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Should white people be allowed to write books about minorities?

Discussion in 'Off-topic Discussion' started by Deleted Account, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. So, I'm not going to post the video I watched that sparked this conversation among my friends, because I kind of know the woman who made it, and I don't want anyone to like go harass her or something. But this is one of the dumbest things I've heard in a while.

    Apparently, there is a sort of "movement" arising that dictates that some people shouldn't be telling some stories. In other more simple terms, if you are a white person, you shouldn't be writing a book about a black main character. Or if you're straight, you shouldn't be writing about a gay main character, etc. Some publishers have actually come right out and said they will not publish a book if its written by someone with a different background than the main character, or if they feel the author is "not the right person to be writing that story."

    My question is, wth kind of idiocy is this? I completely disagree with this. There have been so many great books about diverse characters that were written by straight, white people, and they have gone on to make people see new perspectives and learn and grow.

    The girl who made this video actually said, and I quote, "There have been so many good books written by white, able-bodied people...," she goes on to explain how those books have changed her world view and shown her new people's perspectives and made her thing, introduced her to new cultures, etc. And then she follows that up by saying, "... BUT... it's 2019, and we're critically examining who can tell these stories."

    So... essentially her perspective is that even though all these books she's mentioned are great and well-told stories that aren't offensive in any way... they shouldn't exist, because white people wrote them.

    Someone please tell me this is all just a freaking nightmare. I'm so sick of this racist, sexist, ridiculous crap. I don't understand how someone can go on and on about all these amazing books that have done so much good in the world, including in the world of race relations and expanding people's world views between races and cultures and sexualities, etc.... and then go on to say "but, this is all wrong and bad and we shouldn't do it, because it's racist."

    Sorry, I just had to rant about this, because it's driving me insane. So many people in my community online think this way, and I can't stand it. It's idiotic, backwards thinking. They act as if a white person writing a book about a black person is taking away black author's abilities to write their own books about black people, too. Even though there are millions of books in existence, and they still have all the same opportunities. Nobody is taking anything away from anyone. We can all write whatever we want to write. And if the book is good, why does it matter the race of the person who wrote it? If you care about that over the quality of the writing, then you just might be a racist, yourself.
  2. All people should be allowed to write books about anyone or anything they want. If it's a news source it shouldn't be lies unless it's made clear it's for entertainment purposes. The End.
  3. I agree. I don't know why that is such a difficult concept for some people to grasp.
  4. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

    My Journal
    The world is burning while fools argue who should tell the story of how it happens.
  5. This makes me so angry, I can feel the muscles in my back tighten. The very fact that we are discussing people being allowed to write at all in an allegedly free society is appalling.

    That this assertion is not being met with savage derision from every quarter is proof of a totalitarian mentality on the increasingly powerful progressive left. Just as ominously, it is also proof that the right is just pretending to be an opposition party. This will not end well.
  6. I know you're not legitimately asking this question and instead, it's a title to the thread and topic itself, but that has to be one of the most ridiculous questions I've ever heard. It's funny, I was just in class today and we were discussing censorship and sensitivity readers and whether or not we were for or against them. My point was that because people's perceptions can be flawed, how do we know they know what's offensive or not? Anybody can be quick to call something offensive when it actually isn't.

    Your example is exactly what I'm talking about, but taken to another level.

    May we see this video, though?
  7. KS1994

    KS1994 Fapstronaut

    There's an Australian writer named Peter Carey who dealt with this issue, he ignored it.
  8. Right?! That got my blood boiling as well. I mean, they aren't technically saying you CAN'T write certain things... but that's pretty much what they're saying.

    I definitely agree with that, and I think you should always keep in mind that you can't please everyone when talking advice about something you've written. However, I DO think sensitivity readers are a good idea. If I were going to write about something really sensitive, like a protagonist who is a victim of rape or severe racism, or a gay protagonist coming out of the closet, I would definitely want someone who has that background to read it and give me their feedback. I think that's just part of being a good writer and making your work realistic.

    I suppose I will link it, but please don't be too harsh if anyone decides to comment. I was pretty dang harsh in my comments, so I think if a bunch of people were to start commenting harsh stuff, she might know they came from me. Lol and the authortube community is VERY rarely controversial/argumentative, so I don't want to be the one person who starts a bunch of crap. Although I am going to post my own response to this subject, just on a different YouTube channel than my main account, so as to lessen the backlash.

    The point we are discussing is the last point in the video, and it starts at about 18 minutes in.

    As is my plan. This is one of many reasons I'm self published. I'm not a fan of the way publishers work and their arbitrary "rules" about how long a book should be or how much it should sell for or, now apparently, who is "allowed" to write about certain subjects.
  9. I also just have to say (since I posted the video) that I really love Alexa. She's a really great person, gives a lot of good writing advice, she's brutally honest about the publishing industry and what it's like to be a traditionally published author, and she's pretty much the only sort of "big name" authortuber who actually speaks to us lowly creators with under 200 subs, which I really appreciate. She also is someone who seems to be really open to communication and disagreements, which I think is important.

    On this particular issue, I think she's being a bit dumb, but in general, she's actually really great!

