In 2020, the Organization for Transformative Works and Archive of Our Own set the stage to do something about racism on its platform. They pledged to hire a diversity consultant to advise them on how to essentially make the AO3/OTW “anti racist”. It’s been three years since then and the most they’ve done is tap a volunteer to research researching a guy, I think. They have failed to be transparent about their plans, what the attempt has looked like, and the most we’ve gotten for an estimated trajectory three years in? That maybe in five years they will have hired someone.
In 2022, people continued to be angrier that fans of color dared to talk about the racism they were seeing/experiencing in fandom they were about the racism in fandom itself. In 2022 priorities remained skewed, racists were even bolder, people keep insisting that talking about racism in fandom is anti fandom in and of itself, and once again I am reminded that I alone (to say nothing of other fans of color speaking up in smaller spaces) am punished and harassed more for documenting this stuff than anyone is for being racist in queer/feminist fandom.
[editing was minimal, microphone was jacked, adlibs were adlibbed, and the transcript will come when i have the time]
Note: I used GoTranscript with this and got help to embed links and there are still likely going to be errors across this. Whoops!
Welcome to the State of Fandom Racism 2022.
A recurring theme across fandom in 2022 is anger. Everyone is incredibly angry all the time, but it keeps standing out how many people in fandom save up a really huge portion of their anger for fans of color and some allies for talking about racism and fandom.
What ruins fandom for these fans? Even the progressive pretentious ones, is not racism and fandom.
It’s us talking about what we’re seeing and experiencing at any level or with any level of heat. We can talk about racism in fandom in nice polite terms, use baby voice if we do video or audio projects. We can couch everything in subtweets and talk about what we’re seeing in the context of analysis geared to protect the people we’re talking, but at the end of the day, our existences as people of color, seeing the world in fandom as they are, is what ruins fandom for other people. Too many people in fandom, and I’m primarily but not exclusively talking about the queer and feminist spaces I move through.
Escapism in fandom is ruined or made impossible by fans of color saying that we don’t have access to the same escapist spaces. The same freedom to be people who make mistakes and have opinions and who are critical. It’s ruined by us pointing out or calling out racism in our friends fan groups. Not by the people who betray their friends of color and fandom by being racist or supporting racism on any level.
To these people, fandom is being ruined by fans and scholars of color, noting that media influences the way that we think about ourselves and other people. Seriously. Somehow racism and fandom never ruins the experience for these racist white fans, and the POC TOO who offer up their spines to be stepped on.
These people see it, they clock it. They may even pay a little lip service to one of their friends who are talking about it in ways that don’t implicate them or their co-fans, but it doesn’t bother them as much as seeing us talk about it does. Across 2022, I noticed more people angry that fans of color were daring to talk about racism, and that we didn’t do it in ways that they had previously signed off on than they weren’t the racism itself.
The only time I really saw people angry about racism in fandom was when they could use it to shut down other fans of color talking about racism, play victim or misrepresent what people are actually talking about. Honestly, unless it was about whatever shit they really cared about or wanted to pretend they cared about, or pretending that not listening to their preferred person of color and fandom was racist, even as they mocked and harassed other fans of color.
I can’t say that these people gave a shit about racism and fandom. They didn’t care that fans of color are harassed out of fandom, that they feel unsafe in fandom. That racists on every single level see fandom as a sight of culture wars even if it is in a queer fandom setting. They don’t care that queer/feminist fandom has gotten racist on a really blatant level. They don’t care that racists have made defending racism a fandom activity. They don’t see that slippery slope.
Overall, a huge portion of people in fandom only pretend to care about racism and fandom, when it is useful for them to shut down discourse, call people antis, or pretend that fandom is at risk from anti-racist, who they insist are actually trafficking in stealth anti-fandom. They do so by weaponizing fear and anger and pretending that broad critique or even a specific critique of a widespread form of racism and fandom is the exact same as Nazis coming to burn books or anti critical race theory, or whatever they’ve decided to co-opt as fuel for their theory. They do so by making other fans angrier at fans of color than they will ever be at racists.
Here are some of the things I observed across multiple fandoms, primarily queer indoor feminists fandom spaces across 2022. I can’t cover everything. I can’t see everything, but what I did see and experience, kind of freaking disturbing how racist it’s all been. In January, the Encanto fandom got ridiculously racist. If you missed it, Encanto is a Disney and Pixar film released on Disney Plus on Christmas of last year that centers a magical, multiracial family in Columbia and their struggles with generational trauma, magic, and their position in the world. It’s great, go watch it.
What has this on my list when it comes to racism and fandom? How white and otherwise light-skinned Latinos have basically decided to speak over black and brown people everywhere when the subject of white washing comes up. I’m not talking about how the one adult triplet paper has pale skin and red hair in the final film, but brown skin and hair in some of the concept art. I’m talking about tons of artists looking at the Madrigals through a pastel filter and coloring them accordingly.
It’s not primarily East Asian, Japanese and Korean artists doing the whitewashing, but because of the way black and Asian people are pit against each other underneath white supremacy in a fake scarce resource grab. I noticed how many of these artists were caught up in this because of what happened when their whitewashed art was called out in any capacity. When black and brown people speak out against the whitewashing and the Encanto fine art they saw, where characters were drawn with pale or paler skin, straight hair and tiny noses.
Loads of white Latinos from around the world and some Spaniards showed up to let them know exactly or that they think that those people are the ones being racist by wanting accurate representation of this diversely animated family, because that’s, actually, somehow erasing white Latinos. We saw our first usage of gringo as a slur, stand in for a slur or to denote outsiders talking over Latinos this year. If you’re calling people gringo specifically because they’re black or standing up against anti-blackness and you think that’s some foreigner shit, that’s racist. It’s also not very smart, but whatever.
Next on my list for January is the way that Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power social media dropped posters with the new characters without locking the replies. Hundreds of comments from trolls, open bigots and book purists flooded the accounts mentioned particularly on the posters of visually black characters. This would continue to be a thing across 2022, by the way, and it’s something members of the cast, like Ismael Cruz Córdova said he’s been experiencing for several years since being cast as the Wood elf Arondir.
While the show didn’t come out until later on in the year, it’s incredibly messed up that before we can even get an idea of what the show will look like beyond teasers, the actors are being harassed with racial slurs. Their characters drawn or photoshopped to align with racist stereotypes, and fans of color are being subject to blatant racism and defense of an ancient cannon.
In my September column, months after I first noticed how racist The Lord of the Ring fandom was, I had a really solid opener that included a quote from Ismael.
Lord of the Rings fans have been harassing Ismael Cruz Córdova from the moment he was cast as Arondir, as Silvan/wood elf who plays a key role in Amazon Studio’s Rings of Power two years ago. While the reaction proves that Córdova and his co-star, Sophia Nomvete, were also on the receiving end of online harassment. Is getting under a– such a weirdly written sentence, is getting under the skin of racist. The cost is high.
“Without disruption, there is no progress.” Córdova tells Teen Vogue, but to be honest, as a human, it takes a toll. As a human, it’s not okay to be reading the N-word in so many languages for about two years by this point.
You can go in the transcript of this episode and look in the quotes for some of the character posters on Twitter to see the really vile way people were talking about those characters.
Up next was a very busy, very annoying February. Out of nowhere on February 5th, the actress, Awkwafina posted a four panel notes app statement apology. Which is weird because she gets called up for her minstrelsy past performance all the time, and usually dismisses it or ignores the conversations. In her apology, she basically explains that it was her immigrant experience and a desire to fit in the “dominant” culture (shades of TK Park here) that caused her to gravitate towards her initial performance of blackness.
While this isn’t typical fandom, what’s interesting is that people were defending her like they do Stan Twitter, K-Pop idol, cultural appropriation instances. It reminded me of how Amber Liu from FX a few years ago said something really cruel about an unjust and anti-black arrest. After she, an Asian American, who has for sure lived in the United States, essentially blamed her words on culture differences and not knowing any better, thousands of people defended her. While I don’t think her career has ever gone back to what it was like on Stan Twitter, she also really didn’t feel the need to publicly do better.
With Awkwafina and the people that cropped up to defend her, we saw a really aggressive defense and infantilization that was essentially saying that we couldn’t talk about what she was apologizing for because it was unfair to her or that she had already apologized. It couldn’t have been a big deal, and it was giving Stan Twitter, and that’s not a good thing. Also, on February 5th, Twitter user, Richu, who currently has about 15,000 followers, posted a screenshot of a DM purported to be from an aggressive black person demanding that they draw black people instead of Chinese people as Chinese people weren’t “POC” people.
