Meme-Ing For A Reason #14 – Racist Clown Shit

The “clown applying makeup” meme with the top panel with the man applying base paint saying “Before you talk about racism in fandom as a POC, have you considered fighting and stopping racism everywhere else first?”. The second panel, where the clown has his makeup on, says, “Actually if the AO3 does anything about racist fanworks or behaviors, next they’ll have to take down [nonbigoted thing] and it’ll open them to lawsuits”. The third panel, where the clown is being fitted for his wig, says, “Would you yell at a librarian for the library having Mein Kampf on the shelves? No? Then don’t talk about how the AO3 could do anything about racist content.” And finally, the fourth panel with the fully made up clown, says, “If AO3 tries to do anything about racist fanworks, there goes the entire danmei, anime, and kpop tags”.

The thing about the statements in that meme is… they all exist in some form. You can read one of them below in the screenshot in my second embedded tweet and the others went viral over twitter – like the full clown take about AO3 doing anti racism leading to wiping out entire East Asian media fandom collections.

For about two weeks – which is, by the way, the usual run time racist white fandom devotes to this twice a year – loads of people in online fandom have been publicly defending their right to be racist in fandom and the “need” for the AO3 to allow (and protect) overtly racist fancontent and racists on the platform with not even an ounce of consequences.

The tweets and threads we’ve gotten have been incredible in how shamelessly racist they were and said/did things like:

  • “the AO3 isn’t meant for consumers/consumption” and suggested the AO3 was like a nature preserve and racists (and their racist fic were natural and needed to be preserved like we were in that one Futurama movie),
  • that person aggressively demanding to know why they had to swear “race fealty” to a person of color talking about racism in fandom.
  • the insistence from people (including POC TOO) that the actual thing we need to do to end racism in fandom is… end police brutality and fight racism in mainstream media rather than do anything about fandom spaces that are kind of clearly racist as shit
  • that compared people of color going “i feel unappreciated and unsafe in fandom as people actively defend racists and racism in fandom while telling us to GTFOto the fucking Nazis “regulating fiction”,
  • that claimed that “antis” wanting any policies and practices to minimize racism in fandom was the exact same as Nazis burning the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft.

(You know… because Nazis, like cops, were absolutely known for caring about racism in a given space. (They weren’t!) What an excellent but horrifying example of Godwin’s Law in action… a bunch of white people/white aligned POC openly defending racism while calling the people talking about racism in that space Nazis themselves…)

This, dear friends, is clown shit.

It’s all racist clown shit and if queer/women fandom spaces weren’t hopped up on this fake fear of POC “stealthing” a perpetually ill-defined “anti rhetoric” into their anti racism, maybe they’d spot the racist grift?

I mean, probably not because they’re taking their talking points from people who’ve been racist on their main fandom accounts on the regular, who harass POC in their own fandoms, and who publicly defend racism even in fandoms they’re not in (like furry fandoms)… But I can pretend that there’s some sense to be found there.

For me, and other POC watching this play out, it’s all extremely obvious how white supremacy is entrenched in fandom spaces populated by queer white people/women… You know, because they keep telling us to leave, harassing us, and being racist towards and about us when we complain even on our own… about racism.

Every single time anyone criticizes any aspect of the AO3 – like the recent reveal of the organization having no idea what to do with about a million in reserves or the refusal to do any real effort towards creating and enacting some kind of anti racism policy – it’s framed like the US government is coming to snatch folks’ fic from them. It’s a constant, purposeful positioning of people – including people of color – as “outside agitators“, not real fans. Something clearly believed by the board and people in charge of that particular fandom space.

I guess… because it’s all over (White) Queer People/Women’s Right To Personal Pleasure, no one gives a shit?

They (which unfortunately includes some of you) all just accept that a little racism and a lot of POC leaving fandom is necessary so that fandom can keep on keeping on. They’ve paid the racism tax and it’s fine because they’re not affected by racism they’ve opened the door to… forget how people of color in fandom spaces deserve a little freedom from racism. It’s giving me some major “fuck you, I’ve got mine” energy.


I guess, beyond the Godwin’s Law thing where people are actively and purposefully linking POC critical of active racism in fandom to fash like TERFs and Nazis and cops to derail and discredit us, there’s one other thing that’s been tripping me up.

