In scrolling through denim_queen's 180 Expanded list, I was struck by the books I had read before or were on my list to read but which I wouldn't have thought of were I to try to come up with a POC reading list.
On the one hand I suppose it's good that I don't have like a little drawer in my brain of "POC lit I have read," but I also worry about the whitewashing that implies that I do.
Some of it I think is stuff that I think of as generally "foreign" rather than specifically racially other. I mean, I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie because friends had raved about them, and even without the geographical foreignness of the setting, the stories they tell are a magical realism sort. But did I totally picture white people when reading Love in the Time of Cholera? Yeah, pretty much. 'Cause that's my default. Even though the names are obvious cues even if one were to ignore the various talk about location (which, not gonna lie, I often largely gloss over).
I definitely think it's important for me to learn about and be exposed to experiences other than my own, whether that means life as a non-white person in the contemporary USA, life outside the USA, or whatever. But to some degree I have to make a conscious effort to actually absorb all the information the book is attempting to convey, and not just let it turn into a story about People Like Me in some foreign circumstance.