I would love to hear a podcast on this topic. Though I have been to a lot of conferences and listened to other podcasts tackle the subject as well. Vanessa Brantley Newton does a great job talking about diversity and representation within publishing if you could get her as a guest that would be awesome!
For me, I think research and understanding is important and I can list a handful of author/illustrators that did an amazing job with representation, telling stories about people outside of their own backgrounds. Ezra Jack Keats, Jessica Love, and Francis Vallejo just to name a few. But for books like Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut I really don’t know how this book would have been illustrated if it was from someone outside of the black/African American community. There’s a certain experience needed to illustrate this story accurately and I believe the art director knew this and they needed an illustrator who fully understood this experience, getting a fresh cut at a black barber shop. Which is why I think the book did so well within the community it represents. A connection was made, an authentic connection, so why wouldn’t you want that for the book?
And while I say research is great looking up photographs and reading articles just isn’t enough sometimes. Getting someone who is a great writer/illustrator with an authentic experience that relates to the story seems to make perfect sense. Why wouldn’t you want your story to be as authentic as possible? If you’re only doing surface work what’s the point?
I think @NessIllustration is 100% right, illustrating is only part of the job asking yourself these questions, as she stated, is very important AND is part of the job as an illustrator. We’ve seen there have been many books created that did not represent specific groups of people or cultures accurately and that can be a career ending mistake these days. So if you’re not asking yourself these questions then why are you illustrating? Just to create a pretty illustration? All stories demand more than that. So, why do you feel you are the right person to write or illustrate these types of stories if that's all you are going to contribute? Authenticity allows a story to make a deeper connection for the communities, the kids, the adults, the people, the places, and the cultures it is representing. Representation matters but if you can not do that authentically and you offend rather than inspire then you are not the right person to be writing or illustrating these stories.