Cultural Appropriation: can a white writer ever create minority characters?
When is it okay for a white writer to create a black character? For instance, I'm white, but writing an urban fantasy featuring a bi-racial (black mother, absent white father) jazz musician who's down-on-his-luck... because he's a heroin addict like many jazz musicians. It's set in 1978, and (like me back in the late 70s/ early 80s) he's a huge P-Funk fan so he slips P-Funk-isms into his thoughts, like calling the antagonist, a white drug dealer he owes money to, as "Sir Nose d'Voidofunk." My question is, would folks see that as cultural appropriation? I'm interested because I'm a huge social justice progressive and yet often feel stymied by political correctness. My intent is to embrace Jimmy (who I really, really like despite his flaws). In fact, of all the characters in my urban fantasy world, Jimmy's the one most like myself (though I've never tried heroin and am a middling jazz guitarist at best). Thanks in advance. PS. Everyone wins. But in payment, I'll read your most recent work and comment. Please tag me in your comments.
Can a black writer ever create a white character?
The bigger question is: what is the significance of the character's skin color in and to the story?