It’s a question I thought I’d left behind when I departed the Ivory Tower: Can someone who is not a [race/faith/sex/species] write about [race/faith/sex/species]? Do we have enough [race/sex/species] in our department or do we need more/fewer [race/sex/species]? OK, species isn’t really a problem in academia, but there are heated arguments over if a male can write Women’s History, if an Anglo can write about China, if So-and-so could be hired because HR had warned the Department that they had too many [whatevers] and might be investigated…and so on.
Fiction – we make stuff up, right? Space aliens, dragons in Shang Dynasty China, super high-tech societies hiding in Central Africa… And we write about it, and people read it or don’t.
And then things like this cross my bow…
A sample: “Publishing still isn’t an equal-opportunity space for people who aren’t white men — but at least we’re talking about it now. It’s hard to remember how limited and lonely the world felt before we reached our current level of cultural awareness of racial, gender, and sexual discrimination — when our discomfort with an all-white male literary panel might go completely unregistered, because outside of private conversations there wasn’t even a place to register it.”
Because apparently no one writes about this and people are yearning to read more.
And so on.
Apparently these folks don’t remember one wee, tiny, vital, important thing:
Readers don’t care what you look like, who you feel romantically inclined towards, which deity you do or don’t believe in, so long as you tell a great story and entertain them.
Just write. Do not worry about being a plaid writer describing spotted aliens. Just. Write. The. Story. Put me in the shoes of someone like me, or different from me. Entertain me, and only then make me think a little, or not at all.