I’m currently working on the script for my manga project Astral Rain for the April edition of Camp NaNoWriMo 2014. Well, more accurately, I’ve been working on a lot of background notes, plot notes, and world-building because I noticed that a lot of that hadn’t been worked out in advance. As I was writing, I came across the article “I’m Demanding Better Representation For Black Girl Nerds in Geek Culture” by Chaka Cumberbatch. And that’s when it hit me: all of my characters in Astral Rain are white.
Granted, it’s supposed to be an OEL (Original English Language) manga, and most anime and manga lack people of color. I have no problem featuring white characters, but what surprised me is that the idea of any of the cast of Astral Rain being anything but fair-skinned never occurred to me. And that concerns me.