Meme-Ing for a Reason #10: Blocked For Not Being Nice To Racists

A version of the “for the better” meme where the Anakin on the top left is saying that “racism in fandom is a huge problem and we need to listen to POC who talk about it”. The Padme on the top right then asks, “Even POC who aren’t “nice” when talking about this, right?”. Then the bottom left Anakin represents someone blocking the fan of color for not being “nice”, leaving the final Padme staring in stunned silence.

No one is more surprised than I am that I’ve been able to get to ten memes in this series. While I’m genuinely hilarious and my meme game is on point, there are only so many memes in the world that work with the concept of “hey fandom is super racist and more attached to that than anything else”. But hey, here’s one more.


I have talked on end about how absolutely irrational people are when faced with my work.

The “i can tell from a post about white silence/violence and a link to an adult literacy resource that stitch is verbally abusive like my estranged father” weirdo from last month proves that. Fandom is not okay and racists in fandom are so sensitive that they publicly perform being triggered… by Black people expressing or creating boundaries and speaking about what hurts us.

This is not normal.

Well, I mean, it is absolutely normal in that this is The Norm in a white supremacist society and white women/queer people absolutely know that they can benefit from pretending that a mean and nasty Black/brown person hurt them by… not letting them have access to hurt them, speaking about the pain racism causes them, or establishing boundaries.

But there’s genuinely something wrong with you if you take that first reaction to seeing someone talk about racism in “your” fandom – the upset, the “but how can I be racist, I’m queer and progressive” – and bring that to those people, and overreact over “not nice” Black and brown people. The normal thing is to have the initial reaction, to feel as though “your” thing is under fire and want to bite back in response. I don’t deny that.

However, it is abnormal and absolutely racist to shatter into Totally Triggered pieces and turn on a Black/brown person you don’t even fucking know because, as a white person or non-Black person of color, you have been informed that a thing you’re into in fandom might be racist.

But this is fandom for you, constantly and fully embodying the fragile, teary-eyed white AFAB-ness that White Feminism has always wielded against Black/brown people perceived to be “in the way”. It’s that fragile AFAB-ness that sparks backlash against POC in fandom who write or speak about racism at any serious level.

I bought Ruby Hamad’s White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color just for this piece. But I’d also been meaning to read it because of how formative Hamad’s work has been and how it speaks to my experiences with queer/women’s fandom spaces.

This book, perhaps, will be even more valuable to me over time because it speaks to my direct experiences with perfect strangers who weaponize their white womanhood/AFAB-ness to hurt me (usually by accusing me of hurting them or by deflecting when they have directly attempted to contribute to the harm I’m constantly subject to for speaking about the racism in these fandom spaces).

Take this description of how Hamad came up with this core concept of white women’s tears harming women of color early on in the book:

Drawing on the concept of what author Luvvie Ajayi has referred to as the weaponizing of white women’s tears, I outlined how, when challenged by a woman of color, a white woman will often lean into her racial privilege to turn the tables and accuse the other woman of hurting, attacking, or bullying her. This process almost always siphons the sympathy and support of any onlookers to the apparently distressed white woman, helping her avoid any accountability that may be due and leaving the woman of color out in the cold, often with no realistic option—particularly if it is a workplace interaction—but to accept blame and apologize.

Hamad, Ruby. White Tears/Brown Scars (p. 7). Catapult. Kindle Edition.

This happens to me a lot. It happened to me at the end of May/beginning of June.

I won’t name names because me doing that leads to me being accused of harassment and abuse of and by someone with a larger twitter following and the support of people who have spent months or years harassing me, but… you can go through my media tab on Twitter on the public account to find the thread for yourself.

When I spoke about what they’d done by “Just Asking Questions” about the article that got me harassed into locking back in February and laid out how it was harmful and obviously in bad faith, the weaponization of white AFAB tears started.

“This person has a medical condition you’re aggravating”, “this person is locked and you aren’t”, “this person just wanted to understand what you wrote and doesn’t understand why you’re so angry“, “they’re just asking questions“, and “calling their bad faith actions bad faith is actually harassment”.

