State of Fandom Racism 2021

Episode Description

In which I cover the current state of racism in queer/feminist fandom. Newsflash: it’s even more racist than previous years and yet, next year will be worse!

Episode Notes

Transcript

0:00:01.8: State of Fandom Racism, 2021.

In 2021, Fandoms got more racist, so much more racist. Sure, the dude bros’ mad that anyone not like them gets cast and things are up and about, but my focus is on queer feminist Fandom, and friends, it’s a scary fact that so few of you realize how deeply enmeshed open, white supremacist ideologies and languages are in these spaces. Think about how often people use ‘woke’ in a derogatory way, about fans of color talking about racism, and you might start to see a corner of the full picture.

Queer/Feminist Fandom in 2021 has been a place where people are openly racist in the defense of whatever they like or care about in Fandom, it doesn’t matter what they’re into. It just matters that they feel as though their side is the right side, and that justifies being super racist in its defense.

0:01:03.7: So I’m going to go over some of the things I notice in 2021 when it comes to racism and Fandom, how it’s evolved from past years and what I expect Fandom to do in the future. I’ll also address some things people sent me when I asked people to send me things to talk about for this, that they may have seen or experienced in modern Fandom as fans of color.

In 2021, lots of people in different Fandoms decided to get real racist towards East Asian media and fans. People angry at shipping practices and Fandoms like Genshin Impact chose to be Sinophobic on Main, and anti-racism, anti-Asian racism in Fandom wasn’t just limited to that. I saw people touting the same anti-CCP conspiracies about COVID that were directly responsible for an increase of anti-Asian hate in the United States and elsewhere, including non-Chinese c-Drama fans who didn’t understand why some Chinese diaspora fans were initially upset with Zhang Zhehan for his visit to Yasukuni Temple previously. They went straight to Sinophobic insults and conspiracy theories and racism in defense of their favorite Chinese actor.

0:02:15.9: I saw people accusing Chinese diaspora fans of gatekeeping and in some cases, reverse racism for asking FanFic writers for different Danmei series, especially now that MXTX’s big three series are getting English translation through Seven Seas, to remember that they can’t just slap a modern AU on the characters where they live in Minnetonka in the ’90s and call it a day. There are currently, as I record this, Genshin Impact fans making fun of Traditional Chinese forms of opera, because in Game, Yun Jin is voiced in Chinese by Yang Yang, a talented opera performer.

On stan Twitter, people would not stop with racist jokes about Korean idols they had beef with, especially if they also didn’t like the Fandom for said group. How about the Russian Atiny that mocked ATEEZ’s English and appearance while still maintaining much of her large following as an influencer. This is all something that has been increasing since 2020 and it’s hard not to see the racism around COVID, coverage of COVID and fear-mongering around China and North Korea as part of that.

0:03:26.1: At the same time, another thing I also saw, people weaponizing anti-Asian racism to shut down conversations about anti-blackness. I have a piece that is perpetually in progress, because I know the backlash will be anti-black as heck and people will try to get me fired once again, but it’s about the ways that anti-black Asians in different diasporic communities and racist white people will weaponize a fear of anti-Asian racism from black people to protect anti-black East Asian media products or celebrities. Literally saw one such racist show up to tell a Chinese-American danmei fan, talking about racism and Fandom from white people, that the real racism against Chinese people in Fandom and outside of it is from black people, that was just a few days ago. That person parroted white supremacist lies about how black people participate the most in anti-Asian racism and that we are supposedly responsible for the majority of attacks against Asian people over COVID. This is a claim that was debunked repeatedly and shown to be a white supremacist lie, and there it was, regurgitated in queer Fandom over shipping.

0:04:37.9: This behavior goes hand-in-hand with infantilizing East Asians as people who apparently, “Cannot be bothered to understand that anti-blackness hurts people and cannot be expected to know that mocking black people for being black is wrong.” This whole thing is just a fannishh version of the way that the GOP and conservatives in white supremacist spaces have spent years actively pitting black people in various Asian diasporic communities against each other here in the US. And it’s sickening because the people pushing it, including here in Fandom, know that they’re lying about the relationships our communities have and the behaviors they’re seeing, but they refuse to stop doing something that is historically harmful.

0:05:22.2: And it’s something I’ve been experiencing since 2018 when I wrote a piece about my dissatisfaction with Rose Tico, wanting a better art for her with more screen time, less jealousy towards Ray, who she didn’t know, and then shifting her approach to Finn. It was reframed by Rake Hilo fans masquerading as Rose Tico fans as me being racist towards Asian people. The post is still up. You can read it right now. I think you should.

It’s actually the first time I touched on the idea of how people would weaponize Asian people/characters in order to get away with being anti-black in Fandom because of the time when black fans talked about discomfort with how Finn’s Arc was diminished and how Jason Frye in the novelization and Ryan Johnson in the film had Rose talk down to Finn and mess with him for comedic effect. When we talked about that we were accused of being anti-Asian, even if we were saying, “Well, this sucks.”

