Author McKayla Eaton disagreed with this, and the two writers had a back and forth on Twitter as well as several non-white authors who Eaton responded to. Though the term "ownvoices" (an author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group) never pops up, that's essentially what's being debated.
A good rule of thumb for white writers is to not write POV characters who are POC. Full stop. Also, involve sensitivity readers for the non-POV rep--including at a premise level before writing the book.— Alisha Erin Hillam (@AlishaEHillam) June 21, 2020
So let me get this straight, as a white author my books should have all white, all straight, all fully abled, middle class characters? Are those the books you want to see? And if your answer is no then what you're really saying is white people shouldn't write books.— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
[Spoiler (click to open)]
So all the heroes should be white then? As most books are written from the hero's POV. And POC should be reserved for sidekicks and tag a longs and villians? Hmmmm and what about if I write in 3rd omniscient? Does that not void your POV distinction?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
What I'm saying, sweetheart, is that by these rules you are forcing white authors into writing books with white protagonist and only secondary characters who are POC which I highly doubt is the sort of fiction you're advocating. Also, what about secondary worlds?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
But you must realize the alternative is white authors white washing their own stories?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
You seem to be rehashing the same sentiment without saying specifics because you see your argument breaks down at that point. Maybe you'll give a straight answer to another question: can POC write white POV characters?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
Can (as I asked in my last comment) POC write white POV characters?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
Hilarious. Another question you've avoided then: second world fantasy. Black characters do not share in black history or experience and therefore do no represent the realities of a black person or their culture. Is it okay for a white writer to write POVs of a non white pp.— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
So race is looks and nothing more?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
That question was litgetimate. You're saying white writers should write POC POVs because they shouldn't be the face of a race they dont believe to. But in secondary worlds someone with black skin doesn't belong to any race we have in reality, they merely share a superficial...— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
This is an important convo. You've put it out there. Everytime I try to ask questions about opinions like this I get told to look at resources. It seems no one wants to actually have a conversation but rather spew their opinion and make other people obey it.— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
Yes, I noticed I am white. I'm speaking up bc white people have been ignoring POC speaking up about this for years, and at the end of the day, I believe it is a white people and that white people need to step up and deal with it— Alisha Erin Hillam (@AlishaEHillam) June 21, 2020
I don't understand what you mean by code.— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 22, 2020
So no I don't explicitly say a character is from X place but it is obvious from context. And my characters should resonate on many levels with readers, I hope, but my black characters are not meant to resonate more so with black readers and vice versa, if that makes sense.— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 22, 2020
@eaton_author— lizzie (@hipstertrashliz) June 22, 2020
we don’t need white authors writing POV as POC. we can do that ourselves. your writing and your voice aren’t wanted if they drown out people who’ve actually experienced the things you so desperately want to claim in your stories.
Also, just another question I thought of in reference to this, and perhaps it will better highlight my problem: if there is space for POC to disagree on this subject is there space for white people to disagree too? And if not then with POC side are we to fall on?— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
I have done the research, I have heard MANY voices on the issues from many sides and I have made my descision. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not informed or thought out.— Mckayla (@eaton_author) June 21, 2020
Then, Eaton's publisher dropped her due to people alerting them to her takes. Eaton is now considering taking legal action as she claims this was a breach of contract.
Their books will be removed from our catalogue. We do not agree or condone this type of behavior and feel their actions no longer align with our mission or what we set out to accomplish as storytellers. The Parliament House was always meant to be a place of support and love.— The Parliament House (@parliamentbooks) June 22, 2020
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