As we’ve covered, there’s a specific class of fandom weenie that I cannot stand because of how willing they are to support racists and racism in fandom using their POC-ness as a shield.
I use “PickMe POC” as a term for them – which remains not a slur despite what rabid racists in fandom insist – but they also define themselves as POC TOO. As in “I’m a POC TOO… and this isn’t racist/this other POC is actually the real problem in fandom and somehow racist against me for pointing out racism”.
In the… decade or so since I started actively speaking out against racism in fandom spaces and in media – primarily antiblackness, but I’ve talked about whitewashing, anti Native racism in fanworks, the weird way white fans can approach East Asian celebrities or characters in different fandoms , etc – who pushes back against me has shifted.
First, the loudest people were white people who prefaced everything with “I’m queer and” or “i’m a trauma survivor and”. But as people started to absorb a particular form of Tumblr social justice diss-course that hinged even more heavily on specific identity politics, it shifted to “I’m a POC and”.
That wasn’t really a thing in fandom discourses when I was growing up in fandom.
(Probably because for most of modern fandom, anytime you’d preface a conversation on racism by talking about how you were affected by racism here as a person of color, people would basically laugh you out of the room and/or gaslight you because you were “too close” to the issue and couldn’t be seeing things straight.)
So now, in fandom, people will front load their dismissal of conversations with their identity as POC.
Even if the only time they talk about their identity as people of color is in the context of dismissing another person of color speaking or calling a white ally/accomplice a white savior for using their privilege to call out another white person.
Even if their connection to being a POC is a 23andme test they did specifically to wave in the face of more visible POC or a publicly workshopped story of a Black ancestor they suspect they have – but don’t know for sure. (Two examples I’ve seen from people in 2020 and 2021 while lurking.)
They’re POC TOO and that’s all that matters… even if they’re literally spewing incorrect nonsense in support of racists and are weaponizing their identities against more marginalized (visible, dark(er) skinned, trans) POC who are talking critically about racism that affects them.
But I digress –
The point I wanted to make is that a lot of POC TOO in fandom spaces really don’t like me.
In part because I don’t actually care about them and I won’t change my argument or backpedal because they’re like “well I’m a POC TOO and I like the thing, so tell me I’m racist”.
If someone tells me that as a Black Person Too, they’re cool with cultural appropriation or blackface or that they also hate a Black woman actress or character… I’m going to laugh at them, take a screenshot, and then I’m going to block their ass. Because it’s not about them and their opinions but about wider fandom.
Of course, I don’t want any person of color in fandom spaces to be subject to racism in or out of fandom.
My work exists because no person of color should be subject to racist treatment or to the specific pain of coming across racist fanworks. It’s for anyone who needs to feel less alone in these spaces.
At the same time, I’m also not going out of my way to entertain or support the class of internet user who’ll weaponize their identity as people of color specifically to shut me down or shit on me/my work.
The girlies of color are out here publicly stopping just shy of calling me the n-word on public Twitter – and I’m sure they actually call me that and more in their Discord servers and group chats – but I’m supposed to devote any time to their mental well-being? I’m supposed to carry water and fight their battles for them?
I think not.
But what’s been wild over the past eighteen months or so is watching those POC TOO get burnt by the very racists in fandom they’ve tried to protect by hurting me. This has happened in multiple fandoms – for MXTX’s works, the pro-fiction/pro-harassment (if you’re critical of fandom in any way) side, and the part of the Star Wars fandom that hates me.
The POC TOO in these fandoms do two things. They either actively support ongoing (months or years) of harassment from their co-fans by wading into the fray and lying on me/using their identity to then excuse how white/non-Black racists treat me… or they cover their eyes and keep it moving because to them, if I didn’t deserve it, it wouldn’t be happening.
However, even with their positions in fandom seemingly secure because they’ve engaged in the multi-fandom community bonding activity of being extremely antiblack on main about me specifically, they’re still not safe.
Because then they all eventually make the same mistake in these fandoms: they think that because they’ve “taken me on” (from a cowardly or rude quote tweet as they block me or via screenshots, never actual 1 on 1 engagement) – or shut down some other vocal Black/brown person in a given fandom speaking on racism – they can then speak on racism in their fandom without getting curb-stomped.
It’s not always antiblackness, by the way. Sometimes they’re calling out antisemitism, or Sinophobia, or anti indigenous stereotypes.
But the result is always the same: they get stomped the way they’ve supported me being attacked, but worse, because they think the people currently mocking them for id-pol, accusing them of weaponizing their race/playing the race card, and running them out of fandom… were so close to them that the racism wouldn’t activate once they got called out.
I don’t know why they think that the people who’ve spent years celebrating them for aggressively shutting down – often entirely unrelated and mild-toned – conversations about racism in fandom… won’t then jump down their throats for talking about racism in the shared fandom.
No one can explain why anyone thinks that they are the most special POC TOO and that their racist friends won’t be racist towards them.
Like the young woman who I called a “PickMe” (not even directly, and again, she then called me a bitch) for her incredibly awful opinions on racism in media like the Mammy trope, who then collected clout for that.
In two months, it’ll be a year since her fellow proshipper hellions subjected her to horrifically racist harassment and then ran her off of Twitter for calling out racism from a user who’d been defending something truly grody and racist.