Black people across the internet pointed out that she was boosting what was likely a troll in supporting the reactionary anti-blackness in their mentions. I cannot stress how viciously anti-black people were being in her mentions and how even her tepid ass, “Don’t use this to be mean to BIPOC statement when people were being anti-black didn’t help much. Especially because, well, black fans found out that Chu was exhibiting anti-blackness using the DM, she got to grind her acts against black people in art and anime Twitter, including saying “it’s not as if most of you (black people) actually care about any ethnicity or culture besides your own,” in response to one black person calling them out for falling for a clear anti-black troll and boosting them to an audience of 14,000 people at the time.
Chu is also revealed as being against black edits of anime characters, a trend that black fans have been doing for decades that is not comparable to whitewashing and doesn’t happen in reverse, where non-black Asian fans make Asian versions of black characters in all black shows. In fact, what keeps happening–whitewashing, and frankly, ashy as fuck art of black characters–gets hand waived away as “just a preference!,” or an art style while the defenders harass black fans. Here are some examples of Chu’s tweets against racebending anime characters.
I think this is fine. I can’t help relating to characters even though we don’t share the same skin tone, skin color, or race either. It just bothers me a lot when they change a character’s race and skin tone for the sake of “representation”, but turning yourself into your fake character is super okay. Black OCs are totally okay and should be encouraged, but it is very weird to take away an existing character’s representation to boost your own rep or to claim that their own version is better than the original.
This might just be a TikTok thing, but it generally makes me uncomfortable to see canonically East Asian characters, especially in Genshin, be altered to another race, usually black, “for rep” when the reverse would’ve definitely not been okay, like make your own OC in that case, crying emoji. LMAO, I didn’t even say that harassing black artists is okay, thinking emoji. There is already an issue with artists making canonically POC anime characters as a form of rep, and that is still not okay, lol. If you don’t like it one way, you shouldn’t like it the other way around.
First of all, Chu doesn’t seem to know that Blasians exist and that a lot of black edits of anime characters are by Asians. Second of all, the representation provided by black edits or race spending Genshin or anime characters is for the artists. Unless they’re recoloring or tracing over other fans’ art, you really shouldn’t open your mouth to spew this shit. Third of all, again, this is incomparable to whitewashing and there’s no erasure going on here.
Black edits are never going to be more popular than the original art, and on top of that, despite what she was performing in these tweets, there’s no way that they give a shit about the endless amount of white fan artists who draw East Asian characters with features normally associated with white people even beyond whitewashing. It’s like the people who get mad when black folks cosplay anime characters because, “Hinata isn’t black,” but then they ignore the white person taping their eyes to get a mono lid as they cosplay Suguru Geto in his monk fit.
Chu and many other people online are anti-black hypocrites who do not want black fans to have our spaces in fandom, and want to snuff out our joy whenever they get a chance. Then on February 8th, I found out that someone updated my Fanlore page to just be full of lies from Fail Fandom Manon and racist, queer/feminist fans that don’t even remotely represent my work or words, including the claims that I’m “anti-Finn Rose”, a lie that’s been told about me from 2018, like fully debunked bullshit that doesn’t even have proof beyond some racist anon or pro shipper or willfully misrepresenting something I said or wrote. Like the claims that my weaponized White Womanhood article was not intersectional enough.
Babes, it’s an article about how white women in fandom either weaponize their white womanhood or how other fans weaponize white womanhood in defense of a white female fan character or celebrity. It was written in direct response to people who shipped Ray and Kylo Ren saying John Boyega was a scary sexual threat to Daisy Ridley because he was like, lo, your ship doesn’t matter. Carlo’s dead and Finn and Ray can still smash.
It wasn’t a random hypothetical. I had dozens of well-received comments insinuating that Daisy was in danger from John Boyega who they insisted was trying to hit, and as a result made her afraid of him. Hundreds of people watched their fandom do this. People jumped in and defended the users. They defended the hypothetical honor of a white woman from imagined sexual advances, painting John as a sexual abuser because of their own sick RPF, but I should be more intersectional when calling that shit out, be fucking for real babes.
Anyway, while my Fanlore page is supposedly slightly more and biased than it was in February, it’s still a very good reminder that the things fandom says only antis do never has been just locked into anti blanks, because malicious Wiki editing, spreading rumors, actively lying on people over the content that they create in fandom. That happens to me regularly. People do this to me all the time.
Then on February 12th, Pitted Peach, a fan of The Old Guard fandom who talked about racism and fandom deleted their Tumblr account after being harassed, stalked and impersonated. They also received multiple anons repeatedly urging them to commit suicide. Frankly, I hateThe Old Guard fandom. It is such a bad fandom full of people who think they get to abuse others because they don’t like that or how they talk about racism and fandom.
I’d honestly prayed that the second movie would be canceled. That’s how much I hate the racist weenies in that fandom. Anyway, harassment is never necessary. You can just block people, you can deny them access. The second you harass people and try to urge them to self-harm over fandom, you are a piece of shit. When you do it because you hate that they’re talking about racism, you are a racist piece of shit.
On the 18th, there was a whole thing where Project Sekai posted an apology in both English and Japanese and reposted an edited version of Petit Sekai with the characters appearing to be in blackface. As in they took out the appearance of blackface. The fans went wild with people doing the usual like, “You’re forcing Asian countries to be woke. This is censorship stuff.”
I just think that people need to understand that companies should do the bare minimum with exports and minimize harm in the interest of maximizing profits. They also need to understand that even if they don’t think something is racist, retorting with racism is a shit look. Last on my list is a — Sorry. Last on my list for February lands on the 27th with a Stiles Derek shipper comparing people who supposedly hate the ship to the KKK in a tweet that reads, “It’s pretty fucking sad when hate for two fictional characters is what drives you. You hate them, yet you look at them and for them the whole time you’re on the site. It’s like mentally being a part of the KKK.”
First of all, this is rage coming from people and a fandom that actively sought out Pro Scott McCall or Tyler Posey posts and posters on social media to harass them. I have a comment policy and completely banned and uncommon on my website because despite how I ship hysteric, I kept being accused of hating the ship and harassing the fans because I also deeply adore Scott and his actor.
A decade ago on Tumblr and to a lesser extent now, you couldn’t talk about how much you liked Scott or how unfair fandom was to him and his actor without getting harassed. I know this because I was torn between the ship I really liked and the character I really liked. I watched people say the nastiest things about Tyler Posey, a real ass human being, and come up with the wildest reason to vilify Scott. Like, “He basically sexually assaulted Derek to get to Gerard,” or, “Scott committed animal abuse by helping the dog as a vet assistant in episode one.”
I don’t know people who currently camp out on Stiles Derek Post to insult the original poster or anyone who engages, but I’ve seen and experienced people doing it over acknowledging the unfair way Tyler Posey has been treated and how Scott’s main character status continues to be overlooked as he’s treated worse than the villains are.
Second of all, this is yet another reminder that white people in fandom seriously think racism is the same exact thing as people not liking their silly little fictional ships. Friends, the Klan lynched people, they tortured people. They slit open the bodies of pregnant women in castrated black men. They turned parts of our bodies into souvenirs, many of which are still in those people’s homes. There is no point at which people saying they dislike hysteric compared to the legacy of horror and hate the KKK put forward. Again, be for fucking for real. Quit overstating harm and co-opting shit that has nothing to do with y’all.
Next up is March, so at some point an Italian, the old guard fan sent me a DM on Twitter saying that Italians aren’t white over a post I made in December mocking a ridiculous ass tweet they made where they insisted that no one has been fucking arguing saying that Italians are POC. They’ve been saying not white and there is a difference, except this is the way of splitting hairs so that a pale-skinned Italian Roman character like Nick and his actor Luca Martinelli can be not white. In the same way that Marwan Kenzari’s Joe is to muck up conversations about racism in fandom.
In the hilarious DM they wrote, “If you want to talk to me about my post about how Italians aren’t white, talk to me instead of passive-aggressively mentioning me on Twitter, not even Tumblr. You brag about your critical thinking skills. Apply them.” I mean, why would I want to have a conversation with someone that automatically thinks Italians are not white? They’re clearly not very smart. It’s such a good example of how racist co-opt conversations about racism to pretend they are the same or more oppressed racially as actual people of color.
