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1/ i wanna talk about white writers and creating work that centers POC, without speaking over POC, and while giving POC credit for the labor, trust, and sharing that makes us able to write about characters of colour in the first place.

2/ the other day i was excitedly informing a new friend of getting a MS accepted. i told them of the "diversity" in the novel, thinking they'd be excited to see the representation in an upcoming novel. the response surprised me.

"that's cool. who helped you?"
3/ i was taken aback. sure, i did my research, but no one /helped/ me. i did this writing by myself. i plotted by myself. i spent hours (many of them at my traumatizingly horrid job) editing, structuring, making notes, and re-reading.

how could they just assume i had help?
4/ well... after the bout of #WhiteFeelings passed, i realized that they were right. because in realtime, i didn't actually express my defensive feelings. i tried to justify my research and influences.

- my city's community
- local friend
- friend in the city it's set in
5/ as i listed the people i'd consulted and the situations that had informed my writing choices, i realized that, yes. i had help writing my novel.

i had linguistic help from native arab speakers. i discussed what it's like to be black in a white community. i learned a lot.
6/ upon realizing my white fragility had yet again obscured my thinking, incredulity flared up. how dare i have presumed to have done this without HELP when most of the story is focused on the experiences of people who are in many/most ways not-me?
7/ i tell this story as a reminder for other white writers. the reality of my situation is that i write for readers of colour, my friends who want to see themselves in fiction. i do it for them, and because we don't really need more stories about white people.

8/ there is inherent privilege in being a white writer who gets the OPPORTUNITY to tell another person's story. as a white person writing with many characters of colour, i need to learn to step back. ALL white writers do. we will be given so many more chances than #OwnVoices AOC.
9/ to all white writers trying to be "diverse" in their casting: GIVE PEOPLE OF COLOUR CREDIT FOR EDUCATING YOU.

boost their own creative projects. toss them money for the time they spent teaching. and most of all, don't get arrogant. you didn't do this alone.

you. had. help.
10/ telling stories that center non-white narratives is important. i will always prioritize equal media representation.

but all white writers need to know when to step back and give credit where it's due. BIPOC aren't your silent witnesses. give them the spotlight.

in honour of the "support educators of colour" i'ma drop some links for a few people who educated me

first is @pumpkaboodreams (my fiancée) she has super cool thoughts abt the intersections of blackness, queerness, and disability. cashapp is: $toracat
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