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

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

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

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: (Not) Talking About Race

It’s a truth universally (but accidentally) acknowledged across a ton of books about being a fan of stuff, that fandom does not like talking about race. 

Regardless of how which side of a binary fandom is split into between curative fandom (they primarily collect things related to their fandom) and transformative (they primarily create things related to their fandom), one truth exists: it is easier (and better) not to talk about race at all than to talk about race and racism in fandom. 

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Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s Transmisogyny, and What We Owe Each Other

This isn’t a new conversation, but Return to Hogwarts and responses from fans past and present on social media invite us to revisit the question: Is it possible to separate the art from the artist?

The answer, of course, is complicated and nuanced. Except for the moments when it’s pretty straightforward. The idea that we can separate the art from the artist hinges on a form of privilege and a misunderstanding of how creators can put themselves and their beliefs into their work. French philosopher Roland Barthes’ essay “Death of the Author” is used as a way to explain that it’s “just art” and can be consumed without any input from the creator, making the creator someone whose shouting doesn’t impact the narrative or your understanding of it. Unfortunately, when it comes to bigotry, that’s not necessarily an approach that works.

On Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s Transmisogyny, and What We Owe Each Other

In grad school, there were a lot of books I read for my degree that were by people I would disagree with deeply or who were open and avowed bigots. The Marquis de Sade, who featured heavily in my class on transgressive literature, was a sex pest and pervert (negative). Philosopher Heidegger, who we had to learn about in literary theory because he… is apparently influential to it and influenced so many others – he did the whole “notion of ‘being'” stuff, was a whole ass Nazi. Lovecraft was a racist weenie weirdo. Some of the comic writers I did my thesis work on… were really shitty.

Rowling is a TERF. She’s claimed that title. She acts like one. She breaks bread with many.

Awful people often make things that are so important to us as readers and fans. Harry Potter is one of the most important thing in many people’s lives. It got them through hell.

How do you break free from that? How do you leave that fandom behind you or try to make it better? What do we even owe each other as fans?

I try to answer those questions in the first Fan Service installment of 2022… It was TOUGH

Stitch Reads Rafael (Anita Blake #28)- Chapters 10 & 11

Content Warnings: racism (specifically antiblack historical revisionism and mentions of slavery that are poorly done), transmisogyny, poor representation of intersex people


When we last cracked open Rafael, the titular character and Anita had just realized that Hector was the animal to call and/or sweetheart of a master vampire that wasn’t America’s Next Vampire King Jean-Claude. 

Chapter ten picks up with Anita in Jean-Claude’s bedroom, pacing around the bed because he has beautiful, bitchy, blond Asher with him and as Anita puts it “he still wasn’t on my cuddling list”. Mind you, she went to Jean-Claude for comfort but because she can’t communicate worth a damn and say “hey Asher, can you keep to one side of the orgy bed please? I’m still mad at you for not communicating to my specifications”, no cuddles for her.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Racial Gaslighting

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

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

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

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Over A Year After the OTW/AO3’s Statement of Solidarity: Where Are We With That Anti Racism?

It’s been over a year (this piece was originally supposed to go up in June 2021) since the Organization of Transformative Works’ Board of Directors, Chairs, and Leads released a statement of some solidarity with fans of color – particularly Black fans – in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the worldwide protests against antiblackness, police brutality, and white supremacy that shifted the world on its axis back in 2020.

The OTW – and its “child”, the Archive of Our Own – has yet to make any meaningful inroads into making their segment of fandom accessible, welcoming, and safe for fans of color. In fact, racism done in the name of the Archive of Our Own specifically has increased to some extent with fans of color being subject to increased attacks including shunning, slander, and direct attacks on their fandom and offline reputations for going “perhaps this space could be… less racist”.

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White Fannish Entitlement Strikes Again

Near the end of June, I made the mistake of commenting on Star Wars fandom stuff when I saw screenshots of some members of that subfandom gloating about John Boyega briefly losing his blue check/verified status on Twitter as well as kind of assuming the worst about his exit from Rebel Ridge – especially once people started kind of claiming that he was “difficult“. (Like fully going “perhaps he will have his MeToo moment and people will know that he’s truly garbage… like we have all along” in some tweets I glimpsed.)

