Interesting post! I had never heard of "Atticus Finch syndrome" before, but you've intrigued me. In the case of stories of minority peoples written by white authors, it seems that perhaps the syndrome is simply reflective of the white author's lack of confidence in her/his ability to genuinely represent the story from a minority point of view. It's been so long since I wrote any sort of fiction, but while I might try as best I could to empathize with and imagine the point of view of a minority character, I think I would be deathly afraid to try to write from a minority point of view for fear that I would make assumptions that are hopelessly naive and/or ignorant. So maybe "AFS" isn't so much a problem with individual works of fiction that tell a story of minority people from a white point of view but instead is a problem with such stories being given precedence over stories by minority authors telling those stories from a minority point of view?


Actually, it's a movie I've never had an interest in seeing. I'm well aware of the Navajo code talkers. There have been several documentaries on them, and some of the older WWII movies acknowledge their role (though not focusing solely on their story). Interestingly, the code used by the "code talkers" was kept classified until 1968.


Despite it's faults, it was still a good movie;
although, like you, I would prefer that Hollywood not embellish history. =]


How do yo do it?

Ariel, Ariel, Ariel!
(note: The Happy Feminist is still anonymous; that is my just name for her)

How do you do it?
Do all lawyers write as much as you? Where do you find the time? =)

Anyway, dave admires you, and says, "keep up the good work."
You care about other people, and your writing reflects it,
and that is important.

grace & peace to you,
dave =D


I agree with GH. If the writer/film maker/whatever is white themselves and they wish to convey a story regarding the triumph of some minority group it is almost impossible for them to not get blindsided by one of two factions. If they tell it from a white perspective then they get accused of falling into the so-called "Atticus Finch syndrome" however when they attempt to tell the story from the perspective of the minority they run the heavy risk of getting told that there are huge errors in the story or they the emotions were just not right and that there is no way for them to accurately tell the story because they are not of that group and thus cannot know the true struggles (or insert whatever reason is given for a person of one group not being able to accurately tell the story of another group) of the group they were trying to portray. Personally of the two I would rather err on the side of telling the story from the perspective of my group were I to enter the field of storytelling.


Thanks for the movie review - I'll look for the documentary as well as the fictionalized version. I've always thought that Pat Conroy's "The Lords of Discipline" exemplified the Atticus Finch syndrome, even before I heard the term.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

Personally of the two I would rather err on the side of telling the story from the perspective of my group were I to enter the field of storytelling.

I'd rather err whichever way the story happens to come to me. I just finished a story from the point of view of a Latina character, because that happened to be the character that I was inspired to write, and the way I was able to write it was in first person. I figure it's fiction, so I'm allowed a character who isn't me, and I do have some background that lets me flesh out this particular Latina character. But on the other hand, I do need to know enough about my viewpoint character to make her somewhat plausible, even if I don't always have to be the same race or sex as that character.

I think, though, GH is right that the issue isn't so much individual works of fiction as what stories are given precedence.

The Happy Feminist

I agree with GH too. I still think though that the story would have been fresher and more interesting with more focus on the Navajo characters.

Dave, I actually DON'T have time to write as much as I do. It's a compulsion. It may be hit or miss this week though because I'm awfully busy in my real life.

nick turner

I am interested in your plight please put me on your e-mail listing. because I believe in the way the lord made love of everything the key to life everlasting. thank you


In many ways, Windtalkers is a typical John Woo action film, complete with all the expected pyro-technic mayhem.

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