You know damn well Luca isn’t an actor anyone in Italy sees as not white. Nikki is not seen as a not white character in the same way that Joe is. I can’t keep saying be for fucking for real, but you know the drill. Then, Tom Hiddleston and Zawe Ashton announced their engagement around March 17th, and his fans promptly harassed the hell out of her even more than they already were, because that’s what fans do, apparently.
If you saw Chris Evan fans trying to shame him over his relationship with the lead actress and warrior nun, including letters, some of what I saw was like that, including this rather unhinged letter that inspired an article that went up on Teen Vogue two weeks later.
“To Tom Hiddleston,
I’m so ashamed that I was a fan of you. Look what you have done. There’s a huge question in my mind. Are you blind or is there something wrong in your brain? First about your fiance. To be honest, I’ve never seen an actor’s partner ugly like her. I am pretty sure you randomly pick a woman on any street of London will be better than hers. What happened to your eyes? Are they broken or died? Why can’t you choose a normal person at least not ugly like this one?” Two vomiting emojis.
“Second about yourself. Are there any brilliant characters except Loki in recent years? You played Loki for many years, but you are not the young man again. I saw your wrinkles and exhaustion in Loki series. Please don’t ruin the character. What’s more? You are one of the producers of the Loki series. You let them mess up the plot and add stupid plot like two Loki’s kiss. You’re so craven and unmanly, not only in this, but a lot of things, and most importantly, you lied to your fans. You pretended you’re single while you actually dated the ugly woman. As an actor, you don’t have outstanding role anymore. As a man, you are fainthearted. Since you will marry the woman, I hope you become a flop like her.”
Hilarious, just hilarious. Anyway, can I just say that that trend of celebrity fans being really nasty and possessive over their celebrity object when they’re dating, especially when they’re dating a Black woman, is really embarrassing. What’s weird, really weird is that how these people don’t understand that as ugly as they think Zawe is, she is still infinitely more attractive than they are, and they will never have access to Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Robert Pattinson, whoever. You can get angry as hell that your fandom object likes Black women and you can insult them all you want because you will.
At the end of the day, you are alone and that Black woman is, at least for now, loved by the guy that will never notice you. Die, man about it instead of spending months or even years harassing a Black woman for the crime of being loved. Closing out March, we’ve got Doja Cat disrespecting Paraguayan fans during her tour, which is not actually the racism. However, it is rude to ignore your fans and not give them updates when they’re coming to see you.
No, where the racism comes in is from people reacting to her rudeness, including calling her a biracial Black and Jewish woman, Hitler, and threatening to lynch her. That last one really had me angry because I saw someone insist that, “Lynching is just like canceling someone for any reason, but it’s not that we’re literally going to kill them. It’s a joke that only Latino people understand. Y’all could have just informed yourself.”
Whoa, the whole thing here, is this insistence that anti-blackness specifically gets a pass because it’s just a joke? I know that there were lynchings in South and Central America. I know that some of those lynchings, historically, have been of Black people. I also know that because of the way that the United States Imperialism Project works across the world, that people playing ignorant pretending they don’t actually know when they’re being anti-black over something like this, where you’re threatening to lynch a black person are lying out their fucking asses.
You cannot meet rudeness with anti-blackness and then go, “Well, it’s just a joke we Latinas have.” Educate yourself about people, multiple. It was not just one or two people saying they wanted to or should get to lynch Doja Cat. Use your knowledge, noodle. The second end of March thing was on the 25th or 26th when Twitter user Nikita Missile made a tweet about the Taika Waititi queer pirate joint, Our Flag Means Death.
It said, “Encouraging Our Flag Means Death fans to exercise a second of thought when drawing blackbeard very oddly huge and muscular and much darker than Taika is in real life. It’s very easy to spend three seconds looking at how these actors actually look next to each other.” I saw that tweet and then I noticed that Twitter user, Loudwindow, had made a tweet with two graphics, one with a white guy and a black guy, similarly sized, and one with a slim down twink white guy and a big buff broad brown guy, and asked, “Why are shippers like this?”
That sparked yet another conversation about racism and fandom that included multiple people gleefully dropping their ships like it’s something to be proud of, like they turn the black and brown character in a ship into a big dick menace. We are constantly told that fandom spaces exist outside of normal societal norms and rules. We are told that there cannot be racism behind our choices.
Our preferences are our behavior because fandom is an escapist space. When we talk about racism, we are the problem and we are bringing racism into the space. However, we know that sexuality and what we find desirable are hinged upon societal understandings of who people are. That’s why there are stereotypes about the sexual powers of Black men, the redefinition of Asian men as submissive and desexualized. Racist tropes abound when it comes to sex and sexuality. To see people mock the idea that this extreme sexual dimorphism can be racist makes me feel incredibly frustrated, because these are things that have been documented and unpacked for years upon years.
In my original article in February of last year, about the way that fandom understands bodies and sexualizes some racialized bodies different from others, I quoted Chong-suk Han and Kyung-Hee Choi in Very Few People Say “No Whites”: Gay Men of Color and The Racial Politics of Desire, where they note that, “More importantly, imagining erotic worlds as independent social arenas rather than a part of a larger organized social system, leads want to believe that they are self-contained erotic marketplaces where those who possess valued traits are on equal footing regardless of larger structural factors.
Yet as Green, 2011, also noted, sexual fields are not isolated arenas but are embedded within a larger society where values are reflected in what is considered desirable within a given sexual field. Likewise, Whittier and Simon, 2001, argue sexual desires are often influenced by larger social constructions of race, ethnicity, age, and class. Given that sexual fields do not actually exist in a vacuum, these constructions of race, ethnicity, age, and class are likely to transverse across different sexual fields.”
I know fandom is allergic to interdisciplinary studies and analysis these days, but there is a long literary history of racist subjectification of people of color along different avenues. Fandom is not immune to doing the things that media does, because fandom consumes and then spits out media. I saw so many people mocking LoudWindow and insisting that there’s nothing racist with reducing a black character who’s small and light and canon to a large sexual monster in art, but there is. You are dehumanizing this character along very racist standards to fit your sexual desires. The very least of what we get to do is say, “Wow, what the hell? That trend is racist.”
For April, a huge chunk of what made its way onto my list is the fandom for Our Flag Means Death beyond the extreme sexual dimorphism. If you live under a rock, just like Campy Pirates shows, or don’t feel like giving HBO money, Our Flag Means Death is a pirate show for people who love office comedies.
A lot of the fans think that it’s the third in their SuperWhoLock 2.0 between what we do in the shadows and good omens. The former of which I don’t know what the fandom is like, but the latter, very full of very generous fan art making average to ugly white men hot. A lot of the wild things in this fandom OFMD are easily explained. We’ve got whitewashing, harassment because people asked you not to whitewash characters, fans of color being harassed.
Some unhinged racist white lady, basically saying fans of color were like reverse colorist to light-skinned people of color over whitewashing, by the way. Everything about the Izzy Hands fandom and anti-fandom, honestly, everything I want to say about this fandom at every level can be boiled down to me screaming. I want to rent an airboat, take it into the Everglades and just scream for 30 minutes. Imagine that, and that’s the segment because I don’t really want to talk about this fandom.
I will say that it remains very frustrating how many people do not understand that if you have no melanin in your skin you probably aren’t the person who needs to be lecturing any of us. What happens when people with our complexion or darker go into the sunlight? Can we please stop that? Anyway, I don’t feel like screaming. Let’s check out some of the other months.
Basically, count this as a speedrun because I’m sure a lot happened. I missed a lot of it because I was going through shit, and didn’t document anything for bunches of time.
July has our first K-pop entry so far after Lunas Yves, Y-V-E-S, changed her bubble profile picture to a picture of Go Eun-ae, a Korean character that looks like a caricature of blackness thanks to her curly kind of ajumma hair, and her overly lined thick lips.
Go Eun-ae like Michel Unduly is a Korean character who’s drawn to emulate a racist perception of black people. This is fully a fact of animation. As a result, black orbits were like, “Whoa, what the fuck.” Yves apologized as best as she could. Non-black orbits, however, including but certainly not limited to Korean ones, then became anti black as fuck in her defense, including calling black people the shadows and insisting we were making things about ourselves or seeing racism where there was none.
Then at the end of July was the colonizer!ji Stuff from the MDZS fandom where a Twitter user, 3neetee made a tweet basically, getting horny for colonizer Lan Wangji. At the end of their threaded-tweeted context, basically, this is inspired by the history of colonizers conquering via diseases. They purposefully spread that by giving blankets fresh from children who died from smallpox.