0:06:25.8: It does not insult or diminish Rose Tico or Kelly Marie Tran. In fact, like I said, it argues for more screen time and better writers. You don’t trade on misogyny to write a female character. And despite that, including the fact that it’s still up, it’s used to this day to argue that I’m a racist hypocrite in Fandom by people who clearly didn’t read the piece and who are themselves actually racist.

This brings me to the two wild-ass things that happened to me in 2021. As you all know, I have a column with Teen Vogue and service. Twice this year, February and May, I’ve had Rey/Kulo or Reylo shippers, proshippers – or more on them, check out Melina Pendulum’s video on purity culture in Fandom and Sarah Z’s video on antis and proshippers – and assorted fans of series I don’t know or care about.

0:07:17.6: I’m all about Scum Villain and now, love love it. But in May, I was on the outskirts of that Fandom, and so there was no reason or way for anyone in that Fandom to know me as an anti of their thing, and yet that’s what they knew me as. And then these people all joined up to form a racist hate Voltron to try and take me down. One of the ways that they tried to do that was to insist that I was actually the real racist in Fandom and that I had been racist to other people of color in Fandom. Oh, and that I was racist to Kelly Marie Tran who I had just interviewed over that article I just mentioned.

0:07:56.1: But again, not a racist article at all, not even little bit, because I wrote it while hyper-aware of what Kelly Marie had already gone through at the hands of the Fandom menace, and I at no point wanted to add to that. And yet it, and my use of the term PickMe to talk about people who want to be picked by racists in Fandom, were being used to insist that I was racist against Asian and that I didn’t deserve my column or the opportunity to talk about racism and fandom. The PickMe thing is incredibly laughable because it’s like, the only way you’d think that’s racist as opposed to being faintly snotty or just an insult is if you were either not black or so unfamiliar with black American English dialects as a black person, that you had to have white racists educate you in your own language, which is pathetic.

This whole thing is how I got my first ONTD story – oh, no, they didn’t. But I’m still holding out for steamy relationship with a rapper that goes poorly, obviously – because hundreds of people were brigading Teen Vogue, insulting me, claiming that I was actually a racist, that I had harmed a black child by supposedly re-blogging something, insulting them, not that I insult them, someone else did in the scenario no one has proof of, and a bunch of other stuff.

0:09:14.5: People are still, as in continuously claiming that I’d said things like “child abuse survivors deserve what happened to them” or insisting that I said that they deserve to be ridiculed in adulthood, which of course I never said. Why would I say that? That would be so far beyond acceptable levels of fucked up.

And it’s all because they’re mad I write about racism in Fandom, have a platform to do so and that people listen to me, which kind of clearly makes it clear that these are fucking racists. These are clearly racists in Fandom.\ Even though the people leading the charge were openly racist, violent, were using racist and misogynistic language, including slurs, that they misgendered me, they blamed me for Fandom events I wasn’t even connected with, and that they weren’t sure if they even happened, like a couple of assaults and supposed suicides that I don’t even know if they occurred, but I know I was not connected to them at all at any level.

0:10:11.8: GoreSpams, suicide baiting, these are things that I would never do in my life to another human being and have called out since 2015 or ’16, but I’m being accused of it by people who’ve never spoken to me, who have no proof that I supposedly did all of these things, and people in Fandom are seeing that and instead of going, “Well, that sounds fucking fake,” they’re going, “Oh, well, I understand you don’t have proof ’cause you have trauma,” and they’re watching their mutuals and their favorite discourse blogs try to destroy my life in defense of racism in Fandom.

 Thousands of people saw Fandom, queer feminist Fandom, mobilized in an attempt to end my career as a writer over fucking ships, but really, their devotion to racism, and continue to do and say nothing in my defense because they think I deserve it. They believe that this is what fans of color get for speaking firmly on racism in Fandom. We deserve punishment, libel, harassment, threats, etcetera, for speaking out about what happens to us on the regular, especially when wider, whiter Fandom doesn’t give us prior approval, especially when people listen to us.

0:11:22.9: In 2021, Fandom made it clear and tried to use me as an example via tactics I was assured only anti’s used, like trying to get me fired repeatedly, calling me a TERF, I think somebody called me a pedo at one point, that being against racism in Fandom was worse than being a racist in Fandom. Anti-racism is anti-Fandom and bad, but racism is just fine and normal and actually belongs here, unlike people of color who’d like to not experience racism in the supposed safe escapist space of Fandom. These people threw their weight behind multiple races and multiple Fandoms, whitewashers, chanters, even Paul Gosar, the GOP Congressman.

0:12:09.0: That was a point where a bunch of proshippers and not just the dude bro weaves turned an accused Jamaal Bowman, a black Congressman from New York City, calling out Gosar both for the video he shared, which edited AOC into the Attack on Titan Universe and had her being killed off and for dismissing the impact of media on people, pointing out, ’cause he did this, that rightfully, that cartoons have fueled bigotry in the past. You can look at the role of early US superhero comics in fueling anti-Asian racism during World War II. Birth of a Nation came after decades of really racist characters in media. Proshippers openly accused them of being an anti.