Isn’t it weird how we’ve gone from all of these people fully denying that racism in transformative queer/women fandom was even a thing in the first damn place to… this? Fandom now has people publicly saying that racism they’re seeing, that we’re talking about in different fandoms, has to be protected.

Because if AO3 hires a consultant or puts together a panel to handle and develop anti-racist policy:

  • there’ll be lawsuits from IP holders now that they know the AO3 is vulnerable (that makes no sense)
  • East Asian media fandoms with content hosted on the platform will be decimated (i mean… that’s not likely but also… what the shit are y’all writing?)
  • “antis” will then come for other content like stories with “age gaps” or about “consensual non consent” (the framing of “first they come for racism, then they’ll come for my porn” is pervasive across these discourses and very disturbing)
  • POC like me will be given the power to form committees to take down specific fic that’s not really racist (imagine thinking the OTW would give me any power over the AO3 — or that I’d want to do any of that if they did actually)
  • fans outside of the US will be subject to US-oriented definitions of racism/anti-racism and so they will be mistreated for… saying slurs, I guess (I don’t know that other countries and cultures have such vastly different definitions of racism that ‘don’t be racist’ is like US-centrism… but okay why don’t these people ever suggest local anti racism experts??)

Oh, and above all else, these people in fandom are spreading the fear that doing literally anything about racism on AO3 (or that’s done in defense of it, which keeps happening) will destroy fandom as we know it.

It’s fearmongering to protect what is clearly a racist status quo.

It’s an immoral panic, not genuinely backed up by anything and that purposefully conflates POC speaking about our experiences with racism… with the people who do harass others over ships and shit. People are publicly accusing POC of faking caring about racism in fandom, of speaking over other POC when we talk about what hurts us from the people around us. They’re saying that we are performative, that we’re using our power as POC (what power?) to control fandom and to try and force people to do what we want –

But again, this is all about racism. The folks pushing the “antis are still just trying to take your porn and they’re using racism as the issue of the day” shit… are trying to get fans to reject caring about racism in fandom. They’re trying to make it okay to distrust POC who speak on racism because what if they also dislike something else in fandom. It’s why they gesture at everyone who is critical of fandom and rename them as an “anti”, going through our tweets and likes dating back years to validate not just them not caring about racism in fandom – but other people doing so too.

And unfortunately, hundreds if not thousands of people are falling for this.

Ask yourself: why is it that the people openly defending racism and shutting down conversations about racism in fandom/on the AO3 (for being “US centric”, run by “antis”, etc.) never have any solutions themselves. Ask yourself why these people always position themselves as POC or using their privilege in favor of them… but only in the context of derailing these conversations and defending racism in fandom. Ask yourself why anyone would defend racism as a “natural” part of any fandom space. Ask yourself why so many people don’t want queer/women fandom to be a safe space for people of color upset with racism in fandom.

Ask yourself…

Why is it that so many people with demonstrable power and somewhat significant platforms in fandom (despite the fact that all they do create is drama and discourse) have chosen repeatedly to use their power and influence on fearmongering and defending racism – rather than shutting it down?

About Stitch

Stitch writes about what needs to be written.
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1 Response to Meme-Ing For A Reason #14 – Racist Clown Shit

  1. militantlyromantic says:

    Believe me when I say I realize this is not the point of this post, but my brain is stuck on that TJVain Twitter thread. Because I don’t donate to OTW, I’ve largely been ignoring the financial situation for years. I stopped paying attention after, hm…2016, I believe, when I am fairly certain, but would never be able to prove it, that they actually DID have an embezzlement issue that they, uh, “handled internally” for lack of a better phrase, and didn’t reveal to stakeholders, which, y’know, illegal, but whatevs. Let’s assume I’m wrong, tho. Let’s assume that nothing hinky and certainly nothing criminal has ever occurred with OTW’s finances. I’ll be honest: I think what they’re saying when they say “we might hire someone” and “in case something bad happens” is “we want 1.5M in the bank in case we need a serious legal team.” And all the weird ass language about not hiring volunteers actually has to do with the fact that they’re worried about needing the kinds of lawyers that don’t volunteer for them (or needing the kind of hours that even those people don’t like seeing themselves as heroes enough to donate). Basically: I think OTW has serious concerns about SOMETHING. What that is, I don’t pay close enough attention these days to even guess at. But also, I could be full of it and this could just be what happens when nobody on a Board knows how to manage money.

    Like

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