Then Twitter user, sweetlolixo was one of many people hyping up that thread and they wrote, “No key Smash. I’m trying to say that if WW causes 1,000 faces disease, only, LWJ sperm is the cure.” I am laughing because I cannot pronounce any of this. Also if I don’t laugh, I will scream. People also defended it because the original books have genocide in them. There is a difference between writing a book where genocide is a dark and condemned aspect of the world and going, “You know it’s sexy, genocide.”
Romance writers of America also had a problem with that where they awarded an award to romance novel where the male lead is an active participant of genocide of indigenous Americans that wounded me. Y’all, if you’re doing what conservative Christians are doing in romanceLandia, you’re not a good person. You’re doing what the Christian romance bitches are doing. Ew.
After that, some unhinged racist freak who longs for the good old days of Fandom wank, wrote the full story, 5,000 words, apparently. I linked to Bree covering it and I’ll link to my coverage of the whole thing. Just the concept of people writing racist spite fake to hurt fans of color. You know you’re an evil ugly racist at that point. You wrote 5,000 words of racist fanfiction to only aunties and stave off strike through. Like, what?
A key point to note in the author’s note of the original story, the terrible racist was like, “I can’t fucking believe I had to write a spike fic lol.” There is a slur in the social media posts originally made for it. The story is about 5,000 words long. There was no actual point at which they needed to write the story. There’s no reason for them to have that kind of content except they really love racism. They love racism. They love hurting people of color, and this is what queer fandom is, a bunch of racist people who like hurting fans of color. Hurting fans of color so thanks for that.
In 2022 it remains clear that not only is fandom racist but that people in fandom are determined to defend racism and fandom at all costs. Y’all will hurt fans of color by writing openly “race is fake” and then decide that we are the ones causing drama or starting wink. Us, now the freak writing retaliatory racist fanfic and calling fans of color Nazis or terfs for speaking out about racism. Us? Okay, sure.
In July, I began to receive emails through my contact form with racist slurs and abuse, things that I’ve never had said to me before, like really horrifying insults. It was really bad. The goal is to make the people that get them who the impersonators believe and understand that it’s someone using the contact form to spread discord, will then go after Tomlinson and his wife and accused them of racism when they didn’t actually send those messages.
I wanted to include this in my state of fandom racism for 2022 because it’s so wild that, once again, because of someone’s anger against white person, people of color are suffering. This keeps happening. You can’t get to the white person you hate so you attack and harass. People of color, they don’t even know. I don’t know Tomlinson. I have never read his books. I don’t know his wife.
Because I am a visible black person writing about race, racism and fandom, the racist harassing him and his wife felt that it was both accessible and acceptable and necessary to call me a slur, insult my parents. Like the freak who harassed me on Tumblr, get angry at me for wanting a writing career in fiction. We’re catching strays, and it’s really frustrating, because it is a beef that they have with Tomlinson. They’re already wrong for turning that beef on to him because they’re mad. He cares about diversity and science fiction, or whatever.
It’s really fucked up that you turn to unrelated people of color to hurt them with really violent racism over some white guy you can’t get to as effectively as you want to. What? August brings our first knot to Reylo shippers on this list. It’s something that started July 30, and continued on for several days, possibly even weeks actually.
Reylos harass Rahul Kohli from iZombie and Supergirl and a bunch of Netflix shows that I’m too scared to watch, for several days after one of his followers asked him what didn’t make him horny and he said Reylo. He then directed his followers to look at the replies to that tweet if they needed cheering up, because Reylo was so upset with him, that they accused him of the usual stuff, but then of being privileged and they were upset about him clapping back, including calling him embarrassing.
His response to one shipper in particular. “You’re upset that I said two fictional characters who kiss for 0.8 seconds in 2019 didn’t make me horny. Yes. I’m the one suffering from embarrassment.” They also said that he was a likely abuser because he supposedly supports Johnny Depp, which I don’t have a link to that, but unfortunately, a lot of Depp supporters exist. This tactic of framing men of color who dislike Reylo or Reylo shippers as abusers or misogynist is a standard for that fandom and they did it with John Boyega. It is super gross and racist.
He then posted a fake notes apology to the shippers that read, “I’m sorry, your ship makes me very horny. I don’t know why I said that. It was dumb and just straight lies. I’d like to apologize to Disney Lucasfilm, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley and the fans. Best, Rahul Kohli.”
They sure do like to try and get black and brown people fired for not liking their silly little star wars ship, huh? It’s clearly what sparks joy in that miserable little racist, harassing people of color from not being into Reylo. My God, get a life. Learn to knit, I don’t know. Anyway, after days of being harassed, including people calling him jobless and saying he just wanted to be hired by Disney/Star Wars, because negging a fan base gets you hired. By that logic, I should have written The Rise of Skywalker, just saying.
Reylo Tweeted a thread sharing that he was close to getting his dream role, one implied to be with Disney and Lucasfilm, only he had to turn it down for scheduled conflicts. He tweeted, “If I had to be honest, I guess I’m sharing it now because I’ve had to read Tweets about me “begging for a role in Star Wars“. Disney would never hire you, and I’ve bitten my lip for years wanting to be like, ‘Yo already booked it, suck my tits!’” I love him.
Overall, this is another example of Reylo shippers going after men of color with a ridiculous amount of aggression and racism. All Rahul said was that he didn’t get horny over Reylo. It’s a joke but also people are allowed to say, “Hey, this doesn’t work for me.” They’re allowed to not like things. They went after him for several days, including accusing him of misogyny, insisting this was part of an outright plot, and just being cringe, harassers, and just screeching that they were under attack by the fandom menace. All because they cannot see someone publicly express annoyance or disinterest in Reylo without turning to attack them for ages over it.
They will never stop pretending that Rahul is a bad person, and they’ll boycott and harass them for it over years because they feel like their stupid little feelings have been hurt and do not care about the ways that they hurt others as a fandom. They continue to– when I say continue to harass me and Ashley. Ashley wrote two sentences about Ray and Kylo in 2020 in an article about Snape. In November of this year, Amber Goldsmith writes, “I have Ashley Reese blocked because she actively encouraged and participated in stitches harassment brigade against Reylos, myself included, to try and get us “mass reported and banned from Twitter for being racist. She sees all Reylo shippers as racist and agrees with stitch.”
That whole mass reported and being banned from Twitter for being racist is in quotes as if it is a direct quote from me or Ashley. It’s like, “I don’t understand this.” What is wrong with you people? For years, this happens. I’ve been harassed for six, seven years by these people. Ashley’s on two years. They don’t give you any breaks, but they expect you to do their legwork for them.
If the fandom menace goes after Reylos right now, I’m expected to cover it even though, why would I do that? We don’t like each other. None of us like each other. I’m not talking about any of this. We’re going to come back in three years and they’re still going to be harassing Rahul. When he’s casting something new, even now, you see people going, “Well, I can’t watch it because he was abusive to Reylos.” Like, what?
Or claiming that it’s misogynistic to not like a thing women like, but then those same people insist that it is not racist to maliciously target and slander people of color and fandom media and journalism over their dislike of things. It’s okay if you do it, it’s not racist, but if I go, “Mm, I don’t like it,” you get to harass me and call me names for 20 years. You’re kind of fucked up.
Anyway, also, in August was the response to Chinese diaspora, Fan Tiffany G, who’s running for the Archive of Our Own board during their latest round of elections and gave an answer for something that folks presented as her being pro-censorship. I don’t think it is, but considering my definition of censorship, isn’t as paper-thin as much of fandoms to where criticism of fandom equals censorship automatically. We’re never going to agree there, so maybe you’re right. Probably not, but maybe you’re right.
While I do not know or actually care about Tiffany or her opinions, what I found disturbing was that white people in fandom were being xenophobic and calling Tiffany both communists and a CCP-op trying to destroy fandom and spread Chinese government censorship. Do y’all even know what yellow peril is and why that shit was an excellent example of such?
Here’s how Tim Yang describes this situation of yellow peril. “Racial stereotypes don’t die. They don’t even fade away. Though Asian Americans today have “achieved” model minority status in the eyes of the white majority in America by “pulling” ourselves up by our bootstraps through our supposedly quiet, dignified demeanor and gritty “overachieving” work ethic. The terms of racial discrimination we face remain the same today as they have since the first Asians began settling on mass in the United States more than a century and a half ago.
At the root of this discrimination is the idea of a yellow peril, which in the words of John Dower is the core imagery of apes, lesser men, primitives, children, mad men, and beings who possess special powers amidst a fear of invasion from the sleeping giant of Asia. Since its inception in the late 19th century, the idea of the yellow peril has colored the discourse regarding Asian Americans and has changed back and forth from overt racist hate to endearing terms of what Frank Chin describes as “racist love.”
