Ethnic Identity in Contemporary Literature Characters
Do you feel it is important to write to the racial/ethnic identity of a character in contemporary literature, even if the subject of the work isn’t directly related to that identity? If so, how much of that racial/ethnic experience is appropriate or necessary to include? How do these levels change if the writer is a different race/ethnicity from the character, and where is the line of insensitivity? For example, hypothetically, a Latinx writer wants to write an Indonesian character in their Young Adult sci-fi novel – how relevant is the character’s identity as an Indonesian to the writing? Or, another real-life example, in David Levithan’s "Every Day", the main character A wakes up in someone else’s body every morning, an identity-less character bodysnatching other characters with numerous different racial/ethnic identities – how important, necessary, and/or appropriate would it have been to include the different racial/ethnic experiences A could potentially go through as these identities, especially considering the race/ethnicity of the author?
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