Do I feel that white directors have to tell only white stories? No. Do I feel that black filmmakers should only tell stories about black people? No. If we say that, then that means Asian people cannot write about anybody but Asians. I don't think a woman should only write about women.
You have to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow. And as an actor, you don't become Meryl Streep by doing the same type of comedy. You get there by being challenged. And unfortunately, there's a lack of roles for women of color, so you actually have to be the engineer creating some of those roles.
If you come out of the gate with a finger pointed, then you really aren't opening the door to any sort of resolution to whatever the problem may be. Whether it's about race or sexual orientation or religion, if you can't empathize with the opposing party, then you can't really meet in the middle.
The statement that I made and that I think I will continue to make is that racism and bigotry isn't just relegated to the Southern region; it permeates the history of our nation. It's not to say that we haven't made progress. Obviously we have with our first African American president, and I never thought that would happen in my lifetime.
I choose projects that resonate with me on some personal level and projects that I'm afraid to do. If I'm afraid to do them, then I usually say yes, because it means that I'm not ready to go there and deal with certain aspects of the script. And that means that I need to do it, because the things that scare you only make you better and stronger.