    Alright, carry on. Lol just had to say that first.
  10. brilliantidiot

    brilliantidiot Fapstronaut

    you should be allowed to write whatever the hell you want. period. free speech and all that.
  11. SolitaryScribe

    SolitaryScribe Fapstronaut

    People should be able to do whatever the hell they want. If I see white people listening to Arabic music or walking like an Egyptian i'm not gonna get offended. Heck they could even own a camel!
  12. GripStrength

    GripStrength Fapstronaut

    Should white people be allowed to write books about minorities? Answer: Yes
  13. GripStrength

    GripStrength Fapstronaut

    It’s funny how some people want to push for main characters that aren’t white, just because. But at the same time say you can’t write about a character that isn’t exactly what you are. Alrighty than, I’ll just slowly back away.
  14. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

    My Journal
    Okay, so, it’s pretty clear that I don’t agree with this idea.

    However, I’m going to present a counter-arguement. This is behind a lot of today’s reasoning. Have you ever heard the phrase, “check your privilege”? Yeah, me too. This video is probably one of the best showcases of that:

    Not an easy thing to watch, eh? I won’t ask where you were, but I’d have been right there in the back. So, for me, this argument is all too real. Poverty affects more than just your opportunities in life, it changes your DNA. Seriously, check out epigenetics. Basically, your body adapts to the context of the life you are in and makes it all the more difficult to get out of the cycle of poverty.

    This brings us to minorities. Who is most likely to experience poverty? Minorities.

    So you tell me that one of those white girls in the front should be free to write the story of one of those black dudes in the back and use that to make money? You can see why people would be outraged at this, right? As if their lives aren’t hard enough, now even their poverty goes to make the rich richer?

    I’m not saying this because I agree with it, but just to give you all a glimpse of an angle where this kind of sentiment and reasoning comes from. It’s not right. Even though it is based in something that is trying to be good, it is dangerous. As @Eoghan mac Phádraig rightly said, the way this is happening is a step towards totalitarianism. That white girl in the front should remain free to write and publish without restrictions because freedom is not something we want to impinge. When we start doing that, things get scary.

    So this whole thing is partly based in making the way forward more difficult for privileged people in an attempt to provide more opportunity for those who aren’t. The better answer is to just help those people in the back without impinging anyone’s freedom. But, ofc, we live in a judgemental world and not only does being in poverty make your life so difficult, you end up being seen as wrong by society for the simple fact that you are poor. Homelessness could be fixed very easily. If we accepted that having a safe place to live is part of basic human rights and provided housing to everyone, period, it would go a long way to resolving many of the issues today.

    Even criminals & drug addicts. Give them a home. They will be less dangerous and cost society less if they have a place where they feel they can be safe.

    So yeah, I vehemently disagree with so much of what this is...especially when the world is already in such poor shape. We are in the Holocene extinction and if we don’t change our way as a species, even the atheists will be walking around with billboards saying “the end is nigh” because of how obviously close we are to the point of no return.

    As troubling as these things are because this rhetoric about the censorship of authors on such petty issues is so wrong, they are merely a symptom of a much bigger and far more deadly issue. Human greed is choking the life out of life. And we argue about authors.

    Maybe we deserve to go extinct if this the sum of all our reasoning?
  15. Infrasapiens

    Infrasapiens Fapstronaut

    It makes sense to me. Years ago I ate a not-so-good pizza and I wanted to tell some friends about it but I realized it would be pizzaphobic from me to talk about that because I am not a pizza.
  16. MLMVSS

    MLMVSS Fapstronaut

    Alexa’s video...

    Although I disagree with that part, she at least states it in a nicer manner rather than threaten and intimidate.

    Thing is, why are people complaining that there aren’t enough blacks, Asians or people from the non-straight alphabet soup club, yet they rage whenever one’s added in. This makes no sense.

    Harriet Berger Stowe was a white woman who was never in slavery. Should she have been banned from writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a story about an enslaved black man?

    J.K. Rowling isn’t a wizard and doesn’t know the struggles of one; should she not have written Harry Potter? Especially the past few months when she’s suddenly making everyone gay or trans?

    Tolkien wasn’t a hobbit and didn’t know the struggles of one; should the LOTR/Hobbit series be thrown out?

    Stephanie Meyer isn’t a vampire and doesn’t know the struggle of one; should Twilight be banned? (We know the answer to this one ;))

    E.B. White wasn’t a spider and doesn’t know those struggles; should Charlotte’s Web be thrown away?

    I can literally list plenty of examples of how absurd this claim is.
  17. fiddler

    fiddler Fapstronaut

    "Should white people be allowed..." Why are we talking about making rules that only apply to one race? That is what's called RACISM.

    If we're going to make rules disallowing writing stories about other ethnicities (a completely terrible, impracticable, poorly conceived idea, btw) then they should apply to all races equally.
  18. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

    My Journal
    Part of the problem is that there are also the freedoms of the publisher to take into account. Their decisions in doing this are likely more reflective of the market than of anything else. They just want to make money. This is the trend in society? Then publish to this trend in order to maximize profits.

    And that's the tricky part of this! If a government or agency was to step in and set rules to protect the freedoms of authors from discriminatory practices like these, the backlash from the masses would make headlines in the news! Could you imagine it? "XYZ-Politician-The-Media-Hates says NO to Creating Opportunity for Oppressed Minorities"

    Twitter would explode!

    You can't fix this without addressing the societal problems. In a democracy where the media has succumbed to making profits over presenting a fair and well-rounded case of facts, for a politician to try and tackle this problem could end or cripple their career.
    KS1994 likes this.
  19. Yeah, also I'm pretty certain I don't have the background of a murderer, and yet I just finished writing a book about one. I mean where does that line end? Writers are always writing about people with different background than them. If they didn't, then all their books would be the same.
    GripStrength likes this.
  20. But you might not have portrayed murderers in an accurate light. :rolleyes:

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