Aside from the comment calling me a bootlicker of color (for making a thread about fandom nonsense from their camp and not immediately writing a Teen Vogue article about John Boyega, who I have no access to and still cannot reach for clarification or an interview), one comment that stood out to me called me a coward because I didn’t like… leap into the way of actual non-fandom white supremacists in defense of Rey/Kylo fandom. Again, a fandom full of people that hate me for pointing out their co-fans’ racism.

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Link Lineup July 2021

So many links this July (it’s like 12)


White Woman Hospitalized After Being Called White

Laura, whose recent 23andme revealed that she is of Nordic, German, and British ancestry and nothing else, explained the tragic circumstances that landed her in the emergency room.

“A stranger, a literal stranger, called me white within my earshot,” said Laura, who is Caucasian. “My heart started beating so fast, I broke out into a cold sweat, my face drained of all color. I knew I had to call 911. She said to her friend, and I quote, ‘that white woman walked right into me.” And yeah, maybe I did, but does that give her the right to use a slur against me?”

“People don’t realize that their hateful, racist actions can have consequences for their victims’ health,” Laura added, with a lack of self-awareness that only a woman this white could achieve.

This is so fandom, for me. Do you know how many comments, messages, subtweets, etc that exist solely because calling white women (and queer people and AFABs who aren’t women) “white” or calling white characters white sets people off? Like they fully go into “h-how dare you mention whiteness as a factor in what characters are loved and what people are harassed… this is worse than racism” fits. Oh and this is while they trot out the 23andme test results to prove they’re actually not even “Really White” but are Vaguely Brown and may actually have a Black and/or Native ancestor they can’t prove but sure will use against me.

It remains wild that some of the loudest voices of people harassing me and hating on me/my work have publicly said that I must hate them because they’re white or that I… don’t believe white people have a culture (I… did not even imply that but this defense of a nebulous white culture is a very loud racist dogwhistle) or that I am actually racist against them (white women/AFABs) because I pointed out that aside from PickMe POC being shitty for clout, white women are the ones who have the most consistently racist reactions to me/my work.

They have these reactions publicly where they moan about disliking white women(‘s racism) being racist/hate speech, accuse me of reverse racism, and other incredibly racist nonsense… and people just… accept the tantrum at face value and uplift these people who aren’t just my anti fans but who are racist from the jump.

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Stitch Reads Rafael (Anita Blake #28)- Chapter 2

We’re back at Rafael, beloveds, and I just… please tell me you see what I’m seeing when Rafael and his bodyguard are first introduced on the page after Anita escapes the bitch-off with Kane:

I was more bothered by Kane than I’d thought, since I didn’t sense Rafael’s energy with his main bodyguard, Benito, right beside him. Even without the otherworldly energy they were both tall: dark, muscled, and handsome for Rafael, more sinister for Benito. They both had short black hair and brown eyes, but Benito had deep facial scarring from something that looked like more than acne, but it wasn’t just the scars. I had other people in my life who had facial scars, and none of them seemed like a villainous henchman in a superhero movie, but Benito did. Maybe it was the fact that he worked so hard being scary as Rafael’s main bodyguard.

Like –

Y’all see this too right?

Like the sheer racist cringe on display here? It’s not as bad as the first time that we see Rafael introduced by how gosh darned Mexican he is, but it’s not actually that far off if you’re a recurring reader of the Anitaverse and can clock that this is basically just that? The bonus of Benito being described as menacing because of disfiguremesia – a brilliant term coined by my dear friend Mikaela a few years back – and because he’s Mexican… It just makes me itch.

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Facing Backlash For Anti-Racism… It’s More Common Than You’d Think

When people of color talk about racism in a given space, we are always met with a truly disproportionate amount of anger. We are harassed, made into harassers, and essentially “policed” into silence, often by people who are publicly progressive at some level.

Back when I was working on #StitchProcesses Blackface, one of the things that stood out to me was about the inciting event. Sam Okyere is a man known for gently and graciously being “Korea’s Black Friend”. He’s also been someone that spoke candidly about antiblackness he faced in Korea when he first moved to the country. In fact, one of the first times I was introduced to Okyere was because of a viral video clip of him explaining to a rapt audience of Korean people that he had experienced racism here and it was a thing that happened regularly.

