Like, the issues involved in *how* white artists write about black characters (representation) gets swallowed up into this (completely different) argument about whether white artists have the *right* to use black aesthetic forms (appropriation); the confusion of representation-is-appropriation shifts the question onto whether white artists have the *right* to write about black characters; this can be dismissed as an absurdity, and *hey presto!*, anything goes.
It seems to me like there's two problems here and that -- from both sides of the argument -- the whole question of whether non-X have a right to represent X becomes a way of not engaging with either of them.
So my point here is really to say, wait a minute, if we confuse the map with the territory and argue about whether an outsider has a right to make the map, whether the people who don't own the territory have any right to map it, then we're missing the real issues: is the territory being snatched here(appropriation)? and is the map accurate or inaccurate (representation)?
And to quote Nalo:
People need to be free to make art about whatever they wish, in whatever mode they wish. I do it; why shouldn't other people?
What worries me, though, is that whenever someone avows that, it results in a deafening chorus of privileged culture white folks yelling, "fuckn' 'A,' man! See? I *don't* have to think about this shit after all! M/i/g/h/t/, er ART makes right!" Now, you don't seem to be saying this at all. Let me be clear about that. Yet a whopping bunch of people who don't want to think of themselves as relatively privileged will cherry-pick from your comment the bits they like.
And then there's the Paul Simon vs. Single Gun Theory example, which I think sums up the issue nicely.
Yes. That. That thing. *points at it.* That's the thing I have been fumbling around, flailing at, trying to find a way to say, and failing utterly.
But Hal and Nalo are both smarter than I am, so it's no surprise.