Short, Sharp, and Simple: I’m Tired of White Fragility in Fandom

Please understand how funny it is to see someone (who I don’t know and who certainly does not know me considering how much they’re lying about me in that tweet alone) publicly admit that the reason they don’t like my work is because they have decided my goal is to make them feel bad to be white.

That’s what happened at the start of August when a twitter user I have had blocked for months started going off on a tear because I made fun of her “I write smut so edgy that Prince would’ve loved it” tweet: she actually went mask off-hood on and said that she didn’t like my articles because  “it became implicit that whiteness was a born sin in most of her tweets and articles“.

Like that’s what scared her away from my work… the idea that I, a Black person growing up in a world that makes it clear that we do not matter no matter what we do and writing at a time in history where Black people are being maimed and killed by features of whyte supremacy at really high rates, might not love whiteness right about now.

For those of you that don’t speak “Racist”, allow me to translate: the user in question is absolutely saying that my articles and tweets (which she shouldn’t be seeing because she is blocked and are actually mostly about Korean hip hop/pop at this point anyway)… are “anti white”.

Understand that this is something neo n@zis on the internet say in general… but that they have actually said about my work (back when I wrote about Netflix’s take on Troy on here, the response on their hateful hubs was… intense).

Think about that: transformative fandom is a place where a white fan can block evade to keep tabs on (i.e., STALK)  a Black fan she dislikes, display white fragility to full and frustrating effect by using what is literally a whyte supremacist dogwhistle… and people will still rush to be like “oh wow yeah, you’re the victim here. I’m so sorry Stitch’s being mean to you by existing in a way you don’t like”.

Wild, right?

Like can we please talk about the way that transformative fandom has become even more of a hostile space for fans of color who don’t bend the knee to white womanhood… and how white fragility (and some shade of supremacy) exists at the heart of it?

Like can we please finally fracture this fragility?

In last month’s Feeling Fragile, I introduced the unaware to Robin DiAngelo’s “white fragility. In that piece, I did mention that anyone can find themselves feeling fragile in fandom and tried to gear my thoughts in a more open-ended way. It was stern but attempted to be gentle.

This isn’t that kind of post.

White fragility in fandom is one of the most fucking annoying things about being a Black person in fandom. Straight up, if I wanted to deal with babies whining all the time without the slightest provocation, I would actually go teach at a preschool. At least babies are cute and capable of growth.

But since we’re all supposed to be adults here?

I’m not amused at how many grown ass women in fandom will do the digital equivalent in fandom of throwing a supermarket temper tantrum at the idea that perhaps, they aren’t ”in charge” of fandom and can’t dictate how fans of color talk about or experience being in fandom spaces.

In fact, I’m the direct opposite.

It is beyond annoying how many people are like that twitter user up there will sooner publicly shit their racist little pants over the fact that I exist and dislike racism than like… do anything to be better people and make their fandoms better spaces for the Black/brown people around them. They would rather literally be racist on main – while saying that I specifically am wrong and that fandom isn’t racist – than do a self-check and try to figure out a road to anti-racism that works for them.

And they’re doing this in public, y’all.

So many moments of white fragility in fandom are right there on these folks’ timelines and Tumblr blogs.

The “pointing out that I used a racist stereotype in a fic is the same as accusing me of publicly burning crosses on lawns” folks. The “you weren’t nice to me once so I will stalk you for years” people. The “I’m not racist, but I’m going to spend multiple days writing threads, making videos, posting screenshots about a Black person I don’t like because they write about racism” people.

People are shamelessly racist in fandom and super comfortable with doing it with their fandom handles attached to their bad behavior.

But lean on them a little (or just lean near them considering, as we covered in Feeling Fragile that we already aren’t trying to engage these folks in conversations because they’re so fragile) and –

Just watch them fall to pieces over a perceived slight or harm we’re supposed to have done them by… talking about racism in fandom where they can see.

The user in question, the one up there who seems to think I need to be worshiping whiteness as hard as she does, she said that shit publicly. No one in her social circle called her out for it. No one said “expecting a Black person in fandom writing about racism to cater to you and accusing them of thinking whiteness is a sin is mmm… racist”.

In fact, they’re more worried about my friend Jhonni defending me from their baseless bullshit than anything else. They don’t care that I am a real person or that their friend is obviously on some racist shit… It just matters that I am mean for talking and writing about racism and one of my friends is willing to raise hell on my behalf when she sees people like this starting shit about me.

