There are plenty of general threads about diversity etc. but I don’t want to hijack them with a specific question about my character. I’ve been writing and re-writing the same story for a few years now and I’m still not finished. The main character has always remained the same, a girl in her late teens with brown skin. I’ve pictured her that way without thinking about it too much at first. As a child, I’ve read plenty of books with different POC protagonists and (unlike gender) it never made a difference to me. (Well, I’ve learned now that this is called “colour-blindness” and a bad thing but it’s what I grew up to believe was the right thing, this entire discussion is still rather confusing, I have to admit.) Since I’ve joined the English-language writing forum-world, I’ve come across all those race discussions, follow the blog “Writing with Color” and all of these gave me second thoughts. The character’s culture is slightly Indian based: gender roles and family traditions as well as dietary traditions are similar and she wears salwar sameez-like clothing. So far, my story generally doesn’t feature and religion but magic and other fantastical elements. By now, I think this would probably be considered offensive and cultural appropriation. There are quite a few plot points which would probably be considered offensive as well, if I asked “Writing with Color” about them. The character is optimistic and self-confident and relatively good at coping with difficult situations, she has a white teacher, makes white friends and wishes to protect her fellow students who include white people. The story won’t work if I change the things in the last paragraph and the cultural appropriation issue also remains which makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be better to make the character white and her culture European-based. I’m writing in German, so my audience will be mainly white and if people normally are truly more likely to empathize with a protagonist of their own race, it might be better for this reason as well. It would also make more geographical sense cause at the moment, I have a tropical land next to moderate climate and no magic that affects weather. When I started this project, I used to be very interested in Indian culture, food and clothing and wished to travel there if I got the chance but I’ve realised now that this kind of interest is not appropriate and I’ve given up on those travel plans as well. Normally, I’m totally in the “write what you know”-camp where possible which would be another argument in favour of a European setting with familiar plants and seasons. At the same time, I simply picture the character this way and it’s very hard for me to imagine a white girl instead but it would probably work with time. Any thoughts?