I was neck deep in a multi-fandom harassment campaign at the time (and still, let’s be real, it hasn’t stopped) and it’s clear from the tweets that person was liking and making that they knew about it and found it Just Fucking Hilarious and… had all of these people DM’ing me over me pointing that out because their feelings were hurt.

I even had someone I was friendly with email me over this like “did you know this person is actually a great person who does great things and they just wanted to Get Outsider Opinions”. (And no, they have not apologized or even bothered to reply to my email response!)

It didn’t matter that I was clearly under attack. My mental and physical health weren’t a concern. The fact that people could see folks gleefully spreading lies and insulting me/my work (which they knew was mine, please don’t be naïve) in the replies and still decided that white folks’ feelings needed to be coddled… that was wild.

A white AFAB claimed I hurt them (for pointing out that they were actively contributing to/participating in something that was hurting me) and so… there came the folks rushing to make it clear across the internet that I was the real baddie here.

It’s fascinating because the idea is that Black people aren’t just too biased to realize a situation or to speak on racism. We’re seen as too unintelligent or too “crazy”. (Like this person who called me “arrogant” and “unhinged” over that situation.) We’re subject to racist and ableist gaslighting that seeks to reframe us as too “unreliable” to know what’s really going on.

If I shared the tweets people made that week last month about my pointing out the bad faith behind “just asking questions” of the article that triggered people to trying to get me fired in February and opening the floor for strangers who hate me to lie on me… You’d see people insulting me in a way I rarely speak about others. It is hateful, it is racist, it is condescending as shit and they definitely think that I’m too stupid to clock when people are being racist dipshits.

So what does this all (kind of) have to do with the whole meme up there?

People claim, publicly, that they really care about racism in fandom and that the one thing stopping them is that the POC who do talk about it aren’t right to be “Thought Leaders” because they’re not ~nice~. (And we should talk about how people publicly say they don’t care about fighting racism in fandom unless the people of color speaking about are nice… to racists and folks intent on “avoiding drama” by staying silent.)

However, these POC are not deemed “not nice” because they have actually hurt people – the way that white people across fandom have over the decades over nothing – but because they express their own hurt and frustrations.

They block us because we’re not nice (to them/about racists) and then tell others that they really are The Real Allies protecting fandom from the Purity Police Pretending To Care About Racism. They do these threads about how important it is to be “nice” and how they can’t listen to anyone who’s “mean” about talking about racism in fandom –

But will spend ages calling people of color they dislike (like me) “bitches”, “cunts”, and “whores” because they don’t like our tone even when it’s not aimed at them.

At the end of the day, women’s/queer people’s fandom is a yet another place where hypocritical racists apparently get to define racism so they’re not racist. It’s a space where said racists get to redefine terms like “pickme” to other white fans and for fans of color alike (so they’re now racist terms). Fandom is a space where white women/queer people declare open season on people of color who write about racism and no amount of “space curation” can stop them.

Pointing that out gets you blocked at best… or subject to long-term harassment campaigns at most where those Nice White Women/Queers do everything they can to destroy your life.

And yet, somehow, y’all think you’re better than Dudebros who do the exact same thing but without the tears?

Okay.

You’re wrong though.

About Zeenah

Zeenah 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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1 Response to Meme-Ing for a Reason #10: Blocked For Not Being Nice To Racists

  1. Suze says:

    Good post! I also read your links to the article about how asking questions can be done from bad faith intent to spread doubt and disinformation and the article about racial gaslighting; both of them were really informative and both evoked a sense of frustration because it feels like there aren’t enough methods to counter the damage of either of those behaviors.
    Thank you for writing this post.
    I think the hardest part for many people is to accept that while they might feel hurt about facing the hard facts pointing out the racism inside their (sub)conscious beliefs/actions, that doesn’t make those facts any less accurate. Some “difficult to swallow pills” are necessary to digest anyway (lest one stagnates with the existing behaviors detrimental to others).
    I know personally that sometimes “emotions don’t care about reason” and the perception of adversity can make one double down instead of reflect. Therefore, a person in the wrong doesn’t change very easily. It’s frustrating. But for all the people who have made up their minds, I think there are still others who will undoubtly learn a great deal from your writings and not let their feelings of realizing their own flaws get in the way of learning and adjusting themselves anyway.

    Like

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