I don’t really know what to say except talk to Black people before writing. It’s easy to look “at” a Black life or think you know about what it’s like to be Black, but we are not a monolith.

Another thing you need to decide when writing about Black characters is who your audience is. It’s pretty easy to fool White people when creating Black characters. Hollywood has classically trained the White mind and eye on the Black experience. If you’re writing for Black eyes and Black minds, you should spend ample time reading scripts written by Black writers and movies written and produced by Black artists. The depth of the stories are deeper, more intense. The story lines are different because our lives are different though Hollywood rarely depicts our lives in properly for Black eyes.

I have read writing written by Whites and I walk away always feeling only the surfaced was touched or the story lines are not believable. There is a passion and level of intensity that comes with the Black experience that most people never get to experience due to privilege. While there are somethings we have in common that cross color-lines (i.e. sexual, physical, and emotional abuse), there are many subjects that White writers simply can’t tackle in a that would be believable to Black readers. I suggest picking subjects to write about that we all experience, regardless of race and ethnicity and you’re good.

A White lesbian experience and a Black lesbian experience is different (trust me I know I’m gay). The social settings, advocacy and supports White lesbians have Black lesbians do not, especially Black trans women/men. Being Black and poor and White and poor may be similar, but resources available to us are likely not the same. If you haven’t experienced this, then you don’t know. Choose your subject matter wisely, conduct ample research, and even then — because you’re privilege insulates you from many of our experiences, it’s kind of difficult to write for us if you aren’t us. Writing about us is easy. Writing as us is a horse of a different color. Know the Black subjects and characters your write about for the greatest success.

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