In terms of war competition or economic strife, Asian Americans are the evil enemy. In times of ease, Asian Americans are the model minority able to assimilate into American society. What remains the same is that the discrimination, whether overt or not, is always there. Positioning a Chinese woman as a sneaky spy out to infiltrate and destroy fandom is part of the yellow peril program.
It is that even if you are yourself Asian-American, even if you’re Chinese, because you are framing this person as a danger because of their Chinese identity, without ever pausing to collect and then present proof. This manufactured fear of Chinese influence is super clear and present as a source of racism worldwide in ways that in Western countries have led to a dramatic increase in hate crimes against Asian people, especially Chinese women.”
I shouldn’t have to explain that we live in a world and that bleeds into fandom, but here we are again. Oh, and then when any of us, people of color who give a shit about racism and fandom, talked about how you can dislike what Tiffany G actually said without reaching for xenophobia. Predictably, we got mocked and harassed from people willfully misreading what we said.
I don’t think any of us actually knew Tiffany G, but we saw people reaching for xenophobic stereotypes, I’m like, “Yo, not cool.” Only to have people even mock us. Like, “She’s on Wabo laughing at y’all.” Okay, well, first of all, show me the screenshots proving it’s her account and that she’s talking about us, talking shit about us. Second of all, I’m still not the person that can sit by and let racism happen right in front of my salad. I don’t have to like or even know someone to think that they deserve fairer treatment than what they’re getting. I still don’t know or actually care about Tiffany G.
I also still think that it’s really just shockingly racist to spew xenophobic conspiracy theories about a stranger and think it’s okay because it’s in defensive fandom. In September, we had Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin, who I interviewed over the summer. Talked about how he’s always had to deal with racism from the Stranger Things fandom, and then the fandom went overboard to prove him right. Like, what? It’s just so frustrating how fandoms insist on punishing black performers for daring to be brilliant and talented and present.
Not a single black actor escapes being harassed even actual children are targets for this, and fandom largely doesn’t give a shit. In terms of other ongoing stuff, Royal Watchers are fandom, yes? What’s been happening to Meghan and Harry remains a really good example of racism in fandom. It amped up with the Queen’s death and conversations that sparked about the way that H&M weren’t treated properly by family, and has continued with them getting the Netflix show.
Now, I am not interested in capping for monarchy. Meghan has a percentage of my loyalty, specifically because I was obsessed with suits back in the day. However, I dislike racist fandoms. A fandom built around protecting a racist monarchy active in spreading white supremacist ideals around the world for centuries is a racist fandom. They hate Meghan so much for being black biracial, and I mean, extremely white passing American marrying into the royal family. That they cannot let it go. They helped run Harry from his family and they think Meghan’s the problem here. Really?
Of course, a racist constant from fandom remains how willing and eager people are to harass me even in situations where they know and tell others that I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been harassed repeatedly across 2022 as I was in 2021, with people monitoring me from behind a block while I’m locked, and keeping tabs of who mentions me on Twitter. I’ve gotten violently, viciously, racist re-blogs and messages on Tumblr, which cut short my return to the site.
People who are in the middle of harassing me like Amber Goldsmith, turn around and insist that actually, I’m the one engaging in a harassment campaign against them, and apparently, some celebrities they choose not to name. No one, of course, can pony up any proof that I’ve hurt them or anybody else by anything I’ve said to or about them, but that’s enough for fandom.
Let me just say that it’s wild to have people who know my dad just fucking died laughing amongst themselves, Twitter user Vassar, over how they wouldn’t want to kick me while I’m down, while also praying that I lose my job at Teen Vogue. What in the the fresh fried fuck do you think that is? You don’t think that’s trying to kick me while I’m down? Really? Okay.
Like I said, I tried to return to Tumblr now that it has the controls to let you stop allowing re-blogs of your content, but within days of returning to it, I got a really racist, abusive, non-anonymous, hateful message from someone using their burner account just to harass me. Then the second to last time, Reylo shippers were harassing me this last time was over Goncharov, and I’ll talk more about that in a little bit. Thanks, Venusaur part 1 million. The second to the last time I was getting harassed on Tumblr, somebody re-blogged something that I had re-blogged from someone to just be really violently racist with me. They mocked my mom, and they called her abusive, but they also said that I deserved it, and that I was as bad as her. It would still suck, but it would make sense if I talked about my mom or named her as abusive, but it was just said to be mean and it was just really sick, racist shit.
Like, “Everybody on Fail-Fandomanon or Fandom Wank is watching you and laughing at you,” and it’s like, “Get a fucking job you racist losers but I’m sure that’s impossible for you guys.” I can’t get over that. I get really awful messages, and comments, and people harass me forever and they get clout out of it. Fandom is like, “Oh, Stitch deserves it for not minding their business.” The violence and the aggressive racist misrepresentation of my villain article remains really well to me. That’s an article about how liking villains is good, let’s stop woobifying them, and it got turned into Stitch needs to handle her internalized racism and homophobia.
It’s like, “How did any of you pass any grade ever because your reading comprehension levels are on empty, just gone.” Whatever. It’s really clear that Fandom is full of these really nasty ugly racists who think it’s fair game to insult me, and abuse me, and come after my family. One day I’m sure some of them will realize they’ve been bootlicking for actual White supremacists in Fandom. Good luck to them. Now onto some dishonorable mentions. Genshin Impact, think about the fact that I don’t go here. I really just am here for the pretty art and the ships. I follow Genshin Impact artists.
I don’t know who any of you people are mostly but you’re beautiful and I would like you all to kiss on the mouth, and I still know this Fandom is really racist on many levels. People are racist over ships, they’re racist when brown-skinned people are like, “Hey, stop whitewashing characters.” They’re racist over the wildest things and you’re just like, “Over a video game. Over little fan fiction ships.” I’m just tired of it. Tired of it. Also, so much sinophobia. That’s a constant. It has been happening for a couple of years now when fans of a Chinese pop culture product are “problematic”, people are like, “Yes, this is what you guys get for being Chinese freaks.”
It’s like, “That’s really racist.” What? It’s been happening, and because I’m not in these Fandoms, and I can research some of it, I’m just like I don’t even know where to start, but some people don’t need internet access at all. Speaking of people who don’t deserve internet access, White pop Fandom’s been racist. Lots of racist memes in 2022. Big one for me remains the reused meme of the cop who killed George Floyd kneeling on his neck to represent total chart domination. A fan of a pop star will put that person on the cop and the artist that they’re dominating in the charts will be George Floyd.
They’ll put an album cover over it, and it’s really disgusting. Super gross. It’s been happening. There’s a really racist and, I’m going to say, the name I’m going to say next is going to throw y’all, a really racist Ariana Grande meme I saw people making fun of her, but it was racist. It was racist. It was like, “We’re going to say that she raised fishes, but we’re going to use stereotypical images of the people or the identities we think she is jacking.” It’s like, you cannot fight racism with racism. Which does bring us to a dishonorable mention for the Our Flag Means Death Fandom again, because I need people to understand that harassing fans of color in the name of anti-racism is still racism.
If you are threatening, stalking, mocking, et cetera, fans of color because you think their thing is racist, if you are calling people slurs and wishing death on them because they like a White guy, you are wrong. You’re not acceptable. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen mentions and messages fans of color have gotten because they like Con O’Neil, Izzy Hands, and beyond that I’m still not speaking about him, or his Fandom, or anti-Fandom. Some of them really reminded me of the really racist messages and tweets people felt justified to send to Keith and Lance shippers back in the days with the Voltron Fandom.
You don’t get to be racist and claim you’re doing it in the name of anti-racism. Sorry, not sorry, grow up. Interview with the Vampire Fandom. I am not expecting people to love Louis the most, especially as we’ve had decades of hating his ass within the Vampire Chronicles Fandom. I am asking people to think about why they hate him this much when he’s been giving more nuance to his actions alongside Claudia while race bent. I’m asking people to stop shutting down conversations Black fans are having about the racism present in Louis/life and in Lestat’s casual disregard of his and Claudia’s humanity.
I’m asking the person I saw mocking fans talking about the OG Louis’ role as a slave holder and saying, “What do they want? For him to sing songs with the slaves?” to walk into the nearest forest and never look back. People don’t understand that it’s not as simple as blank as racist. Lestat is typical racist, especially when considering his formative years and what those were like, but we’re not an audience that has to accept that without analyzing or briefly moaning about it. You’re not racist because you like Lestat more than Louis or Claudia. You’re racist because you found every way to call those two characters uppity negros or worse without using those words.
