POC TOO: Revisiting PickMe POC in 2021

Back in 2019, I wrote What Fandom Racism Looks Like: PickMe POC to talk about trends I’d been noticing in transformative fandom – queer/women’s fandom focusing on creating transformative fandom works to (re) claim the text as their own – where some fans of color would trot themselves into the line of fire and set themselves up as racists’ first line of defense from “mean” people of color who dare to talk about racism in fandom.

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Meme-Ing For A Reason #12 – I Am Not The Roadblock You Think I Am…

As we’ve covered, there’s a specific class of fandom weenie that I cannot stand because of how willing they are to support racists and racism in fandom using their POC-ness as a shield. 

I use “PickMe POC” as a term for them – which remains not a slur despite what rabid racists in fandom insist – but they also define themselves as POC TOO. As in “I’m a POC TOO… and this isn’t racist/this other POC is actually the real problem in fandom and somehow racist against me for pointing out racism”.

In the… decade or so since I started actively speaking out against racism in fandom spaces and in media – primarily antiblackness, but I’ve talked about whitewashing, anti Native racism in fanworks, the weird way white fans can approach East Asian celebrities or characters in different fandoms , etc – who pushes back against me has shifted.

First, the loudest people were white people who prefaced everything with “I’m queer and” or “i’m a trauma survivor and”. But as people started to absorb a particular form of Tumblr social justice diss-course that hinged even more heavily on specific identity politics, it shifted to “I’m a POC and”. 

That wasn’t really a thing in fandom discourses when I was growing up in fandom. 

(Probably because for most of modern fandom, anytime you’d preface a conversation on racism by talking about how you were affected by racism here as a person of color, people would basically laugh you out of the room and/or gaslight you because you were “too close” to the issue and couldn’t be seeing things straight.)

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Phone A Friend of Color

Did you know that on Twitter and Tumblr, there’s a thing folks do where they literally tag in another person of color to take over shouting at a person of color talking about race and racism in fandom or media?

Folks will see a fan of color say anything critical of a piece of media or in a particular fandom and if they disagree hard enough or they’re bored and want to start shit, they’ll tag a user they know disagrees publicly on Tumblr or Twitter, effectively turning them into an attack dog in the name of that specific thing.

And friends, I am here to tell you how that’s racist as hell.

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[Stitch Answers Feedback] Do You Know What True Antiblackness is?

I get a lot of weird ass messages and mentions, but this message, sent on the first day of Black History Month 2020, definitely ranks at the top of the weird ones.

In case you’ve missed it, January was a month full of Star Wars fandom criticism:

All of these were written/created in response to a fairly large amount of Rey/Kylo shippers showing up and showing their racist little asses over John Boyega’s initial “lay the pipe” comment (a single sex joke) and then over him dunking on their ship.

But it’s not actually about my feelings about the ship. Actually, the one thing I tried not to do was talk about my feelings about the ship because that’s not what any of this is about.

It’s bigger than ships. It’s about how this fandom has been antiblack on main for years and is finally throwing off the hood to show its real face.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: PickMe POC

When I used to be on Tumblr, I’d get a lot of messages and reblogs from people who made it a point to let other people know that I didn’t speak for all POC.

I was never arguing that I did, of course, but it was imperative to these other people of color to let me and white people in fandom know that they were here, they weren’t white, and that they thought I was full of shit about fandom racism. 

Which is their right as people on the internet, let’s be real here. 

But it’s interesting:

I, a queer Black person with most of a lifetime in fandom and an entire academic career focusing on media criticism and representation, couldn’t possibly speak for every single person in fandom when I talked about racism I witnessed in fandom… but they could speak over me in order to let other people in fandom know that I was a POC Not To Be Trusted.

“Pick Mes” have a home on the internet. It’s a term borne from African American Vernacular English (AAVE) that calls to mind the mental image of people jumping up and down and begging to be picked for a game. (“Pick me! Pick me!”) Only, in the usual context, it’s someone leaping up and down and trying to get the attention of someone that treats them with disdain. 

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