They defended Gosar as a result because Fandom in 2021 is increasingly not just racist, but white supremacist, as in people are openly sucking up to other fans who use racial slurs and support racial stereotypes and language outside of slurs on Main just because those people like or would defend content that Fandom likes. As in, there’s at least one discourse account, the widely consumed anti takes account, that redefined Bowman as an anti while retweeting pro-Rittenhouse content because it debunked, supposedly, antis’ criticism of the impact of media on Fandom on people, Some anon in the proshipper community tried to do a callout of the white supremacy infiltration of proshipping spaces and connected it to dude bros.

0:13:50.8: And that account was subject to harassment, both from open dude bros moaning about the social justice warriors with pronouns and bio, and from queer white/white-aligned fans defending dude bros’ rights to do anything but shut the fuck up. So it’s clear that in 2021, Fandom is this place where if someone likes or will defend your particular brand of the age gap content from antis, it’s okay that they’re openly racist on Main too, because at least they’re not an anti.

This Fandom binary of pro/anti-shipper basically hides that all of these spaces are hostile towards fans of color for being imperfect, for not being obedient, for not being better, letting better positioned white fans use us or talk over us. Each side says the other is racist, and I’m here to tell you it’s all racist because Fandom is racist. People with power in Fandom, BNFs, discourse blogs, admin for the OTW and AO3 do nothing to make Fandom less racist and safer for all fans of color who deserve escapism, weird content not safe for work content without racism.

0:15:03.6: But to be clear, in my immediate experience, it remains that the racist anti-harassment radically anti-censorship, free speech absolutists with their dork-ass Rainbow meet Proshipper emoji combo, openly harassing everyone under the sun in the name of anti-harassment and trying to plant their racist little flag in the old history of modern online Fandom, retroactively because proshipping is four years old, they’re the big bullies poisoning the well the most and who I think have done more damage to conversations about racism in Fandom than the average shrieking teen losing their shit on people over Genshin Impact ships.

The problem is people in Fandom are sheep and they are being led to a feature of Fandom that is openly, disgustingly white supremacist, because they are told that the people doing this are doing it to protect them.

0:16:00.3: In 2021, Fandom reminded us that it thinks racism has to be intentional to be harmful, but also that people of color airing their frustrations are violent and mean and hurting others regardless of intent. Quite honestly, whether or not you’re a POC TOO, if you think racism, propaganda, etcetera, have to be labeled as such to be that or to have influence on people, you’re at best naïve, and at worst, you are someone who’s lying to yourself and others for clout.

In 2021, Fandom actually made it really clear that it believes anti-racism in Fandom, or even just speaking about the publicly racist shit tons of white women and queers who aren’t all women and their pet POC TOO do in defense of Fandom is racist. Yes, they believe that anti-racism in fandom is racist. It’s not just anti-racism in Fandom is anti-Asian, which they also do, it’s very clear that loads of white people in Fandom don’t just think that it’s possible to be racist against them, but that you are being racist against them by talking about how they as white people invested in racism in Fandom fuel and fund, via social capital and clout mostly, but sometimes actually donating money to people for projects taking on people of color like me, they think that we are engaging in anti-white woman/queer racism. Sickening, I know.

0:17:21.7: If you look at some of the people who spent the past two years up my gorgeous ass and crying about my work, the bone of their beef with me is that they think I hate white people. They’ll tell you that. They will say that they are upset because I hate white people, which I don’t. Of course, I don’t. I do not, but I hate whiteness. I hate white entitlement, I hate people who weaponize white people’s marginalized identities, their womanhood, their queerness, their transness, their disabilities, their trauma, in order to get away with racism.

Saying that is apparently racist against white people, apparently, and so much more racist than the people I’m talking about who are defending racist content and behaviour, stalking and harassing people of color in multiple Fandoms, viewing and urging other peoples to view people of color through stereotypes and even using racist slurs publicly. Fandom in 2021 is super racist and fragile about it and I don’t get it. You’re willing to be racist publicly, like you’re harassing people defending racism, embraces tropes behavior or content with your Main account, but then when someone goes, “Wow, that racist thing you did publicly was racist, you lose it. You start crying and shaking and screaming and throwing up, either you didn’t think your actions through or you have, and you realized that pretending, you’re afraid of a black person with a blog will get you clout and cuddled.

0:18:43.0: Either way, you’re a piece of shit. But you should be able to own it. I don’t mean joking with your fellow Fandom homo-nationalists about how, “Of course, I’m racist. I’m white.” I mean, just go full total racist, embrace your inner channer bitches, because I am tired of the bawling and the lying, personally.