You’re racist because you actively refuse to offer them even a percentage of the empathy you offer Lestat and you harass Black fans for treating Louis and Claudia the way that you treat Lestat. Just saying. Also, your only negative comment about Armand’s casting should be that once again he is too old for the part he’s playing. Once again, he is, and his youth was integral to his characterization, so just saying. That’s the thing you should have a problem with. Please handle that. The issue remains, the way that you guys react to these changes, not the fact that you have a dissatisfaction.
There are things I don’t like about interviewing the vampire of the show. There are things. I talk about it with my friends offline or in chat, and they almost entirely revolve around characterization and the adaptation of the characters. I can do that without being racist. Lots of Fandom really fucking can’t. I guess we’re going to close this out with some overall thoughts. First, Fandom is still racist, duh. There’s so much I didn’t and couldn’t cover because I didn’t see everything or I didn’t know where to begin. People continue to be racist in Fandom of all kinds, not just Dude Bros, because there is no way anyone is ever punished for being racist in Fandom.
In fact, and instead there is measurable societal gain in the form of social media engagement for supporting racism in Fandom and shutting down fans of color talking about racism. People go out of their way to harass fans of color, lie on us, and frame us as the real harassers and bullies in Fandom even when we’re not talking to or about them and are just trying to express ourselves. We are not given any of the room anyone else is in Fandom to explore or to mess up. Look at how I’m expected to talk about every single aspect of racism in Fandom while being punished for it.
For example, people keep demanding that I talk about East Asian racism in Fandom, but when I do, like in the case of the Tiffany G stuff, I then get accused of anti-East Asian racism and harassed further. No other Fandom scholar, journalist or BNF is expected to do everything while being punished for doing anything. The amount of people in Fandom who harass Asia and Gavia the way they harass me is frankly minimal. Fans of color also constantly have to provide caveats about how we’re not trying to cancel the thing or person, or how we actually like the thing or person. That doesn’t even help because racists just call us hypocrites or say we’re lying.
Like, “Excuse me.” Then it remains that calling out or even speaking about racism broadly is seen as worse than being an actual racist. It’s worse to ruin fans escapism by pointing out racist trends than it is to be the racist in a Fandom space. We’re told this repeatedly in the way that people go out of their way to harass us for commenting about stuff we see and that bothers us. I know so many fans of color primarily but not only Black women and queer Black people who’ve been harassed by Fandom for talking about racism. While those same fans ignore or even uplift a White racist who’s actively causing harm.
Fandom rallies around racist to the point where someone who only creates racist drama in Fandom and no actual fan content, is more valuable to a given Fandom than any fan of color talking about racism in any capacity. You get your clit wet from being racist in Fandom and seek out fans of color to mistreat but we’re the ones being punished and turned into problem children, seek help, I beg. There’s also so much purposeful misrepresentation of what we’re actually saying. Take for example, the Goncharov thing. I said, it’s a good example of how fandom’s imagination can only dream up White dude darlings even when we’re not White.
Venasaur and the usual rank bitch racist squad replied with like, “I don’t like Goncharov either but I didn’t call the people who like it scheming racists.” What the hell is wrong with racism Fandom? Do you think there’s something that pumps dopamine into their brains but turns off the thinky parts when they do this shit? If I wanted to say Goncharov is racist, I would have just said that. Heck, if I wanted to say, “I don’t like Goncharov” I would have said that too. I didn’t say either of those things. Yes, Fandom is big on hating criticism, and one of the ways they show that hate is by actively misrepresenting what we’re saying and who we’re talking about or to.
A broad critique of Fandom becomes us name calling and insulting strangers and deciding they’re racist. If we point out any quality and appearance in fan works it’s because we’re jealous shippers mad about our ship not being popular enough. We talked about White dude villains getting the lion’s share of empathy and fandom. We’re homophobes who hate villains. It’s all tiring, and that’s on purpose. No one seems to understand that Fandom is part of the real world, and that systemic racism is not left at the door to Fandom.
If we don’t work to unlearn issues, and educate ourselves on what’s inappropriate or harmful regarding race and racism we’re just going to put that into what we make in Fandom. Of course, some things are different the world over but others aren’t. I started this with the, shut up gringo thing and white washing because it’s usually Spanish speaking online users masking anti-blackness or performing it, in order to defend Japanese and Korean artists who’ve been dinged for white washing a Black character. It’s universal, anti-blackness. You know what? No one likes to check in Fandom? Anti-blackness.
Instead, people insist that we need to fix racism and anti-blackness outside of Fandom before we come to try and do it in Fandom. “Why are you telling me to clean the ocean before I try to clear the racist trash in the pond I live in? What sense does that make unless you’re okay with and happy to swim around in racist shit?” Fandom continues to be very bad at recognizing bad actors in Fandom. Again, a racist who doesn’t create actual content but harasses fans of color on a discourse blog as a normal fan just trying to help protect Fandom and keep antis from getting a foothold.
Fans of color talking about racism in their own spaces or to one another or God forbid writing blogs and making memes are doing a bit harassing people, acting in bad faith or stealing from Fandom. It’s been wild watching people who pretend they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of myths or disinformation and politics fall for and utilize Gamergate tactics to discredit vulnerable people of color in their shared spaces, while uplifting supporting and sending money to bigots who are overtly racist. Of course, it is draining to keep dealing with this. I’ve had my website for almost eight years and I’ve been talking about racism in Fandom for over a decade.
There’s never been a point where people just go like, “Oh, I didn’t know that. Let me put a pin in it and do my own research so I’m not solely relying on Stitches work.” From the start, I’ve been harassed by people who choose to seek out and get mad about my work misrepresenting it the entire time. Again, an article about White women and people actively in defense of it, lying and saying that John Boyega is a potential sexual predator based solely off of a joke about a ship. Why does that have to be intersectional when I’m talking about what people do in defense of White women? What?
Even people who supposedly like me, like somebody did two separate threads we had, the thread that’s like, “Well Stitch makes points but actually she’s wrong, and they hate Fandom and is mean to Harry Potter fans.” Sure. I had other people supposedly like me who were like, “Well, even though I don’t like some of Stitches actions, at least they defend people of color.” My actions that made me toxic to them or liking RPF a thing I’ve liked for over 20 years. Or Mega verse a thing that I don’t know, a queer trans person gets to like but okay. I keep getting people tell me that they hate me or tell other people that they hate me, people I don’t know.
Even if they supposedly like my work and like, “I hate their tone, no.” What tone? 90% of what I do is text based. I’ve been followed around by escalating lies that are purposefully set up to be as damaging as possible. It’s really wild watching people claim to be against the rise of what is stochastic terrorism, the use of language like calling queer people groomers to excuse violence against them. They’re against that when it’s politics, when it’s terfs but they’re doing that to, fans of color like me because we talk about racism. I’ve seen some of the really dark sided shit these bitches say about me.
It could be posted on libs of TikTok about me. It’s the libs of TikTok but for Fandom shit because they really love racism. The thing is that these are all made up by people who aren’t ever asked for proof by the people interested in believing them. They’ll ask people like, “Hey, do you have proof that Stitch did blank?” Nobody will give them proof. They’ll just be like, ” Yes, they’re all scared of Stitch.” I’m 5’4” and I sound like a Barbie but you are afraid of something you made up. Here’s the thing, even if I stopped writing my column right now, and my column is about Fandom behaviors broadly, and I’ve talked about different forms of racism in Fandom because Fandom believes racism is a normal Fandom behavior and activity.
That’s I took a year off from writing about racism in Fandom. That wouldn’t be good enough. In the past, my other projects have been targeted. My silence would be taken as proof of guilt, they would turn to trying to affect whatever offline career I did manage. It’s not enough to go after where I’m posted in Teen Vogue. They’ll search any of my other by lines. I don’t check reviews on my book but I’m sure there are people on my books reviewing it like, “Well, this would be a good book, if the author didn’t harass Ray Lowe’s.” There is nothing I can do to stop these people from harassing me.
I know other people in Fandom who’ve been harassed for talking about racism, for well over a decade. The goal is to stop us from talking. The goal is to punish us from noticing rot within Fandom that is explicitly racist. I could be offline and nobody would stop because they didn’t. I was largely offline for the week of my dad’s funeral and have already minimized my Fandom engagement drastically since he died two months ago. People are not just still harassing me. They’re mocking the idea that I could be sad. I’ve gotten comments about my mom. Again, I’m not doing anything to deserve this.