(Not only that, but I saw a screenshot of a tweet about something really fucking nasty one their friends – who is also mad that I roasted them without naming them but from like last year because these people hold grudges like most people hold babies… – said about me to this person that no one appeared to call her ass out on.)

No one called out this other Hannibal fan accusing me of being racist towards white people that same weekend in the process of deeming me somehow “problematic” in how I talk about racism in fandom. (Perhaps it’s my refusal to cater to people who are catering to racists and racism in fandom…)

And again, this is what fandom is in 2020.

The same people retweeting posts about the Black Lives Matter movement and how much it matters to them (like “weh, I live with my racist mom and my support of BLM might make her kick me out”), some of the same people who did donation drives for it even, and the people doing fandom or academic projects on fandom since May, also make it very clear that they do not actually care about Black people unless we can be useful to them.

They are not allies.

They make it very clear that they do not like or respect Black people they can’t use.

They can’t like or respect us or our work, unless we make it clear in our writing that they are Nice Whyte Folks ™ and therefore not part of the problem.

They can’t like or respect us or our work unless we make, bake, and take them ally cookies for doing the bare fucking minimum and not using slurs or occasionally remembering to tell their parents that racism is bad and Black people are people too.

I don’t know about literally anyone else, but I have better things to do to tailor my writing in fandom to appeal to people who think that folks hoping they’ll be less racist in theirs is like they’re being lined up in front of firing squad. I actively refuse to change myself or my writing to appeal to people who are so invested in racism that they’ll attack and slander fans like me who just want fandom to be less… Like That.

If these folks would stop being fragile and stop acting like criticism they can and otherwise do ignore (because it is not like I have that wide a reach…) is a direct and violent attack against them and tried to find a path to anti-racism that works for them, do you know how that would free me up?

The only reason I write about racism in fandom is because fandom is fucking racist.

Nip that in the bud and you can bet I’ll go do something else with my time –

Like what I’m already doing when I don’t have to deal with literally endless antiblackness from fandom: writing about Korean pop and hip hop.

But white fragility and folks’ insistence that they be allowed to fall all to racist pieces at the first bit of pressure is what’s keeping me from that. Think about it, June, July, and now August past –

I can’t say that I’ve gone a month straight without fucking fragile folks in fandom starting shit with or about me. The user up there is legitimately a repeat offender who seems to think I’ve done her direct harm despite never actually interacting with her about any of the things she has beef with me over.

In transformative fandom as in… other places in the internet landscape, the same folks accusing others of being sensitive little snowflakes are the ones who constantly melt under the gaze of someone they think is ”lesser” than them. The same people crowing about how “antis” are so easily offended and that folks shouldn’t read what they don’t like… will read my writing and lose their shit over it because it somehow hurts them.

Because white fragility leaves folks thin-skinned in the worst way.

I’m Tired of White Fragility in Fandom and of being tone policed by people who talk about me as if I’m shit on their shoe – only to cry wolf when called out even vaguely. It’s almost the end of 2020. I am over these weak ass weirdos. And y’all need to be too.

About Zeenah

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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4 Responses to Short, Sharp, and Simple: I’m Tired of White Fragility in Fandom

  1. lkeke35 says:

    Wow!!!
    I discovered at a very young age, that there is a certain sub-class of white people who cannot stand being SEEN by black people and other poc. They think that observation and labeling is the sole privilege of white people.

    Like Hannibal Lector ,they hate turning their high powered perception on themselves, or have it aimed at them by others. They believe that other races of people observing them, and calling out what they see, is somehow disrespectful to whiteness.

    They want be loved by poc as much as they love themselves, but they want that “love” to be blind and unconditional, while doing nothing whatsoever to deserve it. People who do this, really do act like black people are pet dogs, who are supposed to like them no matter how they behave. They are too caught up in playing the victim to see their toxic behavior for what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Short, Sharp, and Simple: I’m Tired of White Fragility in Fandom — Stitch’s Media Mix – Geeking Out about It

  3. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up, 9-15 September 2020: Deca-Dence Interview, Women-Only Train Cars, and White Fragility in Fandom - ANIME FEMINIST

  4. “… if I wanted to deal with babies whining all the time without the slightest provocation…” LOL!!!
    Come check me out every Sunday afternoon on Zoom as I skillfully quell white whining with straight talk. https://nanettedmassey.com/workshop-feedback/

    Like

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