Author Note, May 20, 2019
I usually try to avoid getting political, because politics is not what I want to focus on as an author. However, during the weekend, I read an article that made me drop my chin.
I have rolled my eyes at the sensitivity movement before, but I’ve kept it as my personal opinion. Now, I feel that I need to speak up, because this is a very dangerous road we are travelling. If no one is allowed to write from another perspective than their own, and not allowed to draw from other people’s experiences, we lose our ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we lose our ability for empathy. In this day and age, when nationalists are on the rise, we can’t afford to further distance ourselves from people who don’t share the same background, class, race, gender, and sexual orientation as ourselves. To write from other perspectives than our own, is to open ourselves to an understanding of that particular background, class, race, gender, and sexual orientation. That is more important than to be afraid that you will offend someone with your writing.
If we flip the coin, I’d like to ask what would happen if all authors suddenly only wrote about characters from the author’s own background and experiences. We would be accused of invisibility-making, and the accusers would be right. The world is a wonderful mix of all sorts of people. That should be reflected in our writing.
Halle Berry once said, “We need more people of color writing, directing, producing, not just starring. We have to start telling stories that include us. And when stories don't include us, we have to start asking, 'why can't that be a person of color? Why can't that white male character be a black woman?' Why can't it? We have to start pushing the envelope and asking these questions.” This is a very important question. People want to be included. People want to be seen. Writers and filmmakers, no matter what race or gender, have the power to make this happen. Why would anyone want to stop that?