Now, now, I don’t know everything about what’s been going on with the Old Guard Fandom on Tumblr and Twitter, so there are things that I cannot verify for myself and so will not speak on. For instance, I don’t go to Kiwi Farms to find info on people I dislike or don’t know, and so I won’t be consuming a potential dox of someone in Fandom. My morals are murky, but not that murky.

But I will say that this is one of the most racist Fandoms I’ve ever seen, and I actively wish for bad things to happen to this Fandom.

0:19:35.9: This is the Fandom that brought us multiple people writing racist fic in retaliation over, hey, have you considered not making that one character a mindless, abusive, racist stereotype of a top from some people? It’s the Fandom that brought you the white Gen X are proudly volunteering that she thinks racist erotica with Mandingo notes are erotic, and that racist fic and racists have a home in fandom and should be protected. It’s the fandom where someone offering up ways to remove authors that you dislike from showing up in your AO3 searches was accused of being a Nazi and “reducing people to numbers.”

0:20:11.3: Oh my God.

it’s a fandom where I just saw an Asian-American member of the fandom who had previously gotten an anon saying they should be shot for calling out white saviourism in the old guard Fandom’s charity efforts, get a different anon trying to weaponized Jewish identity and antisemitism by asking, “So where did Jewish people fall in your POC/White passing chart?” ‘Cause sure Jewish people are “white passing”, but they’re hardly white privileged. The whole American concept of race and ethnicity is pretty skewed.”

I shouldn’t have to tell you that the white supremacy oozes from this anon pitting Jewish people against non-Jewish people, especially people of color. But also, there are Jewish people of color, like black and Asian people can be Jewish.

And this is all to win discourse points over the Italian actor in the film. It’s deeply disturbing that Jewish identity is weaponized here and elsewhere in the fandom, along with other marginalized identities to just let racists keep being racists in fandom/their fan works. And the people doing so are often openly parading white supremacist lingo and ideology in the process.

0:21:20.9: This kind of ties in the last part, where the anon is like, the whole American concept of race and ethnicity is pretty skewed, right? This ties into another racist fandom thing in 2021, how lots of racists around the world have weaponized gringo or Westerner as a short hand for black people/other people of color talking about racism.

I saw it a lot at the end of 2020, where Hetalia fans would call literally anyone talking about the issues with the series and its original fandom, like all the fucking Nazi stands, the portrayal of Korea, the fact that it turned World War II baddies into cute and quirky heroes, gringos and Westerners, but they’ve in fact, increased doing the thing across 2021. Talk about a Japanese actor in blackface and get called a Westerner forcing your politics on innocent Japanese people, bring up a situation with an idol beloved by South Americans, like the harassment and fighting between Blackswan member, Fatou, who is Senegalese and Belgian, and Leia, who’s Japanese-Brazilian, and you get accused of being a gringo by people using anti-black slurs and language beyond that.

0:22:33.5: There are some things that are clearly the result of US-oriented mindsets, there are things Westerners simply do not get about some source medias cultures, even with research. But if you look at how many of the people calling everyone with criticism of a thing in fandom, westerners or gringo should dismiss their criticism and frame them as US-centric, xenophobic assholes, even when they are actually from the culture being criticized, it’s a pattern worth questioning for how it winds up shutting down black and brown people with any criticism of fandom or media, and framing them constantly as entitled Americas. In 2021, people in fandom realized even more that they could weaponize their identities and that of their friends, random strangers, to shut down and derail conversations about racism in fandom.

0:23:19.8: Back in January, I made a meme using Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, that says, “Don’t have a marginalized identity of your own to weaponize for fandom discourse, a PickMe will do in a pinch,” because this is the current state of fandom discourse when it comes to racism or something. If you’re not also a person of color too, just speak for one, just tag one in, just use an identity as a leverage to shut down critical conversations, while screeching that the person you’re talking to, or about, is doing just that.

Hell, they’ll make up ethnic identities for people, see how biracial Mexican-American Tyler Posey is apparently actually white, and so the decade plus of harassment he’s gotten from racist Derek fans isn’t racism. But Tyler Hoechlin with unspecified, unconfirmed native ancestry is a person of color, and so calling him or Derek Hale white is racist.

0:24:20.0: Oh, and it’s not just race, it’s not just, “Oh, as a person of color too,” it’s other marginalized identities like trans identities. So if you’ve kept up with the Isabel Fall stuff where a trans-fem sci-fi writer kinda got yeaded from the community and accused of being a sad puppy, which is like a contingent of comics gate like men in sci-fi fandoms who tried to game the system and were super anti-diversity, and she was misgendered, because people essentially decided that not only was the story title like a clear sign that she had to have been a sad puppy, but that only women… That women could only write in specific ways, and Fall couldn’t be a woman because she didn’t write in the way they expected. You should check out the Vox article that Emily VanDerWerff did where she spoke to Isabel and got that information and put her own story down. It doesn’t, probably, doesn’t surprise you to know that queer white fandom has Columbus, that situation to shut down conversations about racism too.

