Why Can’t I Write Black Characters?

It’s an academic question. I have written about black, gypsy, gay, young, female, Albanian, even though I’m none of those.

But there are mutterings about a woke Gestapo who think I shouldn’t. I should only write about people like me.

That’s crap. If I only write about straight white men of a certain age, then I can’t mention any intimate relationships. For they could only be between two straight white men, which would make them gay, which is clearly a paradox. DH Lawrence wasn’t an aristocratic sex-starved woman, and Agatha Christie wasn’t a chap from Belgium, but they seemed to find success in the associated works.

What I can’t do is try to get inside the head of someone who’s not like me without doing research, preferably talking to such people and asking them for advice. Plus, avoiding stereotyping should be added to the Ten Commandments. Maybe drop the one about coveting, which is sexist and homophobic. What about not coveting your neighbour’s husband?

Yes, contemporary fiction should reflect our modern diverse society. So, we need to write characters that reflect the world around us, not wallow in a false, homogeneous world.

Published by RobertC

Author of Kezia Lee Mysteries

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