Well, it’s true that I, George Collins, could never understand what it’s like to be a woman raised in this country. I will never know what it’s like to be looked at continually, or judged for my appearances, to be thought of as something somewhat inferior that can’t do the same work, on and on and on. But what is absurd about the idea is that I, George Collins, can’t make the effort, the empathetic effort, to actually go and really try and understand the experience of the people very different from me.
And in understanding that, I’ve enriched myself, and I can actually create something, I can even write something that’s very interesting. That from my outside perspective, I could have some interesting insights and that by taking the effort to understand the experience of other people, I’ve not only enriched myself, but my work will be that much deeper.
So, whenever I try and write a story about someone in my blog—obviously they come from different cultures, different periods, different genders, different races—my whole goal is to try and feel what it’s like to have been them. I know I can’t get close enough. I know that there’s going to be some things that are somewhat inaccurate about it. But why shouldn’t that be the ideal that we have in culture? Why shouldn’t that be a good thing to actually try and understand as deeply as possible the experience of other people? And why does it have to be labeled as some sort of cultural appropriation or some form hidden oppression when in fact it has always been the ideal in culture, for instance, to sort of get inside the experience of other people? I think that’s a question worth examining.