0:25:29.6: This is especially wild if you saw the way that TERF has been repurposed by people in fandom who aren’t being hit by trans-misogyny or transphobia as a whole, to mean a person being rude about or disliking a thing or a person that are like, even accusing transwomen of being TERFs for speaking out about this trend in fandom.

I’ve gotten Twitter replies and website comments accusing me of being responsible for what happened to Fall, saying that my work on racism is censorship, like what happened to her, or that the people harassing me for years at this point are true knights protecting assumed white transwomen from me talking about racism, apparently, and they’re not trans-fems. Most of the people using fear of trans-misogyny to be racist in queer fandom spaces are cis-white queers or white NBs or trans mask who just love racism so much that they’ve decided to hop on board something that doesn’t have anything to do with me, to blame me for it apparently.

0:26:29.9: And again, what happened to Fall has been horrific and inappropriate, and I have also watched lots of white queers and trans people go out of their way to harass people of color, who are sometimes not actually involved at any point in revenge for this in and out of the specific science fiction community this trans-misogyny occurred in. But anyway, I’ve gotten accused of weaponizing my identity before, of playing the black card.

And first of all, going in my experience as a queer black writer and researcher with a decade of experience in cultural criticism and media analysis, isn’t playing the race card or the black card, it’s something all marginalized people have to do in an attempt to be respected as experts in their field. Before I had my degrees, I’d try to be like, “This is racist, because you shouldn’t reduce a black man to a sentient dick” or killing off a black woman character so your white dude feel something is weird.

0:27:27.7: It didn’t actually work, even though back then I also had people in media studies speaking out against that stuff, because I didn’t have experience. Now I have degrees and I have experience and I still can’t get people to understand that I’m an expert. Because now I’m a fake academic or a member of the Academic Elite and I am weaponizing my identity.

I talk about my identity often, I’m queer, black, neurodivergent, I’ve got trauma both from offline incidents, and about half a decade of white people increasing racist harassment and making an attempt to make me feel unsafe offline and online. My identities and their intersections with each other, along with my trauma, inform how, why and what I write. So of course, I bring them up in my work, because I’m writing often about racism from people who are supposed to be part of my queer fandom communities. The difference between me and other people, the mammy trope isn’t racist because they were real mammies and that wasn’t racist.

0:28:29.0: The, “I would ship Kyle Rittenhouse and Greta Thunberg if they were fictional because they were born on the same day” and blah, blah, blah, star cross lovers, weirdos, the white supremacist deserves redemption to POC, to head asses, is that the people in fandom going as a POC to, as a queer person, blah, blah, blah… To shut me down or make these absolutely banana pants claims are doing so in defense of bigotry, they’re doing so to protect white supremacist beliefs in fandoms.

They’re doing it in service of measurably harmful attitudes and beliefs about, for example, sexual proclivities of black people, they’re doing it so they can continue to have a weak and wobbly seat at the racist ass table white, queer, feminist fandom built. After the racist, POC too, those people of color who made their identity all about defending racism in fandom, like there are people, especially in proshipping communities online who will defend stuff because they’ve seen me criticize it.

0:29:38.3: Like the racism in True Crime, cultural appropriation from Idols or Lana Wachowski, from the Matrix, she’s the director, or even hate speech. These people are maybe the second biggest reason why the landscape of random racism and the conversations we have look like this, because they literally run to give racists in fandom permission to be racist, to harass other people of color, to hurt people of color, to create racist content, these POC too can, as the kids definitely don’t say on here or anywhere else, eat a dick. But can we talk about how white queers harassed T-Franklin on Twitter for months, I’m still not over that. I get that tone doesn’t come across well online or in text, but you’ve got to be kidding me, with the people insisting she was actually anti-lesbian for making Harley and Ivy chaotic bisexuals, which I thought they were already, because Gotham city sirens and harass her to this day over it, because she made a joke about hating lesbians while talking to a lesbian and using a quirky emoji.

0:30:51.7: Again, white queer people in fandom led the charge of insulting and harassing this queer woman, including trying to get her fired from DC, and it’s just, this is what queer feminist fandom does in 2021. It does what it has always done, zero in on black queer fans and creators as their sites for racist rage, make up shit where we supposedly have hurt them somehow, despite how we’re never talking to or about them, and then they use that to excuse harassing us for months or even years. Get a fucking hobby, you creeps. And fandom in 2021, queer feminist fandom realized it could basically get away with all kinds of racism if they made a black person the scapegoat or the real villain or the real racist, and boy, did they do that often. Here are some other things fandom realized in 2021. In 2021, the A03 and OTW did nothing to protect fans of color from racism or support or even do any anti-racism efforts.

0:31:53.6: They realized they didn’t have to keep their promises. They also continue to support bad faith leading questions from known racists in fandom. In 2021, racists in fandom, like that godawful racist bitch, Francesca, centered themselves in conversations about racism in fandom as thought leaders, they dominated the conversations, called us all antis, and moaned that if only if we were nicer, people would listen to us, but also we’re apparently antis no matter what and not worth listening to, because we just want nothing, we want boring content, apparently. Sure, that’s not true, but sure. In 2021, as I’ve been saying, racism in fandom got worse and less subtle, and a lot of fans turned their faces to stop seeing what’s being done in their name in their fandoms.

