When I write fantasy or Science Fiction, the framework for the setting is sometimes based around what I’ve researched of a real culture. Nowadays, however, I feel guilty whenever I base a fantastic culture or setting around western culture. I feel that other cultures are in more dire need or representation, even in fantasy genre.
My current favourite culture to research is cultures from Africa, although just saying the word “African” makes me cringe because Africa is not a country. It is the biggest continent in the world and contains many diverse cultures, people, and wonders. Zimbabwe is not the same as Nigeria, and Nigeria itself isn’t very specific (Non-related point, but I’m also tentative in using the word “Nigeria” after reading Half A Yellow Son by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie).
When we write about, or even refer to another culture, or even if it’s our own culture, we have to do research. The research has to be sound and thorough, otherwise we set ourselves up for “Cultural Appropriation” instead of honoring the culture that we respect and are fascinated about, which should be our goal