I'm writing a fantasy story and I have a character who is a black princess with healing and defensive powers who is set to be a queen; she's friendly, upbeat, and full of confidence that can sometimes border on arrogance, and due to being trained on how to run a country, likes to step into leadership roles. What can I do to avoid making her both a mammy stereotype and a sassy black woman stereotype?
Arrogant Black Princess with healing and defensive powers
“Sometimes border on arrogance” just let her be confident and sure of herself. You’d be surprised how scarce that trait is in popular media without any caveats.
Well, her abilities and roles are fine, as long as all her time isn’t devoted to
Healing and protecting others while forsaking her own happiness and health (unless it’s acknowledged that this is happening with intentions on unpacking that)
She has a life beyond using her abilities and work work work (running a country is a lot!)
I recommend you give her a life beyond that, plus
People who care for her
Hobbies that don’t necessary relate to benefiting others
Rest from her duties
Sassy Stereotypes and “Arrogant Black Woman”
Whether she’s merely confident and that’s perceived as arrogance from outsiders, or she is in fact quite full of herself - I'm fine with either circumstance. Black characters with a variety of characteristics, flawed or no, are okay.
Just be careful that you, the author, aren't assigning arrogance to someone who is just sure of themselves. Black women being confident is not necessarily arrogance or aggression as is a common misconception we get. So just make sure the actions in the story match up to arrogance if you are painting her that way.
For the sake of stakes and tension, arrogance could definitely be used as a flaw that gets her in trouble, though. Just a thought!
Stereotyped vs Nuanced Characters and Audience Perception
Writing Flawed Black Characters is Okay
How to Avoid Glorifying White Characters (Not the concern here, but read it for the discussion on flaws, reactive and active characters. See how you could apply this to your character)
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