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Talking Back to White Creators: Rachel Rostad’s “To J.K. Rowling, From Cho Chang”

The flip side of the discussion of opening up the speculative fiction genres to more writers of color telling stories about characters of color is the phenomenon of white writers employing characters of color. Such works are not automatically or inherently problematic when done sensitively and skillfully; indeed, the diversification of the worlds of white creators to reflect the real diversity of our own is necessary. Speculative fiction abounds with examples both bad, like the racial allegories of Tolkien‘s Middle Earth, and good, like Le Guin’s Earthsea series, Stephenson’s Snow Crash, or Gaiman’s Anansi Boys.

But rarely do characters of color written by white authors get the chance to talk back to their creators. And that is exactly what token East Asian Briton and erstwhile love interest/minor character Cho Chang from the Harry Potter series gets to do in spoken word poet Rachel Rostad‘s “To J.K. Rowling, From Cho Chang,” performed at last April’s College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

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