0:32:46.9: Now, let’s talk about some of the things people sent me or wanted me to speak on before we wrap all of this shit up. First, one of my friends, Nat, asked me to talk about how white people in fandom are really entitled to black labor and art, even though they hate us. She brought up how Reylo shippers, who again, as we keep putting out, repeatedly and openly tried to get me fired from Teen Vogue twice this year, and then they got mad at me for not highlighting their self-inflicted struggled with the fandom menace. She also brought up how she used to get reported on AO3 over writing fics with black people centered in her reader inserts by people who would then moan and complain about having to hunt for her work now that it’s off of AO3.

 In 2021, we learned that racists in fandom are fucking entitled, I actually don’t get this one, if you don’t like our content, don’t respect our labor, don’t even see us as people, why would you try to get us to create or fight for you? Why would you think we’d do that? Is it the fandom brain rot? Is it that advanced?

0:33:51.8: Is it your expectation that we’ll forget that you reported us, tried to isolate us, called us slurs and insulted us? Oh, I don’t think anyone should be faced with racism in fandom, and if you’re a person of color, I do want you to get good content that makes you feel seen and yet, if you’re a racist or you kiss racists asses, solidify your place in a fandom space, you have no right to ask people, ask things of the people you’re hurting on purpose. People went after me for interviewing Kelly Marie Tran, they lied about me being racist to her and claimed I made her uncomfortable in our interview, which is wild because it’s not like they saw the video of our interview or heard us insta-bonding in real time. And then they turned around and demanded I defend them/asked why I didn’t defend them, literally a month later from the fandom menace, which again is a fight they picked to push the burden of racism in the Star Wars fandom onto dude bros, rather than reckon with the ongoing racism in Reylo Fandom.

0:34:53.6: I think that sort of entitlement is sickening and I hope your finger nails fall off if you do that to other people.

Then one of my followers, December, messaged me with a really interesting message, and I’m gonna unpack it more in the future, ’cause I think it’s just really interesting, and I don’t think I’d do it justice necessarily, but I’ll read the message. “I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how easily discussions on racism in fandom can be erased. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts on racism in fandom that got deleted or written in ambiguous ways to avoid harassment. That’s not to say that fandom on Twitter is somehow more or less racist than anywhere else, but it made me think about how ephemeral Twitter is and how some topics that I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere else disappears so easily. It frustrates me that ideas about “what BIPOC in fandom want are shaped by white people and PickMe POC,” who can just stomp out opinions that they find too threatening to white supremacy and racial hierarchies.”

0:35:52.3: “Example, as a Chinese-American, there’s some Chinese fandom stuff that I personally think white people should not be doing, but I think are fun for non-Chinese black, brown people to do. White people will more easily accept that everyone can participate equally, but not that white people specifically are not allowed to do this.”

And first of all, this is a great message to get, because I’m actually part of something coming out soon-ish, where we actually at one point, talked about things like this, like how the conversation about racism in fandom kind of gets easily vanished, no matter what side of the conversation you’re coming from via the pro anti-divide.

0:36:30.4: Think about how people keep saying tagging, especially the ability to tag other people’s work, is what fans of color want as a solution for racism on the A03, it’s something that’s been attributed to me for years, since 2018. I have never said that though, because I basically only see tagging as a way to organize content and to keep people from reading content they might be triggered by or aren’t in the mood for. TERFs aren’t going to tag bigoted content with TERF-friendly or trans-misogyny, because they don’t think it’s bigotry and they don’t identify as TERFs. They’re just gonna write really gross and trans-misogynistic content and not tag it or stealth their inner views… Opinions into their character’s mouths. Someone who thinks black people aren’t as smart as non-black people isn’t gonna tag their story where Sam Wilson is mocked for being a moron or Shuri is shit on, because she can’t be as smart as Tony Stark, they’re not gonna tag their stories racism.

0:37:25.5: Despite the fact that only a small percentage of fans of color have said, “We want more tagging and tagging controls as a solution to racism,” as opposed to a lot of white fans wanting that and a lot of shit steering discourse accounts fighting against that, it’s become what’s known to fandom.

0:37:41.4: It’s the thing we’re told we want and are arguing for, the right to tag and toss people’s content. It becomes ultimately about what fans want for us or what they are afraid of us having access to, and no one pauses to ask, “what might actually be effective?”

And then we have to write our posts to be non-threatening, which is impossible, because simply talking about racism is threatening to white supremacy-minded people in fandom, and that sometimes means a lack of specificity. Not saying something is specifically racist, not calling out users who repeatedly use slurs, not posting screenshots of nasty racism, because we’ll be accused of harassment as people of color and harassed in defense of racism in fandom. Even when we are so subtle and sub-tweet so hard as to make our arguments kind of useless, people still take them as violent threats. They still read them as directed or targeted harassment.

