Abstract Black Women, Hated: Layers of Misogynoir in Fandom Spaces As fandom spaces become even more active in asking for and creating positive representation about underrepresented identities (i.e., disabled people and queer people), one notable weak spot in fandom representation politics revolves around the reception towards and portrayal of Black women in fandom. Black female […]
This is a wrap-up/write-up of my overall comments during the PCA 2019 Roundtable on Racism in Fandom/Fan Studies Spaces (which I chaired). Feel free to check out write-ups from Robin Anne Reid and Samira Nadkari, two of the other participants on the roundtable.
Across transformative and curatorial fandom spaces, racism is so entrenched in the skeleton of fandom – from erasing fans of color via the ahistorical rewriting of fandom history to killing off or torturing characters of color in fanworks – that to uproot and remove racism from fandom would leave it looking like those floppy cored sheep from the bone vampire episode of Futurama.
PCA 2019 was my second time attending this conference in three years. It was my second time coming into these academic spaces and getting up to talk to a hopefully invested audience about racism in fandom spaces.
But it wasn’t my first time talking about the way that misogynoir works in fandom.
Talking about misogynoir and other forms of racism in fandom and media is kind of… my thing.
It’s an aspect of fannishness that I feel proud of working on and where I feel compelled to continue honing my skills. It’s a form of fannishness that I like because I finally have the room and the words to verbalize my concerns as a queer Black person in fandom.Read More »
Note: This is the write-up of Robin Anne Reid’s segment in the roundup on race and racism in fandom that we had at PCA 2019 April 17, 2019.
The main point I want to make for this discussion is that Academia, in general, is having its own versions of Racefail ’09 in various disciplinary spaces and conferences. I am working on a book about Racefail ’09, and the more I work on describing and documenting the events of a decade ago, the more I see how current academic imbroglios follow a similar pattern, one that fits Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s definition of color-blind or unconscious, racism.
The problems include programming at the major conferences, statements made, and actions taken by tenured white scholars in positions of relative privilege, against tenure-track scholars. The academic Racefail I am most familiar with involved doxing, death threats, and attempts to drive scholars of color out of the profession and was recently covered in the New York Times.Read More »
In April 2019, I was invited by Zina Hutton, Cait Coker, and Robin Reid to be part of a Roundtable on Race and Racism in Fandom and Fan Studies at the PCA/ACA 2019 conference held in Washington DC, USA. The intention was to discuss Fandom and Fan Studies 10 years after the events of RaceFail ’09 to see if things had changed and, if so, how. While I didn’t speak to the events of RaceFail ’09 itself, it did inflect my critique of institutional responses that followed in the wake of a more recent event.
What follows here is a rough estimate of the things I said at the conference, much of which was unscripted. I should note that these are my views alone and that I do not speak for Rukmini Pande, who was also involved in the series of events I plan to discuss.
At the same time, I should also be clear that many of the points that follow are points that fans of colour (hereafter FOC) and acafans of colour (as well as acafans working on critical race theory in fandom) have already noted. In a multiplicity of ways, I am echoing their work, restating it, forcibly reinscribing it as best as I can, and ascribing it as best as I can (and Rukmini is part of this, though again she is not the first).
As previously noted, these conversations have been around for far longer than us, and to assume that we are the first to voice this discomfort, this anger, this complaint (per Sara Ahmed) is to be complicit in this erasure and our own eventual erasure. These are not just my words, this is not just my voice.
Off-hand, I have a list of a few words that I think apply to my experience at PCA 2019
First of all, while I was surprised that folks in fan-studies gave two shiny cents about me when I was at PCA back in 2017, that was nothing compared to this year.
Y’all. I had meetings (like two, but still). I have a mentor. People were happy to see me and wanted to see more of me as a person and as a fan-studies person. Hell, I went to a panel on k-pop (more on that in a minute) and when I was poking holes in the one panelist’s argument, there were several people in the audience who referred to me by name and like…I’m just gonna believe that they all knew me beforehand and didn’t read my nametag beforehand.
Then, the validation.
Generally, the reaction I get to my work on fandom racism and racism in media… isn’t great. If it’s not coming from my friends and followers, there’s a huge chance that it’ll be antagonistic and unkind. (Like I detail in this thread.)
Coming to PCA and having people not just excited for my work, but excited to see what else I’m planning on was amazing. People told me that they reference my work in their work or use it as an example of accessible academic writing (that was Kathy Larsen, in the Future of Fan Studies Publishing panel).
Multiple people told me that folks in their fandoms/fan spaces are like “oh, you’re into this thing? You should read what Stitch has said about it” in a positive way.
Like… it’s all very validating considering that outside of this space, folks… don’t like me very much because I talk about fandom and race.Read More »