Sam Wilson. Abigail Mills. James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Eve Moneypenny . Joan Watson.
What do these characters all have in common?
Well, they’re all characters of color in popular films or television shows.
They’re all shippable with fandom’s white dude darlings (Steve Rogers, James Bond, and Sherlock Holmes for example).
And oh yeah –
Fandom constantly desexualizes them and removes them as valid canon or fanon love interests for said white dude darlings so that a white character can swoop in and fandom can have fantastic ships.
Let’s face it: fandom has a major racism problem.
The clearest sign of this is how characters of color and the fans that defend them are treated.
Fandom, we need to do better. We need to talk about the fact that there’s no balance. We need to talk about how either fandom is hypersexualizing characters of color or desexualizing them.
We also need to talk about how fans and characters of color do not get treated well in fandom and yet it keeps getting glossed over as if it’s not a sign of serious racism in fandom. Reduced to drama or ship wars, discussions about the methods that fandom undertakes to deliberately distance characters of color from white characters (either with regard to friendships or romantic relationships) are frequently pushed to the side.
Whenever someone makes a post or writes an article about the way that fandom pushes these fans and characters to the sidelines, it rarely goes well.
I know this for a fact. I’ve written my fair share of those posts and the negative responses have been both intense and immediate.
Even on my previous posts about fandom’s racism problems, I’ve gotten dismissed by people who otherwise seem like they’re great. I’ve had nasty messages sent to my inbox. Fandom friendships have suffered. After a while, you get labeled as a trouble maker because fandom is supposed to be this carefree place where oppression is ignored unless it’s that of actually diverse fictional characters and the fans wanting representation to carry over to the fandom.
Despite that, I’m not going to keep quiet about it.
I’m here to talk about this racism problem in detail by using different fandoms and ships as examples along with my personal experiences and those of fellow fans.
For the next five months, we’ll be looking at how fandom mistreats and misuses characters of color and how fandom spaces tend not to be so safe for fans of color who are vocally uncomfortable with this treatment.
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