I'm sure many of us have heard the writer's adage, "write what you know," at least once in our writing career--that is assuming we've been around other writers for long enough. Well, recently I read an article about a white author who chose to write two characters, one white and the other black, as his protagonists and how it has been received by some critics and reviewers. The article's question, as noted in it's title, is: Can a White author write Black characters?. Here is the link to the article, though it is unnecessary for answering my coming question: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/09/michael_chabon_s_telegraph_avenue_can_a_white_guy_write_about_black_characters_.html Now, my question is not, "Can a white author write black characters?" Obviously, they can, and have. My question(s) is this: Is it a good/bad idea to write leading characters from social groups outside of your own? Can an author from one ethnicity convincingly and effectively portray a character that represents another ethnicity? Is it something a writer should be able to do (stemming from the past question about being able to write across gender lines)? Any thoughts are welcomed and gladly accepted here!