Taken together, the endless arguments over Dunham, Tarantino, and Chabon in the past year suggest that American culture has reached an impasse—and developed something of an obsession—when it comes to white artists portraying characters of color. If they don’t, they’re whitewashing; if they do, they’re appropriating or misrepresenting. That the criticisms on both fronts are, in large part, not only valid but crucial makes it even more difficult to imagine a way forward.
[…]The solution isn’t to prohibit white writers from depicting non-white characters, or to require them to do so. Along with holding these famous names accountable for offensive representations, the US cultural mainstream desperately needs to make more space for writers and directors of color.