There are a lot of different opinions on this matter. There is the issue of white people not understanding what it’s like to be a person of color. How can they write a meaningful experience correctly if they haven’t experienced it themselves? And what about how some people will use diversity simply to attract a wider audience and gain approval?
Regardless, my answer to this question is yes. We NEED POC in stories, especially after recent events. Banning immigrants and prejudice against Muslims all comes from a lack of understanding. Perhaps if more people were telling their stories, their voices would be heard. As a white person, you have the privilege of being more likely to be listened to, so use that power to further the narrative of those who are not being heard.
As writers, it is our job to get our readers to understand a new point of view. The world is made up of a lot of different people. It is only realistic to include them all, and it is extremely unnecessary. There is so much underrepresentation in all forms of media, and this creates the idea that white people are more desirable and important. How many white guy meets white girl stories have you seen? Enough for it to get normalize in your head. Interracial romances or just a POC lead in general are so rare that works are applauded for ‘deciding to go in that direction’. There are so many interesting stories out there, why stick to just one small part of the population? Why ignore this whole history and turmoil when you could be actively making a difference? Some people may be upset at your portrayal of POC, it’s going to happen. But at least you are being more true to the real world and aren’t whitewashing your story.
If all your characters are white for no reason, check yourself. Think of how many people need to see someone like themselves being brave, and clever and finding the strength to make the world a better place. We have a multicolored world out there, let’s write about it.