Thank you for posting. I think you make a lot of great points.
I don’t think artists should “stay in their white lane” or in any other lane for that matter. As a writer, I try to create fiction that is outside of my personal experience (I write sci-fi and fantasy; it literally can’t be inside of my personal experience). I also hope to represent the diversity of humanity as much as possible.
It might be hard for me to include characters of different races in my books but I am going to try to do them justice, with advice from friends who know better than me, because I think it’s important to be able to do that. The idea that people should stay in their lane seems backward to me. It makes me think of segregation and tribalism and I think we should be moving away from that.
We should be moving forward to a place where people of colour have equal opportunities to have their voices heard and where whitewashing no longer happens but also a place where diversity can be represented fairly in stories by whoever is writing them.
I recently attended a MOOC with the University of Iowa that explored this further and it was incredibly interesting to hear the views of people from many different backgrounds. The general consensus I picked up there was to get out of our comfort zones and get out of our lanes but to ensure we do our characters justice.
It’s definitely something that is a sensitive subject and easy to get wrong but I think that Coppola could have easily got it so right with this film had she chosen to approach it differently. Sure, she may have done a bad job of it on her own but I think she could have got advice from women of colour to help represent those characters fairly.
So, I agree with you for calling her out, but I don’t agree that everyone staying in their lane is the best way forward.