So many links this July (it’s like 12)
White Woman Hospitalized After Being Called White
Laura, whose recent 23andme revealed that she is of Nordic, German, and British ancestry and nothing else, explained the tragic circumstances that landed her in the emergency room.
“A stranger, a literal stranger, called me white within my earshot,” said Laura, who is Caucasian. “My heart started beating so fast, I broke out into a cold sweat, my face drained of all color. I knew I had to call 911. She said to her friend, and I quote, ‘that white woman walked right into me.” And yeah, maybe I did, but does that give her the right to use a slur against me?”
“People don’t realize that their hateful, racist actions can have consequences for their victims’ health,” Laura added, with a lack of self-awareness that only a woman this white could achieve.
This is so fandom, for me. Do you know how many comments, messages, subtweets, etc that exist solely because calling white women (and queer people and AFABs who aren’t women) “white” or calling white characters white sets people off? Like they fully go into “h-how dare you mention whiteness as a factor in what characters are loved and what people are harassed… this is worse than racism” fits. Oh and this is while they trot out the 23andme test results to prove they’re actually not even “Really White” but are Vaguely Brown and may actually have a Black and/or Native ancestor they can’t prove but sure will use against me.
It remains wild that some of the loudest voices of people harassing me and hating on me/my work have publicly said that I must hate them because they’re white or that I… don’t believe white people have a culture (I… did not even imply that but this defense of a nebulous white culture is a very loud racist dogwhistle) or that I am actually racist against them (white women/AFABs) because I pointed out that aside from PickMe POC being shitty for clout, white women are the ones who have the most consistently racist reactions to me/my work.
They have these reactions publicly where they moan about disliking white women(‘s racism) being racist/hate speech, accuse me of reverse racism, and other incredibly racist nonsense… and people just… accept the tantrum at face value and uplift these people who aren’t just my anti fans but who are racist from the jump.
The ‘playing the race card’ accusation is just a way to silence us
The real point about race cards is that claiming their existence is itself deeply racist. The idea first seems to have entered the lexicon in the 1960s, when “the race card” was used to describe the ways in which rightwing politicians weaponised fears about black people to gain votes – such as the 1964 Conservative parliamentary candidate for Smethwick reportedly warning his prospective constituents: “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.” These days, it is more frequently deployed to delegitimise the voices of people on the receiving end of those narratives. Either way, the one consistent thing seems to be that it always involves setting up people of colour to lose.
As the author Nels Abbey pointed out this week, accusing a black person of “playing the race card” when they speak about racism is intended to silence, threaten or “shame someone into not mentioning the obvious racism they’re being subjected to”.
One of the pieces of “proof” that I’m toxic, abusive, whatever that people keep trotting out about me is that lizcourserants on twitter (who is “Black Too”) has done a thread on me and my usage of “PickMe/PickMe POC”. I have never spoken to Liz, don’t know her from fucking Adam and we’ve never spoken. (She has mocked and insulted me repeatedly though and is responsible for harassing at least one other Black fan into permalocking and later leaving twitter entirely.)
But because Liz is “Black Too”, it excuses her lying on me, trying to get me fired, and twiddling her thumbs as her thousands of followers abuse and harass me for months because she told them I was hurting people. Despite not putting her face on main or her actual real career on the line (like mine is), she’s so trusted by racists in fandom that she’s successfully mobilized her massive fandom against me repeatedly and against other Black people in multiple fandoms – never apologizing over the harm she does to “her people” as a discourse blog.
But beyond that, I keep being accused of “Playing The Black Card” to get out of criticism, but I don’t… actually get criticism. Not from these people. “Fuck that whore”, “She just hates Rey/Kylo”, etc isn’t criticism. It’s hate. It’s anti fandom in action.
And it’s coming from people like Liz and the other bootlickers of color who do use their identities (as POC TOO, autistic people, trauma survivors, etc) to excuse supporting white supremacist systems in fandom (which are there) and to dodge criticism of the absolutely atrocious way that they insist on treating me because I write about racism in a way that makes it clear that we’re all part of the problem at some level across our lives in fandom.
Racist Harassment, White Tears, and the Targeting of Critics of Color
If white members of fandom are going to highlight and advocate for work by Black critics, our responsibility doesn’t end when we publish a post or send a tweet. That goes for me, too: I’ve recced Stitch’s work often over the years but it’s taken me this long to address the harassment they face when talking about race and racism in fandom. That was wrong and I’m sorry for it. We, as members of fandom, have to ensure that people don’t use our celebration, discussion, or criticism of work by Black folks to engage in racist behavior. We cannot raise work by Black creators into the spotlight and then abandon them there, knowing that the chances of racist abuse from both the ignorant and the deliberately hurtful are so high. Otherwise, we are complicit in the dehumanization of the very people we claim to value.