That’s why the backlash to him calling out the racism of blackface from the high school students at Uijeongbu High was so shocking to me. 

Here you have a Black man literally known for talking about racism and antiblackness in Korea and him doing so, offering gently to educate others on blackface so they know how harmful it is to do it, essentially triggered a bunch of antiblack assholes into harassing him and destroying his career in Korea. 

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I’m Standing In Solidarity and Against Hate

On Twitter I’ve been boosting what I can, when I see it. This means linking to articles about the hate crime shooting spree in Atlanta (and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, violence, racism, etc)  across the past year and change alone. I also shared donation links from foundations specifically to benefit and uplift Asian American communities and help the victims of the latest attacks to hit the news. I neglected to do that here as I was focused on using that bigger platform to boost and be helpful that way.

However, it’s important to make things clear here as well: I stand in solidarity with Atlanta’s Asian American community as well as with Asians and other people of color who are subject to the horrors and hatefulness of white supremacy everywhere. White supremacy is a rot that must be rooted out of society and solidarity is a community building/reinforcing tool that will help us do so.

Rather than center myself at any point, I’m sharing some of the links I shared on Twitter so that folks who read this site can see how they can help and what they may have been missing. This will include donation links to GoFundMes and foundations.

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Thread Collection: On Racefakers (3/14/2021)

Still locked because people refuse to respect my boundaries, but if you have access to my main account the original thread is here. Lightly edited for clarity and to organize the points better.


Related to some publishing shit: the reason racefakers like the ones pretending to be super biracial/light skinned Black women or non-Black Latinx are able to succeed in publishing/education/fandom is because they benefit from playing off of anxieties about rejecting people based on their looks

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Link Lineup – November BONUS

Everyone’s writing such good content and I can’t actually bring myself to wait until December to share some of the stuff I’ve read since the last Link Lineup post! So bonus links for all!


The Business of Selling White Women the Righteousness of Their Own Anger

After all, it was a white woman feigning outrage (that she later admitted was a lie) that killed Emmet Till in the first place. But while white readers ordered so many books about white privilege during the summer of Black Lives Matter protests over the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor that they created a shortage, the majority of books about women’s anger often depict all women’s anger as being equal, a force for good and never a tool used to silence and punish others; they largely ignore the slew of white women having meltdowns at the sight of non-white people having barbeques, enjoying swimming pools, or birdwatching that abound on the internet. Perhaps that’s because the idea that white women’s anger is, has been, and continues to be a source of terror for a lot of marginalized people is simply not something white women, even “good” white women who marched for Floyd and Taylor, are particularly interested in buying.

I think it’s been interesting how I have constantly been accused of anger – when I am at best mildly annoyed and deeply inconvenienced – by white people who are angry that I exist and that I write what I do.

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Link Lineup – October 2020

Hey friends and assorted nerds, I come bearing some links to things that have held my attention since last time we did this! Go read, watch, or listen to them right away!


John Boyega: ‘I’m the only cast member whose experience of Star Wars was based on their race’

“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” he says, holding my gaze. “Let’s just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”

2020 has been a year where I have consistently been proven correct about things. Case in point? I knew that the Star Wars fandom’s unending racism absolutely was impacting how John moved throughout the world. I knew it was taking a toll on him across his time as Finn. And I mean, he confirmed it. He also talked about how antiblackness in the industry – from the people working around him and from casual oversights – left him essentially wounded. Star Wars should’ve been a positive and affirming nerd experience for John, but it really was not.

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Antiblackness in (Service of) the Archive: A Statement

Huge chunks of transformative fandom are currently playing the most actively antiblack game of telephone in the world.

And I’m the subject.

What will I be by the time they’re done? I’m already being compared to trans exclusionary radical feminists despite being nonbinary, accused of holding grudges against people I don’t know and have likely never interacted with, and being slandered literally every single time that someone else mentions me as an author to read.

And all because I write about racism in fandom in a relatively sharp tone.

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