How Racism Hurts White Writers

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The fight against inequality, the fight against The Default, is a fight for white spiritual and emotional freedom, not just the freedom of people of color, women, or gays and lesbians.

In a diffuse but thought-provoking essay at Salon, Kartina Richardson explores the idea of whiteness as neutral, and how it limits writers of every race.

She covers miles of ground, from Lena Dunham’s problematic version of writing what you know to Tao Lin’s strategy of glossing over his characters’ ethnicities because “If I put in a character’s race, some readers would assume, like, ‘Oh his problems are because he’s being discriminated against.'”


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →