What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Racist Fanworks, Done Out of Spite

Note: This piece references anti indigenous racism including the use of “savage” as a slur.


Spite-creation is normal in fandom. When people say “but you can’t ship that”, fans will ship the thing harder. When people see folks say that omegaverse is “gross”, they rush to double down with the slicky sticky content. I have written spite content, leaning in to things I like because someone said they hated it or that it was gross. I understand the urge to create to “own” someone.

But what happens when that urge to create content out of spite further infects fandom with bigotry?

Someone who writes or draws a racist fanwork because they’re mad a person of color – or even over-eager white allies – has spoken about racism in fandom… is a racist. I refuse to continue pulling punches and protecting these people by blurring the awfulness of their behavior.

If fans of color say “hey, making this Black character a big-dicked top with no interiority calls back to stereotypes about desire and threats inspired by Black male sexuality” and someone writes a massive story in the fandom doubling down… that creator is racist. They are doing this to hurt fans of color and to tell other racist and/or white fans “hey, do what you want because I’ve got your back”.

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(Things I Wish Weren’t) Applied To Fandom: The Three Rules/Laws of Fandom

Fandom – understood as progressive, transformative, queer, generative, feminist, etc – is simultaneously a lawless space where anything goes or else nothing will… and a space where we have to have rigid rules to protect people from everything from actual harassment to mild complaining or criticism in someone else’s space. For the past four or five years, we’ve seen an increase in people longing for the “LiveJournal Era”, a time when people supposedly were nicer to each other and didn’t fight each other over ships.

That era they’re longing for? Never actually existed and it was moderated in ways that continue to be damaging to fans to this day.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: “Then Make Your Own and Stop Complaining”

A friend sent me a Reddit post in the r/FanFiction subreddit made by a Black fan venting (it’s literally tagged as such) about how it feels for her to read fan fiction while Black and essentially looking for support. Fandom being fandom – aka “racist as hell” – the most highly upvoted comments in the sub on her comment are from people insulting her, insisting that she’s an entitled “Black American” for venting, and complaining about “wokeness” in fandom (and some that even wind up getting in digs at people like myself apparently leading the charge).

A common thread across many of the comments? They’re not just telling the OP to “make your own” – especially in the case of Reader Inserts, but they’re also assuming she doesn’t contribute anything to fandom at all in the first place. If she’s “just” complaining without contributing – even though she says she’s a writer and has a clear history of engaging on the sub and other parts of reddit as a writer -, then it’s not her place to complain.

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That Fanlore Shit

TL:DR – at least one person (twitter user @/GoodyBarwicke) maliciously edited my Fanlore page in August 2021 – I didn’t go to check because no one ever updated it, but once I saw it yesterday, I got extremely upset. That user used Fail Fandom Anon users and people who have been harassing me for years over their love of racism in fandom as “sources” to essentially fill my Fanlore page with a trumped up “Controversies” section that has no basis in truth, lies fully about my behavior, and doesn’t even engage with stuff I have actually addressed even before the “racists in fandom have been harassing me for years and escalated starting in 2019” shit.

So far I haven’t heard back from anyone associated with Fanlore but the article is in edits of some sort but I can’t check because I am violently ill every time I think about this and I just managed to eat for the first time since last night. As far as I know, the user who put the changes in originally is still doing their best to argue that their biased inclusion of hateful anons and reylo shippers who’ve spent years harassing me is relevant – more so than my work, interviews I’ve done, my whole thing about vore, omegaverse, and namjoon – separately of course.

Edited 9:00PM – The Fanlore Admin Team just got back to me. They’ve found that the piece contravened their “Plural Point of View” policy and are reviewing and researching to ensure the page will be balanced. I’m hopeful that they look to people actually talking about what I do, people who like my work or learn from it – even if we don’t see eye to eye 100% (we don’t even need to), and that balance should extend to more than just who I piss off by doing my own shit.


From here

Almost every “reference” link on my @Fanlore_wiki page is a Fail Fandom Anon link and the entire “Controversy” section is misrepresenting what I do/what I write without any recognition of the multi-year harassment campaign I’ve been dealing with (fanlore.org/wiki/Stitch)

Like none of this is true? Not only have I specifically said what could be done at the bottom of this post from SEPTEMBER (stitchmediamix.com/2021/09/08/whe…) but that “stitch advocates for harassment” tweet isn’t even doing what they say and is taken out of its context?

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Meme-Ing For A Reason #16: You CENSOR FANDOM?

Is this our first text-based meme for this series? I do believe it is!

Rather than me pulling from a photo meme, I jacked the “You kick Miette” meme for my own ridiculous ends. I’m very pleased with the result.

I know a lot of people have been watching the various conversations about what content is “allowed” to be in fandom spaces with bated breath and anxiety – especially as we know that conservatives in the United States and elsewhere trying to ban books about queerness and race/racism. It is documented that the people and stories most often affected and silenced by censorship – even non-governmental – are queer or “non-white”

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(I Wish It Wasn’t) Applied To Fandom: Anti Racist Moderation as Trauma Work

Today in “yeah that’s not what that means in fandom” we have… “trauma work”.

I first saw this crop up either in 2019 or 2020 where the response to “perhaps eventually there should be some kind of anti racist policy for the AO3 that would lead to overtly racist works/creators being yeeted from the platform – even temporarily” from an increasing number of people was to claim that moderating racist work was actually “trauma work” and more harmful for fans of color than… the initial issue of unchecked racist work in these spaces. There was a tumblr post about it and everything that picked up steam back then, and then 2/3rds of the way through September, there were several threads spiraled off a tweet doing that again (you can find a roundup of all of that here at Naye’s Dreamwidth).

Here’s the thing… that’s not exactly what trauma work is.

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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.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Racial Gaslighting

I’m tired of being told that I have somehow imagined racism in fandom.

Whether it’s an interaction between myself and someone else, a subtweet thread I come across, a cosplayer in Blackface condescending at everyone, or racism in a piece of fanwork or fandom itself… I am sick to death of being told I’ve somehow managed to exercise my imagination in a way that has “made up” racism in fandom and/or from the source media.

And so are a lot of other people of color across fandom.

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Meme-ing For a Reason #13: Racists in Fandom Shouldn’t Get To Run The Show

Captions:

Image A: The “Don’t make me tap the sign” meme with bottom text that reads: “Declaring that the real problem with how we talk about racism is “angry” POC and not racists harming and harassing them is… racist. Bitch.”

Image B: The “Don’t make me tap the sign” mtoeme with bottom text that reads: “If you’re angrier at POC in any fandom for being “mean” – cussing, snarking, etc. – when speaking about racism in fandom than you are at racists for BEING RACIST IN FANDOM… you’re a fucking racist.


Why do racists keep getting to define the rules of engagement? Why do they get to position themselves as neutral and unbiased, when they’re clearly biased in favor of white supremacy in a given space? Why is it that racists get to declare POC “too angry” to listen to and have people listen to them instead… As they angrily insult the “too mean” POC simply asking people to stop being less racist. Do people think this isn’t their entire goal? To make listening to anti racists/stopping racism in any space or capacity too hard or scary to do.

It’s wild that we have to be nice to racists… or else they won’t listen to us? Because kindness is so important to them.

Apparently.

Except… have you ever noticed that the people who insist that conversations about racism just have to be done at their tone and in a way that they’ve previously signed off… are some of the nastiest assholes on the internet?

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[Stitch Talks Ish] Season 2/Episode BONUS: Stitch Talks Ish About The BITE Model in Fandom

In this “Bonus” Episode, I talk about… how Steven Hassan’s BITE model of fandom can be applied in multiple fandom contexts because fandom is a space that’s kinda… rife for cults of personality, manipulation, etc at EVERY level. But also that there’s a difference between “culty” and “a cult” and people do need to get that too.

Unfortunately I still can’t AFFORD to get transcripts done but one day… ONE DAY.

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Apolitical/Drama Free Fandom Spaces

Another (relatively) short-and-spicy one in the style of the Fandom Wank installment, I’m here to point out that racism in fandom looks like apolitical or “drama free” fandom spaces. In discord servers, twitter group chats and other forms of fannish socializing, denoting a space as apolitical or “drama free” primarily winds up punishing marginalized people who speak up against issues in the fandom space or with fans they encounter. 

For example, if a person you’re in a “drama free” fandom server with then goes off on an anti-BLM rant or suggests that George Floyd deserved to be murdered and you bring it up… Guess who’s more likely to get run out from the fandom space or seen as a “drama monger” or even… an anti? Guess who’s going to be seen as “needlessly” political and punished as a result. Not the antiblack person spreading hatred and victim blaming. You. The (likely Black) person going “this person makes this space unsafe for me”.

It’s wild because fandom prides itself on supposedly self-regulating, but then it… doesn’t. 

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When Does Online Harassment From Fandom Stop?

If you’re a person of color… Never

If you’re marginalized in some way – queer, a person of color, not a cis dude – you can expect to be subject to months or even years of online harassment from people who insist that you deserved it. Mind you, you will deserve this unending harassment solely because your presence on social media, in a given fandom, writing for any platform at all, or your appearance in a show they like angers them so much that they need to punish you for it.

People will doctor screenshots, lie about their online behavior and yours, forge evidence, and just… make shit up to punish us for being in “their” spaces or in “their” way.

In September, Teen Wolf will have been off the air for four years. In December, it will have been two years since the premiere of The Rise of Skywalker. The first episode of The Flash aired in 2014. May of this year marked three years since I left Tumblr for good and three months since I permanently locked my main Twitter account after the latest escalations from a multi-fandom disinfo and harassment campaign.

Tyler Posey, John Boyega, Candice Patton, and myself.

Four people.

Years of harassment.

All for being inconvenient, for being in the way (of a ship), not playing ball, and speaking out about racism and other firms of harassment in the spaces they’re in.

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