But she knew that user and their friends were racist. It’s a social group that regularly devotes massive chunks of time to being racist about me. She just thought that she’d be protected from their racist backlash because she was a POC TOO and used the right terms and supremely gentle language.
It did not.
A bunch of the PickMe POC proshipper hellions are currently no longer online or are now perma-locked because they thought that they were beloved enough that they could speak out when something was “actually” racist (to them) in those spaces.
They were not.
I’ve talked about that portion of the Star Wars fandom that hates me and its pickmes for what seems like ages.
For years, it’s been normal for them to be like “As a WOC/POC, Rey/Kylo fandom isn’t racist” – a lie considering you know… their ongoing racist harassment of… me. At the very least, the fact that hundreds of the fandom’s biggest names hate me and have made a goal of actively trying to hurt me and my career… should say something about how single-mindedly racist they are.
Now what I’ve also seen over those same years, is repeated instances of those shippers of color who hate me so very much for speaking on racism… abused and bullied by their white co-fans and next level PickMe POC in their fandoms when they speak up against racism.
When they try to speak out about white fans’ racism – not just in fandom/fanworks but about John Boyega’s career or last year with George Floyd’s murder – they’re treated awfully until they leave the fandom. Some are literally bullied out, I remember at least one shipper of color on Tumblr was least wallet-named for speaking out against racism in her fandom and was so scared of then being doxxed by her co-fans that she left.. And all she’d done was call out antiblackness after two years of supporting it and harassing Black fans.
When all of these people who’ve made hating me (As A POC TOO) their very present personalities speak up about racism – you know, because someone’s gotta do it and I am not the right person to them – they’re treated… like they treat me. Just like how they allow other people to treat me in the name of upholding the racist status quo in fandom.
I understand that no one wants the treatment that I get merely for writing about racism in fandom. I clearly do not want it and I wish it would stop.
People are really horrifyingly cruel and racist to me because I write about racism in different fandoms or point it out in media. No one should ever have to deal with the treatment I get simply for talking about racism in fandom, and I would only wish it on my worst enemy at the point where I got a nemesis worthy of it.
It sucks to have people try to disprove your points about racism or insult you for expressing hurt feelings or that you’ve been triggered by racism and white supremacy in action in a space. It’s scary how invasive they get and how they will block evade while accusing you of stalking or harassment. The violent language, the baseless accusations of abuse, the way they tag in other POC to insult you (sometimes with actual slurs) and dismiss both our lived experiences and academic work… it’s deeply upsetting.
But me recognizing that… still doesn’t mean I have to give more than an ounce of empathy to the situations at large.
I cannot and do not care about PickMe POC who sit there and accept or decide that I and people like me deserve to be treated badly because we talk about racism… only to turn around and be all Surprised Pikachu Meme when the same racists they’ve empowered for years turn on them.
What were they expecting? Any of them?
Seriously: If you’re bosom buddies in fandom with someone who thinks the Black Lives Matter movement is American liberal politics, talks shit about Black/brown people who speak on the racism in your fandom from the “outside”, and/or participates in racist harassment of a public figure of color… why the hell are you expecting them to be nice to you when you speak about racism and remind them that you’re more than a token?
You are not special.
Literally, PickMe POC/POC TOO-type fandom users are a dime a dozen. They’re not special. You can’t spit without hitting one.
Because no one wants to be mistreated in fandom so many people of color will waddle up to do the mistreatment themselves if they don’t have a strong support circle of other well-adjusted POC to support them.
I suppose, if I didn’t have friends who had my back publicly and privately, I might have been tempted to become part of the racist problem in fandom just to avoid the harassment… But probably not? Because I can’t imagine not having the friend group in and out of fandom that I do. I also can’t imagine being that embarrassing post age-18.
Anyway, this was a very long way to say that whenever I see a POC TOO who’s harassed me, supported harassment from white fans/other POC, or whatever then get harassed by those same people when they try to speak about racism in the same fandom they’ve defended from conversations about racism… I fucking lose it laughing.
I think it is genuinely the funniest thing ever and I think they actually do deserve to have their racist white friends turn on them over their mild ass “um excuse me, but this is possibly racist” responses to often genuinely horrific racist content.
It happens multiple times a year in multiple fandoms full of people who hate me for being correct and anti-racism. I always find out and it’s just… so fucking funny because these are always POC TOO who have actively or passively tried to make my life hell for speaking out against racism in different fandoms… slowly realizing that what they’ve really done is make their own lives hell because the racists are now mad that they’re not a silent token of color.
The shuffling and tap dancing they performed for these racists in an attempt to destroy me and other Black/brown people… isn’t their real personality and racists really don’t like that.
In the end, these POC TOO are reaping what they’ve sown (racism in fandom), they get what they deserve (which is not my empathy or understanding), and ultimately since they’ve chosen to lie down with racist dogs, they’re gonna get up with racist fleas… And bites from the dogs they’ve been feeding for years.
Perhaps in the future, they’ll rethink positioning themselves as obstructions in the way of good faith conversations about racism in fandom. I doubt it because of how often this happens (so many times a year, seriously), but maybe the fourth or fifth time per POC TOO, per fandom will finally sink in that the solution is… getting rid of racists in fandom, not attacking and lying on my Black ass.