I was reading locuas642′s Crystal Gems omnibus test for representation of women, and thought back to proposals for Racial Bechdel(-Wallace) tests.
Deggans’ rule recommends the following:
- At least two non-white human characters in the main cast…
- …in a show that’s not about race.
Alaya Dawn Johnson’s test goes like this:
- It has to have two POC in it,
- Who talk to each other,
- About something other than a white person.
Ars Marginal posted the following test:
- At least one named character of color,
- Whose primary trait is not their race,
- Who does something important besides help a White person.
I also have an interest in whether such a character has a narrative arc of their own, as well as pushing the discussion beyond just 1 or two POC characters in a cast. Some who have discussed the Mako Mori test have criticized how the test is not usually utilized in relation to Mako Mori being a POC character as well as a woman. Basically, I would like to see the conversation about POC in fiction be elevated beyond mere quantity of representation to include the quality of representation.
So here’s my draft of a Racial Crystal Gems test:
- A work must have at least four POC characters.
- It must pass Deggans’ Rule;
- It must pass Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Racial Bechdel-Wallace test;
- It must pass the Ars Marginal test;
- At least one POC must have a narrative arc of their own, which is not about supporting a white person (literally the racial Mako Mori test);
- At least one POC must be meaningful enough to the plot that removing the character would have a significant effect.
- Each [major POC] character must pass at least one of these tests, and each test must be passed by at least one [major POC] character; the more times you can repeat the previous step, the better.