None of the people harassing me can actually show you where it’s like, a link to a Tweet or to social media comment, or a Tumblr post where I did anything that would make you go, “Oh, well, here’s an example of Stitch harassing someone.” The behavior I’m punished for doesn’t exist, none of that is true but it doesn’t matter. I’m told that I deserve racist harassment for not minding my business. My villain article, people were like, “We’re doing this because Stitch can’t mind their business.” I fucking love villains, they are my business and so is Fandom, and racism in Fandom is very much my business.
People will say that I deserve what I’m getting because of what I write and how I talk. The thing I talk about 99% of the time is racism in Fandom. Telling me I deserve racist harassment for talking about racism in Fandom. That’s kind of insane. I’m being stalked, harassed, and slandered. People say violent things they want to do to me, and they wish for Teen Vogue to fire me and they mock my relationships and harass my friends, all over fictional characters or celebrities Fandom treats like fictional characters.
The fact that I’m here and willing to talk about racism and Fandom and Fandom broadly looks at thousands of tweets that exist showing people mocking me, cursing me for talking about and caring about racism in Fandom, plotting to get me fired. Openly, openly defending racism in Fandom is a thing that needs to exist in Fandom. They ignore it. They don’t care. They decide that I need to be punished. It is social cohesion. There are communities built around harassing me and stalking me, but everyone in Fandom thinks that it’s okay because they are afraid either that their friends will turn on them and harass them for talking about racism in Fandom.
Or that because they’ve believed the lies that I will come to whatever Fandom they’re in and try to take their porn. It’s like, I can write my own shit and I do actually. I don’t need yours. I don’t want yours. Half the time y’all aren’t shipping the stuff I like anyway. I mean that on like I see what the most popular ships are and how they’re being shipped, and they’re not quite as spicy as I like, sorry. Ultimately there’s no real push to protect or document what’s happening to me and other fans of color. I’m the person doing it. No other Fandom focus outlet or BNF, or journalist really talks about or condemns what’s happening to me and other fans of color.
The fact that, oh no, they didn’t last year had someone talk about Reylo is actively trying to get me fired was really wild because normally no one cares. There’s been no expose documenting this. Asia’s not going to write an article about unhinged racism in Fandom. Every so often fansplaining does their racism and Fandom stuff and that’s fine. Nobody’s Fandom newsletter really is like, wow, Fandom is really racist and a really good way to analyze how racist it is the unhinged lies people say about Stitch. Nobody gives a shit.
It is deeply exhausting to deal with this because even with proof given that I’m the victim here, or when people see folks harassing me like I saw someone quote Verisa’s tweet mocking my Goncharov post which is a blog post. It’s like a step up from my dreamworth account, kind of. Somebody quoted that and was like “I really hate Stitch, but they’re not wrong.” It’s like why the fuck do you hate me? We are strangers and you weren’t even blocked. You could have feasibly tried to understand me as a human being but instead, it’s like I hate Stitch. You don’t fucking know me. None of you guys do. That’s fine. I don’t know you guys either.
You guys are just little weirdos on the internet, but you can see who the aggressor is. You can see people wish harm on me and mock my job and lie about what I’m tweeting, and say really nasty racist things about me. Then, because somebody will be like “Stitch said that they laughed when Reylo cried when Kylo died. It’s like she deserves to be abused forever.” Sure, but it’s not even just the people who hate me. Even people who think they’re progressive and theoretically like my work will freak out and use my tone which is imagined almost entirely, or lies other people tell them.
Or in the case of people who are like I guess the opposite side of the pro ship or divide like antis will be like, “Oh, well Stitch likes mojito, Stitch likes gross villains and curses and likes K-Pop, so they’re bad.” It’s like, what? Overall, I think I could handle it better or more consistently if people were mean to me, but then nicer to other fans of color, if they uplifted all other fans of color actively calling out and fighting racism in Fandom. One of the things I am watching is Fandom reject caring about racism entirely because it might empower antis or because I said it. I saw somebody get run out of a friend group for linking to an article, as a pro shipper linking to an article that Dr. Rukmini Ponde was cited in.
We’re watching Elon Musk currently show that free speech absolution excludes marginalized people and harms us. That’s what’s happening in Fandom. You see people talk about thought crimes, like, “Oh, well liking something in fiction isn’t problematic and it’s not a sign that you’re going to hurt somebody.” Then those same people turn around and they’re like “Talking about racism in Fandom and shipping means that you agree with antis sending gore and doxing people”. It’s like the only people who’ve ever harassed me for content that I like have been people claiming that they’re against harassment over content in Fandom.
Anti-fans are annoying. Do not get me wrong here. They are annoying and the Voltron piece is coming because I have all of that documented, but the consistent harassment I’ve gotten over content has not been from them. People will agree with racist takes specifically to own me, a stranger they hate for no actual reason beyond the fact that they were told I was bad and they needed to hurt me, because I shouldn’t have the platform I have. Or I should be talking about racism in Fandom more or I should be talking about racism in Fandom less, or I don’t understand that villains can queer be coded.
Again, if you know me and you know what I did in college, you’ll know that I actually am very, very aware about the queer coding of villains. That’s what I did for my master’s thesis about the Joker being a queer coded villain who is coded by homophobic White men. When we code villains as queer people, as trans people, our content is superior. When cis-hat people code villains as queer, it often comes laced with stereotypes. I should not have to specify that I’m not talking about our villains, but your head cannon’s not cannon. Anyway, I try to end this with predictions for 2023 or the next year.
Last year I did it and I was like, I think bitches are going to get worse, and they did, same thing this year. I think you bitches are going to get worse because there is no, not necessarily oversight because Fandom is a collective community even though we’re all on the same three websites, there is no leader of Fandom. It’s still quite decentralized. Different people do different things in different spaces, but because no one is interested in fact-checking and everybody needs an enemy and fans of color, especially Black fans, are the easiest enemies because people are predisposed who hate them whether it’s because they’re angry about hyper visibility, they’re angry that we seem to be taken more seriously, or they’re just dicks.
Because of that, nobody does research. Nobody unpacks their emotions. It’s just like if somebody goes, “Hey, this fan of color wants to take your porn, they’re an anti, they supported known violent anti-blank in their attempts to blank.” Nobody goes “That doesn’t sound right.” We’ve covered a lot of people will tell you that I am racist and that I hate White people, biracial people, and Asians. If you go like “Can you give proof of that?” They can’t. The other issue is next to no one asks for proof. There is no way for Fandom to get better until Fandom acknowledges that it has this problem of racism and it’s a problem that has just been escalating over the decades.
Race fail was in 2009 and Fandom still not better, in fact, kind of worse. I will say that I think that more and more fans of color will try to organize small safe spaces for them to talk about racism in Fandom and protect each other within community. I also know that there will be aggressive push back to the point where people are trying to harm fans of color for trying to do anti-Fandom in racism. Several of the popular discourse accounts in queer Fandom are, or follow White supremacist discourse accounts, right? Like retweeting pro-Kyle Rittenhouse memes, sharing terf rhetoric, eugenics language.
Several of them believe that racism in Fandom is actually happening to them because they’re White people. Like they say it, and people like their tweets, and they say the reason they’re being called out for whitewashing is because they’re White. It’s like, we know where this language goes, we know what this inspires in people, except in Fandom people don’t seem to get the– if you give a racist a popular discourse blog, well, it just keeps escalating. Anyway, if queer and feminist Fandom doesn’t figure out where the actual threats to Fandom are, or that racists often usher in, or are other bigots too, like you know that terfs are also racist, right?
That’s why it’s also really wild that fans of color talking about racism are constantly called terfs. Terfs are racist. Their construction of the body is imperialistic and White supremacist. You know that, right? There’s no such thing as an anti-racist terf, but whatever.
As long as Fandom continues to treat fans of color like outsiders to be punished for not knowing our place, Fandom will continue to be horrifically inhospitable for fans of color, especially Black ones because we are punished for hyper-visibility, and it is acceptable within Fandom spaces to hurt and harass us because we are seen as people who don’t belong in queer feminist fandom spaces because we’re seen as people who can’t be queer and/or feminist.
That has been the state of Fandom racism in 2022. If there’s something here that you have a problem with, I can’t really help you. I’m not re-editing this. If you think I’ve missed something, you can make a podcast on Buzzsprout and upload it to Spotify and Apple Podcasts on your own. I look forward to 2023 and Fandom continuing to be really fucking racist. Happy holidays.
