
telekinetic mozel tovs, rusty hair-clips, a nest of iron gavels,
worse-case-scenario gorges, nullified stampedes, double nausea,
sensible children, graffiti-covered underwear, various knots,
extant seahorses, mellifluous ovaries, cost-effective moles,
conscientious rejectors, nieces of Gaius Caesar, petrified wrists,
Horatian odes, solar power, Bahktin’s sleeping pills,
lead-free imagery, Shamanic medicine, deflated gauze,
anonymous ducks, gourd-faced lepers, unsightly hacky sacks,
totality, going in and out of the water at night, Veneris rutabagas,
America, Russia, and Spain,
psychopaths, a full round O, George Oppen’s mortal tern,
a single fisherman, analogues of dark blue, the smallest flowers,
Sappho dressed in black, endless cravings, the knife of twinkling eyes,
an ’80s drum machine, the final stanza of Césaire, the Supreme Court,
women at least one millimeter long, Vulgarian streetcars, conversations,
shovelfuls of wilderness, baby air, white squirrels,
universalist sermons, unmolested Martians, early asteroid detection,
elderly ladies in beach towels, sustainability manifestoes, bacteriology,
Aristotelian vacuums, automatic listening, the zone of closure,
the wool trade, the periscope trade, daguerreotypes washed in blood,
planet-stricken commonwealths, excessive passion, cinder-block mucous,
the opinions of Galen, a gilded scabbard, 100 tounges,
the catalog of ignoramuses, modest flirting, monstrous fictions,
detailed descriptions of a good husband, counterfeit religions, uvula magic,
reusable hand-warmers, howling like a wolf, French toy shops,
arguments about chamber windows, somersaults, nondescript urns,
walking around as both sexes, sleeveless errands,Tristan Tzara,
buying newspapers by the sea, task forces of elision, disaster mouths,
pelvis frenzy, the intersection of gum, jets jets jets!,
moccasin hookahs, Sacajawea happy hours, sleazeball timber-mills,
the cake of Matilda’s sanctuary, warmongering, teasing the opal rain,
the eruption of contradiction within the real, sailors’ guile, the hangman’s knot,
two satchels of company tickets, typists, reenactments of the syntax wars,
gargoyle bobble-heads, prophetic baths, filling space with jazz pajamas.
art by austin1227