I was so thankful to find this forum. It may help me decide what to write or not to write (more about that later). It also soothes my soul to see any community just speaking kindly and making that their goal. I'm white, and unfortunately, I feel awkward asking my black friends too many questions about what it means to be black or white, because I guess I don't want to make it a big deal. We do discuss how it's best to be able to talk about our differences, specifically that there is beauty in diversity. One of my best conversations was when my friend who is mixed (but gets identified only as black... a whole other subject) told me what she has observed about white culture. It was so freeing to be able to analyze openly and respectfully. But those conversations are few and far between. Anyway, maybe you can see how that sort of confuses me as I work on the novel I'm writing. More context: For many of my formative years, I grew up white in a mostly black and latino community. I acclimated to these cultures, though most of the friends I bonded with were black. When we got to jr high, it was as if some invisible line was drawn, and everyone just went into their racial groups. It was really annoying, and none of us talked about it with each other. I haven't been close to the same elementary school friends since. Since, I've lived in a lot of other cities with diverse elements of these "lines" that get drawn depending on the city. The most discouraging for me was when I lived in Pasadena, CA. There's an area called AltaDena that is almost completely black, and that's where, I hate to say, the white people I was friends with would say, "Don't live there." Of course, it's always said that it was dangerous, and that's why people don't live there. My experience growing up told me that their quick description had sooo many layers to it, and most of those layers were jacked up. I am now familiar with the ugly things rich people (usually white) did even after civil rights to strip the last chances of dignity the black community had, in many cities. I know that the topic is way more complicated, and that danger is an unfair way to describe a community. I'm ashamed for my own race, just admitting to you what I've been told and that I even thought of researching it and not just yelling at each person right then and there. I'm so sorry for it. It's awful. I promise you'll see I have a good heart in a sec here (at least that I'm trying). I just moved to another city (Austin, TX), and I heard the same things again. This city is mostly white. Pasadena at least had more diversity so I'm slowly dying inside; I swear. There is, however, a whole area of town -- "the east side"-- which has a decent sized area where mostly black people live, and then there is an area where mostly latino people live. My husband and I talk about moving there all the time, and we might. There's a bigger movement in white circles to stop segregating ourselves from these type of communities with the "danger" or bad schools excuse. I do not endorse the gentrification stuff by the way. Not into that either. (Again, I'm sorry to even admit conversations like this happen in the first place.) I was told so many times again when we moved here, "Don't move to the east side: bad schools, crime, etc." This only pissed me off even more to see a people's home area described so generically, and the devastation in black communities (I grew up near Compton, for instance) still makes me confused and unable to admit that we are passed racism, or at least we are clearly not past the effects of it. I got so pissed, I started writing a book, geared toward white people, since I'm white. The main girl character is white. The town is similar to Austin, separated by color still. Right now, I've worked it so that a fire on the east side has the other colors (for lack of a better way to put it) move to the the rest of town. Maybe it would be way cooler if I made the white people get taken care of by the black/latino people though (like they have to move to the east side of town). That may be way better. Anyway, I think you see my beginning: something crazy happens that forces people to mix worlds. Obviously, I cannot just write a white person in this story because the context requires diverse characters. I wouldn't consider myself so uninformed and silly that I cannot write other human beings which happen to have different color skin and culture. On the other hand, I've heard often about white people writing black characters which black people don't like. (Like, I'm pretty sure more white people liked the Help, right?) That is really scaring me, because I don't want to be THAT girl. I am pretty good at putting myself in someone else's shoes, and my role in writing the black characters would really be to humble white characters in the story, so maybe that should just be my only goal, because I can really only speak to my culture about this, in my view. So many thoughts... So, if you've stuck with my in this LONG post, would you mind giving me your feedback? ANy feedback is welcome about anything I said above, but here are some questions off the top of my head. 1) What do you have to say about why white people don't move to black people areas? Why don't black people move to white areas as much? Especially tell me what I seem to be misunderstanding or needing to be informed of. 2) If I were writing from the perspective of, say, a black family who had to live with a white family after the fire, what would you want to see discussed? Or if I did the opposite (white family has to live with black family), how would you want the black community represented? 2) Is there a desire in the black community to decrease the segregation that still remains in cities? (Obviously, I'm not talking Jim Crow stuff, but I still cannot help but notice that somehow many cities still have separated-- segregated-- areas, by race, and people on both sides are keeping it this way.) Is this separation ok? 3) Do you even think this is an issue worth talking about? If so, why? I'm having such a hard time even thinking of how I'd end the book because I guess I don't know what the ideal is that I'm working toward. I think the ideal I'm working for is to clarify understand, but I guess I don't want to move forward until I know I've taken the chance to understand the culture I myself don't represent. 4) What do you think about this: It's not bad for people to live within their own culture so I don't want to say everyone would ideally have to equally integrate and disperse, but... is there something that still needs to change, specifically as it relates to city districting and what it represents?