If you’re going into a piece of media determined to empathize with the villain above the heroes of the piece, you’re not getting the same story as everyone else. As a result, these fans take their own headcanons as fact and harshly punish or harass other fans that have a different point of view. Point out that Kylo Ren and Hux are purposeful fascist allegories with the rise of the First Order tying back to Nazis? Expect to have people repeat the manufactured sob story about Kylo’s childhood (which literally wasn’t even that bad) as an excuse to spend the rest of their lives on the internet harassing you. (I know this because it’s happened to me and many others.) Try talking about how Loki’s initial entry into the MCU has him try to do a genocide and later try to take over the world as Thanos’ messenger. When you do, expect people to bring up how he’s a transracial adoptee suffering from abandonment issues and child abuse. We are literally not allowed to talk negatively/critically about the bad things villains do — even when we say explicitly that we like the characters we’re talking about — because he’s their blorbo or little meow meow now and fandom has decided to make that position sacred.
I think the funniest thing about the response to this article is the number of people who didn’t read it or read it in bad faith insisting this is “fake journalism” out to oppress villain fuckers because I hate villains. I know I don’t really like Kylo Ren, Hux, or their fans who’ve been harassing me for most of a decade of this point with no sign of stoping (and every sign of escalating), but the last thing I am is a “villain anti” or whatever the Terminally Online are calling it these days.
I don’t know how to say this but fellow grown ass adults in fandom… you are not a marginalized person within fandom because you’re older than twenty-five. Being 25+ isn’t a marginalization in fandom – or many other places until you get up into the fifties and sixties – and it’s not at all comparable to being a fan of color.
When it comes to fandom, characters of color consistently receive less fan engagement in comparison to their white counterparts. There are many ways that fans engage with their favorite characters, not just in art and writing, but also through fancams, zines, playlists, or the humble shitpost.After all, someone has to do the hard work of editing Community dialogue onto screenshots of unrelated media. When it comes to fan engagement, it might not stick out in all fandoms, but there is almost always a bias shown in not only the amount of fan content created for characters of color but the type of content as well. Yes, a character may have a decent number of fanart and gifsets when scrolling through their tag on Tumblr. However, this love is often not reflected in the amount of fanfiction or meta within the same fandom.
As I write this, there are Star Trek fans mad about Star Trek: The Animated Series character Admiral Robert April’s upcoming appearance in Strange New Worlds. April is now being played by Canadian actor Adrian Holmes, who currently plays Uncle Phil on Bel-Air, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot. Obviously, Holmes looks nothing like the original admiral… but is that such a bad thing? After all, as Jamie Lovett points out over at ComicBook: “Despite being one of Starfleet’s most highly-decorated captains, April has previously only appeared in canon in a single episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series.”
One episode in a show older than most of the people complaining.
And yet, there are people screaming and moaning about “the wokes” forcing “political correctness” on Star Trek, a show that has apparently never delved into progressive politics or had people of color in main roles. Except… Star Trek, while imperfect in execution, was a science fiction pioneer in how it portrayed a relatively progressive society with diverse people learning, loving, and living together. From day one it was a show that put people of color and women on-screen… and had detractors because of that.
When we talk about “toxic fandoms” and racism, the easiest example people go to are male nerds mad about Black people being cast to play comic book redheads and other “historically white” characters. However, one little known or talked about example is the way that the Harry Potter fandom from 2005 practically went to war over the one-line reveal that Slytherin Blaise Zabini was actually Black.
One perfect example of antiblackness in fandom that proves false these claims that Black characters and celebrities are just “lacking” something to make them worth shipping (characterization, canon romance, tapping tropes) and that is why no one ships them?
The Harry Potter fandom’s response to Blaise Zabini before and after JK Rowling’s reveal that Blaise was male (2004 in a Q&A) and Black (“He recognized a Slytherin from their year, a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes” in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 7: “The Slug Club in 2005).
Blaise Zabini’s only appearance prior to that book and film was in a single line in the first Harry Potter book (““Well done, Ron, excellent,” said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as “Zabini, Blaise,” was made a Slytherin.). However, people instantly made up all sorts of headcanons for this character based off of a name and Hogwarts house.
For the eight years between Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, here’s all what fandom frequently decided Blaise Zabini was:
Tan (but sometimes pale)
Dark haired with light, sometimes blue or green eyes
Draco’s best friend
A pain in the ass to Hermione
Sometimes shipped with Pansy Parkinson
Sometimes a girl
A bisexual Chad
A cool badass
Occasionally very Gender (and written as androgynous or gender queer/fluid)
He didn’t have any characterization or lines in canon, but he sure did have all of that.
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.
Today we’re doing some note-taking over Francesca Coppa’s “Slash/Drag: Appropriation and Visibility in the Age of Hamilton” in the 2018 book Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies.
when bucky barnes comes out with dark eyes and no memory, i think of myself. of how certain words make me fall back into the places i never want to return to. of how i can’t erase everything that’s been taught to me by the people who hurt me, but i’m trying. that love, above everything, helps me ground myself to the present so i’m not sent tumbling.
Coppa uses an opening quote from Tumblr user Inkskinned that really answers some unrelated thoughts and questions I’ve had about the violence people direct towards people who criticize fandom especially in the context of “comfort characters” – which tend to be white male presenting dudes in canon who are queered and, to an extent on top of that, “feminized”. Inkskinned clearly identifies with Bucky and his trauma is familiar and used to unpack and map their own trauma and responses to triggers left behind. So what happens when someone like Inkskinned – who is probably lovely, I do not know them and did not search them out at all as I did notes – sees someone talk critically (unpacking him or jabbing at him) about Bucky? Chances are… even if it’s privately, they’re not gonna have a great reaction because he has become their emotional support damaged white man.
Why slash? The question has been asked again and again, by journalists in sensation pieces, by scholars in academic articles, and by fans themselves in essays and convention panels and blog posts: why have women created this enormous archive of romantic and erotic stories between male characters from television and film? Why Kirk/Spock? Why Holmes/Watson (retroactively dubbed “Johnlock” in the age of portmanteau pairing names)? Why do we ship Dean/Castiel on Supernatural?
Anyway, moving on from that opening quote, Coppa starts by poking at the question/s asked of slash: Why? Immediately, the whiteness jumps out because in the “whys” are revealed some “why nots”.
Why not Sulu/Chekov? Why not Luke Cage/Danny Rand? Why not Scott McCall/Stiles (or another character if you don’t multi-ship your fandom bicycle)? Why is slash fandom preoccupied with white men for the most part? (This has shifted a bit in the years after Coppa’s chapter was published but a hefty amount of East Asian people – different diasporic communities whose homeland’s source media has become popular in fandom spaces – have spoken about how they feel about the way Western fandom understands masculinity/men outside of their narrow spaces.)
Originally posted on Patreon December 3, 2021. (A few edits were made to the piece before public posting.)
There’s a James Baldwin video from a 1968 appearance on the Dick Cavett show that features prominently in I Am Not Your Negro.
Recently, the clip has been floating around social media, and I think it’s actually incredibly relevant to conversations we keep having in fandom. Especially the part transcribed below the video:
JAMES BALDWIN: I don’t know what most white people in this country feel. But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church which is white and a Christian church which is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly cannot trust the Christian church. I don’t know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me—that doesn’t matter—but I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to. Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.
A common complaint I’ve gotten whenever I mention that a specific fandom is racist or say, generally, that fandom as a space is racist is… “don’t generalize this fandom” or “it’s wrong to generalize a fandom for what a few people do”. Some people literally pull the #NotAllFans approach I spoke of years ago.
This has been a constant over the years with people deigning to acknowledge racism in fandom being bad or terrible but then turning around to hit me with “but you shouldn’t generalize a fandom as racist because that’s just as bad”.
That’s… not how that works.
Racism is absolutely worse than people saying “hey that’s racist”.
This was originally posted on Patreon! Thanks to my awesome Patrons for giving me feedback across the process and helping me use my words effectively to get the ideas out!
Tackling racism in/from the big institutions within fandom – a Big Named Fan with a 20k following, that fan studies scholar with a book and a bad reputation, or the Organization for Transformative Works itself – is scary. They’re huge, they have followings that they don’t even need to actively weaponize against you, and it’s hard to wear down a big rock in your online community.
So, when it comes to figuring out how to handle racism in your fandom communities and make these spaces inhospitable to racists, let’s start small.
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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