Advice About writing POC When You'er Not

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Possibly A Mermaid Queen
Absolute Sage
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Jul 5, 2012
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(Combining some bits of both versions of this post.)

So...whether or not you're seeing it, your attitude comes across as "white is default." That's an overtly political stance, although as a white woman I get why it's so pervasive. It's the water we all swim in.

And no, I don't think it's all that complicated, although execution within one's writing should always be closely examined.

There are two issues, really: whether to include people not of your race/sexuality in your stories, and whether to deal with issues of discrimination of which you have no first-hand knowledge in your stories.

The first feels like a no-brainer to me. We don't live on a white planet. We live on a wildly diverse planet, and it drives me absolutely nuts when I don't see that reflected in entertainment. I live in New England - not exactly known for its diversity - and when I see more diversity at my local grocery store than I encounter in a book I'm reading, you're damn right I'm going to side-eye that book. That's an author telling on themselves.

The second is a much more complicated issue, and one that should be approached with a lot of research, and some genuine questioning of whether or not you're the person to be writing that particular story.

I'm an Old White Lady, and so not particularly qualified to make declarations. But what seems reasonable to me are two things:

1) It's fine to include characters who are not of your background in stuff you write.
2) It's fine to include characters who are not of your background, and not subject them to racism and discrimination in your particular story.
3) If you're inclined to write about racism and discrimination involving people not of your background, think long and hard about whether that's a story you ought to be writing. And if you decide it is, do your research, get proper critiques, and listen to feedback with humility and receptiveness.
4) We are writers. Writing is hard. Deal with it, and make it work.

My opinions. We are all works in progress.
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