Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well!
While taking a break from my current project I found an old short story of mine that I’m picking up again!
Short summary: Contemporary (2010s-2020s), Setting [name_u]Germany[/name_u]
The main character is the daughter of a member of organised crime (drug trafficking, money laundering) which leads to many conflicts with her “normal” lifestyle and is part of the central problem of the story.
Problem: The organised crime is currently represented by the Albanian Mafia. I chose it back then because it is authentic in the sense that Albanian Clans are active in [name_u]Germany[/name_u] right now, and because I think Albanian culture is interesting and because it just fit nicely for some other reasons…
But…I am NOT Albanian nor do I have any relation to or family from Albania.
Past me thought I could solve that problem by making my character’s father someone that is of Albanian ethnicity but grew up in [name_u]Germany[/name_u] during his formative years and by my character being raised in a boarding school, apart from the members of the family that belong to the Clan.
What are your thoughts on this?
[name_m]Can[/name_m] I write my character and big part of a story/other characters about a culture that I do not belong to and have never experienced on my own?
Is it “enough” to explain any mistake I will make depicting characters/customs from that culture by my character’s background of boarding school, different social influence, etc or is it cultural appropriation and offensive?
Or should I fall back on a culture/ethnicity that I belong to but that is unlikely to have the level of organised crime I am describing in the story? After all it is still fiction, so…
Sorry it got so long!
Would love to hear your thoughts on this, thank you!