For today’s discussion post I wanted to talk about a topic that’s become so sensitive: ownvoices stories and writing about minorities.
Let’s set the scene first and give you a peek into the #ownvoices trend!
“Stories about the civil rights movement should be written by black people. Stories of suffrage should be written by women. Ergo, stories about boys during horrific and life changing times, like the AIDS EPIDEMIC, should be written by gay men. Why is this so hard to get?”
And honestly…I was mad!
Because it’s kind of an insult to writers to think they can’t write from another POV successfully!
Of course minorities have to be respected but they don’t have to become an excuse used to bash authors daring to write about them while not being part of their identity group!
Many authors write their stories from different POV and most of them are characters who share few or no common character traits with the author!
Has anyone questioned male writers who wrote female leads and vice versa? No or rarely. No one screamed murder!
The same can be said if a gay/lesbian writer writing an heterosexual romance or an author of color writing a white main lead. No one usually question them! So someone from a marginalized group can write from the majority POV and no one bats an eyelash but try the opposite and you’d be burned like a witch? That’s double standard and total hypocrisy!
Of course being part of said minority will probably give an added layer, an extra shine to your story! It will ring authentic and legitimate. And I have loved some formidable own voices stories like Birthday by Meredith Russo.
But I think that as long as you are respectful, as long as you research properly, talk with people from these marginalized groups and if need be use sensitive readers you can write from any POV you want!
Now if you are patronizing then expect to face much criticism and I’ll be the first to hold the pitchfork!
But if you are talented, empathetic, meticulous in your research and respectful then yes, you can.
To conclude my “case” I would send you to two very interesting posts part of our #ownvoices tour.
The first is written by Susan Fanetti, a white female indie writer who explains why she dared writing about main leads of color: read it HERE.
The first is from Talia, @redhotink as she used part of an interview that I had done with Suanne Laqueur to describe why she thinks Suanne did a fantastic job writing about a MC who is Porto Rican and bisexual while Suanne is… not! Read it HERE.
Now it’s your turn! Are you determined to read #ownvoices only? Do you think authors can write about marginalized groups they are not part of?
Thanks for reading!