0:38:38.6: Oh, how about the way conversations about racism in fandom get buried under conversations about “problematic content”? The thing is that racism in fandom and fan works isn’t problematic, it’s just violent. It’s bigoted. It’s not the same as someone writing a story with consensual non-consent or plotting out a teacher-student relationship bringing Scum Villain to a magical modern setting or a story that’s a queer version of whatever the Marquis de Sade wrote that wasn’t racist, because he did write a lot of racist stuff, I will say that. He wrote a lot of racist stuff.

Sure, there are fans of color who lump the two things, bigotry and problematic content together when speaking about racism in fandom and things that shouldn’t be in fandom anymore. But if not all fans are racist, I guess, then not all fans of color feel the same way, but it’s also wrong to act like that, like we aren’t the same way, only when you want to uphold someone as the one POC to listen to.

0:39:42.8: But only about stuff that’s not actually happening in fandom, like The Silmarillion fan from last week who was complaining about Black people supposedly not wanting black characters to top or bottom to white ones, that’s not an issue in fandom, that’s not a complaint. You made up a guy, you little racist.

[chuckle]

0:40:02.8: Also, December, I too have things that black fans do that I don’t want white fans doing ever, but other fans of color who aren’t being anti-black about it can play with. I think that’s one thing that people keep forgetting when they talk about how we’re not monoliths, you know, people of color in fandom, to then shut down these conversations about racism in fandom. We all have different thresholds for nonsense, but the only thing that shouldn’t be welcome at all are white fans speaking for or over us about racism in fandom or fans of color who are like, “Me, me, me, me,” who don’t acknowledge that while they may not be hurt or sickened, other people are, and they should get a bit more priority. There are things that simply do not bother me. If I see other fans of color, especially in my fandoms or different idol groups, say that they’re hurt or offended by something that I disagree with or I’m unbothered by, do you know what I do? I journal about it. I don’t shut down people’s valid complaints or center whiteness or try to act that something isn’t racist because it doesn’t bother me. More people should try to get to that level of chill.

0:41:12.6: Now, on to a third question I got when I asked for input. This is from a friendly feline-themed friend who wanted to talk about how people in both sides of the pro-anti-shipper divide utilize horrific accusations like pedo, groomer, fetishizer, to excuse hurting other people, and how often fans of color on both sides, and people who aren’t even part of these binaries, are mistreated by these people here and can’t get support to rebuild their followings and clear the air.

0:41:44.4: So if you’re not on social media, one thing that has happened repeatedly across 2021 is a lot of racists accusing me of harming children or harming people who had been harmed as children. This was often wildly coupled with accusations that I was fetishizing underage Korean idols, which is not even true because I don’t actually consume content about or even buy teenage idols because they’re rookies and their music probably sucks. No offence to them, I just can’t do it. But despite the fact that there’s no proof of any of the things people say about me, especially in the context of harming children, it’s become normal from both proshipper and anti-hell levels to accuse me of harming or being harmful to children based on content I happen to consume, tropes I like on main, like Omegaverse or things I am assumed to have said or done, like the person who I probably repeated, supposedly reblogged something insulting them.

0:42:46.1: Not that I insulted them. Again, weird, and if I say publicly beyond here, “Hey, this is happening and it’s bad,” and I detail this kind of harassment that I really had only seen from antis in fandom exclusively, nothing will happen. When proshippers were accusing me of harming that child via reblog in 2018 and the person got revealed as lying about their age, they said they were 14, they were not… Even existed. No one apologized, no one said, “Perhaps all the other stuff people are saying about Stitch is a lie too. There’s no big push behind me like, “Oh man, racists in fandom are really low down and dirty liars and we need to fight them, not just for Stitch, but for all of us,” not the way it would be for a white person, especially one enmeshed in discourse, like being called a pedo by teenagers and Genshin Impact fandom over ships, because it’s all about who’s valuable to fandom, and fans of color aren’t, unless we are willing to lower ourselves to be used by white people.

0:43:52.9: And so one thing that, really cool… One of the quotes from our friends, very lovely, very introspective message, and I will be also revisiting their message and these themes and the feature works across 2022, because I do think it’s important to bring this nuance to the table. So one quote that I really clicked with is white fans believing their fan and position on how far should not safe for work art be allowed to go specifically makes them oppressed and they pretend it’s an oppressed/oppressor dynamic in and of itself, so that justifies their actions toward POC on the oppressor side, like I have these opinions on fanfic, therefore I’m being targeted and not thinking of the collateral damage towards people of color who don’t actually have the artistic freedom to put their face with their art.

