Representing Difference In Writing – The Rumpus

The Rumpus has posted a thoughtful essay by Delaney Nolan about writing poor, black characters as a white fiction writer.

The purpose of good literature, as far as I can tell, is to find a common human ground that we can all relate to. So I’m not going to represent difference by pretending like I know exactly where Marie’s coming from, or by throwing in a rainbow-colored cast. But I know, at least, some things we have in common now. I know what it’s like to rely on family who’re in a hard place themselves. I know what it’s like to be isolated, to be powerless. I know what it’s like to be, in some sense, unhoused. I don’t know precisely what life is for the people on Marais Street, but I can get myself partway there, and the rest of that bridge is what makes fiction necessary and superlative—empathy, understanding, and a sincere belief in some common thread of humanity.

Read the rest here.

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