I’ve watched the ongoing harassment of Stitch, and I continue to marvel at white folks in fandom who are determined to create a villain and have succeeded in propagating vile racist tropes that do real emotional harm to another person. Being at attention, ready to drop in to any thread to tell whoever might listen that the aggressive/mean Black person will come for them? That is a tool of white supremacy.
I’ve been harassed from 2017 or so. It keeps escalating because people keep silent, blame me for the harassment, and decide I actually deserve because (someone else told them) I’m attacking their fandom/ship/kink. So people not only don’t stop, but they escalate in an attempt to protect freedom in fandom/of fic by trying to deplatform me for… writing about racism in queer people/women’s fandom in a way that doesn’t cater to them.
Hundreds if not thousands of people do know I’m being subject to GamerGate-esque harassment campaigns with the publicly stated goal of deplatforming me and removing me from ongoing writing gigs. They also do not care. This is just “fandom drama” to them even though it’s clearly gone beyond that to where my physical/mental health is in danger and people are trying to destroy my writing career.
Ignorance might be bliss to wider fandom, but the destructive behaviors empowered by white women/queer people’s silence in fandom is something that hurts me and other Black/brown people who speak about racism. Renay’s post talks about those initial reactions people make their entire reaction to me and how a lot of the harassment I face comes from people posting my work in good faith (“This is a good piece about racism in fandom”) and bad faith (“Does anyone actually do this? I don’t think so. Please discuss”) and sitting back while I’m destroyed in their mentions.
Fandom needs to do better, but I know the people who need to read Renay’s piece and rethink their violent rejection of my work and personhood (and that includes my boundaries and my right to have a “tone” when talking about racism)… just won’t.
With New Reboots, TV Tries to Fashion a Contemporary Queer Elite
Instead, a mainstream preoccupation with affluence and elitism steers the course of our queer representation, selling us an American dream of waspish respectability, unlimited purchasing potential, and a newfound proximity to the state apparatus through an accumulation of power and wealth—a drastic departure from the radical deviant queers of the ’70s and ’80s. While Gossip Girl and Sex and the City can certainly diversify their casts and characters for a post-2020 audience, their narrative architectures will remain the same; extravagance and elitism are built and maintained by hierarchy and exclusion—the logics of white supremacy—which very much continue to dictate the social inequities of New York City and our greater world.
You ever read something that then makes you realize that you’ve been witnessing a trend without really SEEING the trend? Reading this piece, it clicked for me that a lot of these new shows (reboots and originals alike) try to position queer characters as a hoity toity elite class that’s oppressed but also… not that oppressed. It’s not generally done with malice, as far as I can tell, but the effect it has on public perceptions of queerness and the conversations we have about ourselves on TV have been shifting to a new negative.
(Also, remember that Heathers reboot that… shouldn’t have happened? That show… was a mess.)
The truth about workplace ‘diversity’
In every stage of my career, I have been subtly (and not so subtly) reminded that I’m considered a diversity hire. No, that’s not the case with every white colleague. And one benefit of age is recognizing my talents and value and learning the difference between being supported and being tolerated. Yet I reacted to Nichols’s comments about Taylor with a weary sigh, then a swell of anger. Only white men’s success is never questioned. Their ascension is accepted as rote, while the accomplishments of those long marginalized are viewed as suspect.
A lot of people around the world pretend to care about diversity and racism in public (so they don’t get yelled at) but think that they’re so good at hiding their distaste that the stuff they say in private is the only sign that they’re actually a bigot. But it’s not because they also always make a point of reorienting themselves at the head of the hierarchy and us (whoever “us” us as men will be public feminists/semi-private misogynists like Joss Whedon and obviously, the publicly progressive anti-racist (ish) people who made comments about Taylor… held deep antiblackness in their hearts) at the bottom.
I don’t know about you, but I got where I am at now because of hard work. I’m a good writer with an advanced degree and years of experience in research and writing. I’m here because I’m good at what I do. Not because I’m a token or because I “use my race” to get ahead. (That’s not even a thing except in how some Bootlickers of Color throw in with racists for a chance of getting power and clout. Like writing critically about racism doesn’t get me clout, lol.)
Whitney Houston, American girl
This trope of Houston’s voice as America’s possession plays into the white fetishization of the Black body that leads white people to believe that Black people are physically superior and intellectually inferior, a fetishization that was sharply parodied in Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated 2017 film Get Out. What is valuable about Houston is not her personhood, to this way of thinking, but the athletic force of her vocal cords. It’s her body. It does not truly belong to her, so when she chooses to abuse it, she is stealing from the rest of us.
How Houston herself might feel about America laying claim to her voice seemed of no particular concern to anyone. But she gave no evidence of appreciating the idea.
I love Whitney Houston. In the present. Perpetually. Whitney Houston was one of the most important people in my life as a fan of her work and her drive. It broke my heart when she passed away.