0:44:46.3: In 2021 racists in fandom made it clear that they think whatever position they have in “problematic media” in and out of fandom makes them as oppressed, if not more oppressed, than people of color, period. They think it justifies what they do next and who they do it too, and I would really like them to think about who is actually constantly hurt by their insistence on centering themselves, their whiteness, and punishing people who disagree with them. Because it’s not white people, not really, because they can build a following no matter what, either on fighting antis or being persecuted for not liking, for example, Omegaverse dystopians. Fans of color, especially when we’re known and our faces, our names are relatively public, don’t have freedom to be ourselves at any point.

0:45:33.2: So what do I think 2022 will do for the state of fandom racism? I think queer/feminist fandom will continue to be more racist until racist fans actually manage to physically hurt people of color who talk about racism in fandom.

They already feel empowered to go after our relationships and fandoms, our jobs, to go to law enforcement and lie on us regardless of what side they think we’re on. How can fandom get anything but more racist in fandom? After all, who’s gonna stop this trajectory? Who’s gonna check these people? People are crying reverse racism, saying openly that anti-racism, temps in fandom are both anti-Asian and anti-white women or queer. They’re using slurs on main threatening fans of color who are talking about racism and their experience. They keep going after the livelihoods of people of color who comment, not just on racism and media and fandom, but whiteness in fandom. Daniel José Older, myself, Ashley Reese, John Boyega, Dr. Rukmini Pande, just a small list, like a segment of the very long list I’ve been collecting, of people of color who’ve had their work threatened, maligned, etcetera, in the name of protecting fandom from recognizing that fandom is racist.

0:46:46.2: They go after their own friends and co-fans, punishing them with shunning and harassment for speaking out against racism or even questioning, how can we make fandom and racism not a thing anymore? They rally around openly racist accounts just because those accounts share ships and fandoms with them and because those accounts hate people like me.

0:47:06.0: Fandom in 2021 is full of people who have made it clear that they will mercilessly harass and punish people of color for experiencing racism in fandom sooner than they will punish a racist, even when they don’t know or like for being racist, or they’ll ignore the racism as it happens because it doesn’t impact them, I guess. Couple that with increasingly fascist language that seems ripped from The Chans or GOP, like comparing people of color talking about racism to Nazis, book burners and fascists while actively trying to destroy the lives and work of these people of color, speaking on racism. And I do not see a way for fandom to get better, especially because this is all happening, because queer/feminist fandom doesn’t think it has a problem. It thinks we, people of color talking about fandom racism and what we experience, are the problem, and since we are “outsiders,” we should GTFO because they sure are uninterested in getting the racists out of here.

0:48:08.6: In 2021, we learned that racist think they run fandom, we learned that people were willing to pretend to be anti-racist for clout across the past two years, to attack and harass fans of color in the name of queer/feminist fandom while screeching that the only racists in fandom were dudebros.

We learned that fans of color talking about racism and fandom are seen as outsiders, agitators and antis and that people in power institutions like the A03 and OTW believe that too.

We learned that we are not real fans in fandom unless we bend the knee to an increasingly unsubtle white supremacists’ slant in fandom, and 2022 will be worse because 2021 was a year when racist and queer and feminist fandom learned that there aren’t any consequences in group for creating racist content, harassing fans of color and just being fucking racist. It was a year when people pulled their tactics from the alt-right and channers while publicly pretending to fight them.

People claiming that black and brown people talking about racism in fandom are book burners and Nazis without their peers calling them out and shutting them down.

0:49:16.7: 2022 will be more racist than 2021 because all 2021 did was teach racists in fandom that their white womanhood, queerness or disability/neuro-divergence will protect them from critical thinking or consequences for racism, but we, people of color in fandom, have each other most of the time. Hopefully, 2022 will bring fans of color new spaces to shout together, to fight against racists, to make communities unbroken and unbothered by bored ugly racists losers who picked an elementary school and think fandom is their playground. Let’s not give up despite all of that bullshit. Let’s keep going because fandom is for us too, and we get to do cool fun things here and to call out/speak against the racist shit too. We get to have fun.

Oh, and let me just say, if you’re sitting there thinking ACAB includes fancops still and you’re lumping fans of color talking about racism in fandom in with people complaining about sworn brothers or whatever in Chinese media fandoms, you’re a piece of shit, and I hope your 2022 is especially awful.

0:50:28.1: To you and all other opportunistic racists in fandom trying to build a clout off of an immoral panic that continuously lands on fans of color and fandom, I have a curse for you. May you fail at a random percentage of things you try to do every day. I hope you stub your toes and accidentally kill off your favorite house plant. I hope you find toxic mold in your home and that your dog eats the most precious thing that you own but then evacuates it without being harmed. I hope your favorite snack food gets a new ingredient that changes the taste drastically or that you’re allergic to or both. I hope your comfort character dies. I hope you never get tickets to your favorite celebrities concerts, even if they’re virtual, it is the least you deserve for being a shameless little pig co-opting yet another leftist phrase or movement for your own pro-racist fandom pilled bullshit. Good fucking luck to all of us, but especially you.

About Stitch

Stitch writes about what needs to be written.
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1 Response to State of Fandom Racism 2021

  1. Pingback: A study in contrasts | fynm

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