I’ve been a writer ever since I can remember, but I’ve only recently started writing characters who are Filipino or Indian. All of the characters in my previous stories have always been of the generic Western race. Back then, it never struck me that this was wrong. After all, why should I question it when a majority of the books I read featured Western characters?
But as I began to explore and develop my writing, I realized that what kept me from writing about people like me was the fear of being othered. I didn’t want people to look at my work and to criticize how I represented Filipinos or Indians because I was only half of both.
But here’s the thing, writing about people like me went beyond our skin tone or language. When I wrote about people like me, I found that I was able to talk about the country’s culture; I was able to showcase our political climate; our economic inequalities; through my characters, I was able to call out prejudice, privilege, and abuse.