I think there is a very frequent mistake in these discussions, often by very well intentioned people, in that they confuse race and culture. For example, I am of Dominican/Hispanic descent but culturally, I am not especially different from any other white American around. I would say much the same about my brother who is came out more brown skinned than me. I would be reluctant to speak on behalf of our friend nel, but comments she has made in the past would suggest that she would probably say the same about - she may have come from Indian descent, but culturally she is American. My oldest friend is a dark-skinned Haitian man who knows American and Western culture better than most Americans - he can rattle off all of the great authors of the Western literary canon, classical composers, Western painters, Etc.Primula Baggins wrote: I'm involved in some discussions on Twitter and elsewhere about culture in general; right now science fiction and fantasy are undergoing (and rightfully so) kind of a convulsion on this point—is it enough to put brown people into works written by white people who are not intimately familiar with the cultures in question? Should white writers even try, or is that appropriation of culture and erasure of writers of color?
In my opinion, the idea that white people should not write brown people just emphasizes the idea that brown people and white people are somehow innately different. This is essentially the definition of racism. While it is fair to say that there are aspects that a white person would not be able to identify with or fully understand, unless your story is specifically dealing with racial issues, anyone should be able to write anyone of any race. Much the same way that man should not feel uncomfortable writing women. The trick for either is simple - write them as if they are humans.