This isn’t an example of whitewashing, but more of a rebuttal to people who use “Well the author is white, so why shouldn’t that be the default race?” as an excuse.
Ursula Le Guin has been writing young adult, fantasy, and science fiction stories since the 1960’s, and since that time almost all of her protagonists have been non-white. Most of her stories take place in worlds where the the majority “race” is explicitly stated to be black, the most famous being the setting for the Earthsea series in which the only pale characters come from a distant, vaguely antagonistic land, and all the heroes are described as having brown skin and black hair*. She’s come out in the fantasy and science fiction communities to criticize the predominantly white, male, hetero presence in these genres AND to challenge the idea that all fantasy or sci-fi societies have to be based in some way on Euro-centric cultures.
Guess what, write writers/artists? YOU CAN’T USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT AT LEAST TRY TO INTRODUCE DIVERSITY TO YOUR WORK. If this lady could make it as a well-known writer producing stories based on black main characters in the MOTHERFUCKING 60’s, you do NOT have the ability to fall back on that shit in 2012.
*Of course, one wouldn’t know this if they’d seen any of the TV/film adaptations of her work, not like we’re not used to that…it actually led to the first Studio Ghibli movie that I can actually say I hated.