This piece is a difficult read and I cried at multiple points, but I think it’s important to read and understand how Black excellence is used up and tossed aside the second it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable.
TV fandoms are the secret sauce to driving tune-in
The fact is, communities organized around their interests are more effective at driving TV tune-in than demographic-based groups. The passionate people you want tuning into your TV show are proud members of their chosen fandoms.
At any given moment, these television superfans are highly engaged in conversation about their programs of choice, and they thrive on Twitter, where their timelines are curated to reflect the niche interests they have in common with others.
Kind of a “duh” moment, but I do love that Twitter Marketing is finally and publicly talking about this sort of thing. I do wonder if there are any plans to push for rewritten copyright strike rules because one thing that stops Twitter fandom from picking up speed? The fact that Twitter is both unpredictable and merciless about punishing people for copyright violations.
Why Are We Still So Obsessed With Lesbian Vampires?
But on Halloween and beyond, queer folks have the ability to take matters of representation into their own hands. With every new person who dons a velvet robe to assume the supernaturally cool presence of the lesbian vampire, the trope is reconfigured and given new queer meaning.
I just… love lesbian vampires. And I love this sentiment the most because what makes this all worth it is that we’re able to get our queer little hands on things and make them our own. Lesbian vampires out there, I love you. Lesbian vampire authors (both in the sense of “you are a lesbian + vampire + author” and “you are a lesbian who writes vampire books”) hit me up so I can boost you often.
Shannon Lee: Does Quentin Tarantino Hate Bruce Lee? Or Does It Just Help Sell Books?
You can imagine by now that I am used to people only seeing one facet of my father and blowing that up into a caricature. That has been happening since shortly after he passed. But usually, somewhere in that caricature is some sort of nugget of love for the man and his work. Not so with Mr. Tarantino.
This is NOT a threat. However, someone needs to rock Tarantino’s shit the next time he starts talking crap about Bruce Lee. Shannon Lee shouldn’t keep having to defend/protect her father’s legacy from entitled white creators who are intent on dunking on him. I admire her voice and her strength, of course, but this is a constant for her and I hate it.
We need to talk about the anti-racism genre
To me, however, it feels as though so long as anti-racist literature seeks out white people as its core audience, its goal of distilling racism and its apparatus into a single written piece will be inherently flawed. Racism isn’t a monolith, nor are the experiences of people of colour.
This piece is kind of like “the ethics of anti racism literature” and that’s super valid. I didn’t think about the rush to snatch up anti-racist authors – the more “authentic” (Black people, white women who publicly say “I was racist” largely) the better – whose work is kind of aimed at middle class white US/Canada/Europe/Australia liberals. Like I knew it existed but I didn’t think about what this rush was actually saying even though I have already talked about how people do perform anti racism for clout while being racist themselves and how these books actually kind of… flatten conversations and experiences.
Organizing Inclusive Fandom Spaces: The Basics
Confronting racism in your fandom space is necessary, and this guide is intended to be tips for organizers and event planning.
This is by no means the only guide, or the depth and breadth of what people should be doing for these events and organizations.
I think this is a good start for creating, moderating, and organizing inclusive and anti-racist fandom spaces. There are so many people and platforms that should look at this as a jumping off point for figuring out their own shit. It’s not enough to assume that a fandom space will be automatically anti racist just because it is populated by queer people or because it’s for a piece of media about POC/celebrity of color. In fact, what tends to happen is conversations about racism get buried underneath “but we’re a fandom of queer people and POC and we’re fans of [person or character of color]”.
Start here, share it widely, and urge folks to do and be better.
Stories After #StopAsianHate
Justice in the form of respect for human rights and equality for Asians must be achieved. Society is slow to change, but there are many people who haven’t given up and are raising their voices and demanding immediate justice. As a face of Asian lives, BTS, naturally, may play a role here as well, however big or small. In their statement, they concluded by saying that they would oppose racism and violence “together.” The power to endure an arduous battle is found in solidarity. I hope the world I wish to see comes sooner than later.
Weverse Magazine is just full of these really great pieces that hit hard. This is one of them. I think it is imperative that we (collectively but especially as non-Asians in any diasporic community) work together and stand together in solidarity to help society see the error of its ways. Racism against Asians has increased across the past few years and the escalations are startling and frightening. I will always believe in and work towards solidarity and I’m grateful for Randy Suh’s piece and how it contextualizes a lot of Asian (American) histories and racist violence towards different Asian communities for an audience that might not have a full understanding of what the world has been like.
So those are my links… What have y’all checked out so far this July?
One thought on “Link Lineup July 2021”
Thank you for all these links! The article about organizing inclusive fandom spaces made me think about how it’s so much better to set up expectations of behavior and action plans first rather than to “hope for the best” and then have a bunch of unaddressed problems later.
As always, your commentary is invaluable and these articles provide a lot to think over.