I was on tumblr the other day and I came across some writing advice in the form of a long list. I didn't make a note of the blog I was on, or copy the list itself but basically, it went along the lines of:
By all means, include African Americans in your story - BUT do not presume to tell their story, it is theirs to tell.
Include Native Americans in your story but do not presume to tell their story, it is theirs to tell.
Include gay men in your story but do not presume to tell their story, it is theirs to tell.
Include transgender characters in your story but do not presume to tell their story, it is theirs to tell...
and so on.
I'm sure you get the gist, and the point they were making.
At first sight, I was nodding in agreement - this is merely an extention of the old adage 'write what you know', isn't it? So yeah, I could see some validity in what they were saying. But then I got to thinking. Surely, by the time I'd eliminated all the categories of people in their list whose stories I was not qualified to tell by dint of being who I am, the only protagonist remaining for my stories would have to be a short, fat, middle aged white woman.
Who the hell wants to read about me? I (and everyone else) would be reduced to self insert fic, which I abhore.
I feel suddenly I'm sounding like a Daily Mail reader, but surely this is political correctness gone mad.
Or am I missing something here?
Feel free to pitch in!