Please welcome back author Elizabeth Stephens, who’s here to further the discussion of a somewhat controversial but important topic: Should white writers craft protagonists of color, or vice-versa? A little about Elizabeth from her bio:
Elizabeth Stephens–a self-acknowledged weirdo who has been writing since the age of 11–is a mixed race (black and white) romance and science fiction author and reader of all things that feature tough leading ladies. Her newest release, The Hunting Town, came out July 16, 2017 and is a small town, mafia romance. Last year saw the publication of Saltlands, book two in her dystopian romance series which began with Population. She is a big fan of inclusion and her books always include kick ass ladies of color.
Her day job is in communications for public and private sector clients across Africa.
When she isn’t writing or day-jobbing she can most often be found reading, drawing, throwing pottery, watching horror movies, and protesting for causes that she hopes will make the world a better place for all.
White Writers Writing Non-White Characters: Why I Vote Yes, for Commercial Fiction
I recently came across an article in which an author advocated that white writers should not feature characters of color as leading protagonists in their novels. This author made some compelling points that I believe are critical to consider for all writers of literary fiction looking to portray characters outside of their race. Are you a white author trying to tell the story of a disenfranchised Mexican immigrant? Maybe reconsider.
However, are you a white author of erotica looking to cast a dark-skinned black woman as your leading lady? Please, write on! Because when it comes to mainstream, commercial, and genre fiction, I would wholeheartedly challenge this author’s assumption. Characters of color do just as much for minority empowerment as the authors who write them. Thus, I urge this author and others who share the same opinion to place a small asterisk in their argument. Here’s why:
We need to acknowledge some (frustrating) facts. [Read more…]