I spent most of the past 36 hours researching and thinking about Harry Potter fandom and the barely still-around documentation of the racism that fandom enacted about characters of color – especially Blaise Zabini. They’ll be turned into organized thoughts eventually, but for now… thread collection:
Harry Potter fandom really has been openly racist for ages because they sure did ship Blaise with Draco and/or Hermione right up until the reveal he was Black and then, after the in-fandom rioting, he got the treatment that most Black characters get and his fanworks/ships went 📉
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.
Content Notes: descriptions of police brutality and violence from law enforcement that includes sexual violence and violence against vulnerable people like children. Screenshots that mention harassment that include racism, threats, harassers urging people to self harm, and doxxing.
I also swear a lot and in a way that can be read as “at” the people who pull the nonsense I’m talking about.
Genuinely, I can hardly think of a clearer example of what fandom brain rot does to a person than the repeated insistence across multiple fandoms that ACAB – “All Cops Are Bastards” – somehow includes people on the internet who are critical of fandom at any level including just… being critical of racism in fandom and media in public.
The thing is that yes, ACAB as a term existed well before the horrific events of Summer 2020, the time period when lots of people on your social media feeds decided to put the acronym in their bios and display names for the first time… But it has never revolved around anything other than rejecting the violence that law enforcement/policing does as a system.
Something is very, very wrong in American police culture. This is why the saying “ACAB” — or “All cops are b*ds” — has become a popular rallying cry. It doesn’t actually mean every single cop is a bad cop, just like saying Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean white lives don’t. “ACAB” means every single police officer is complicit in a system that actively devalues the lives of people of color. Bad cops are encouraged in their harm by the silence of the ones who see themselves as “good.”
Holding one police officer accountable every time a black person is killed by police is not enough. The issue isn’t “a few bad apples”; it’s a tree that is rotting from the inside out, spreading its poison.
ACAB serves as a punchy shorthand referring to the way that there can’t be such a thing as “good cops” in a field fueled by violence including fatal antiblackness, sexual violence, theft, bigotry beyond all of that, and just… an entitlement to other people’s lives in literal cases.
I understand that with this somewhat valid fear of random people harassing others over fandom – a thing that happens no matter what you’re into – it is tempting to not just accuse people of policing your fandom experience… but to compare them to the real police.
“Fandom police” as a term has been around for ages too… but it’s the way it’s being used now to refer to fans as actual cops that’s literally the problem.
Recently, Shafira Jordan’s sharp and insightful article “How White Fandom is Colonizing “Character-Coding”” has been making the rounds around fanwork creating & consuming social media. It’s a piece that speaks to something that I also have talked about (a few years ago): the way that white fandom will code white male characters as POC while also hating the hell out of characters of color in the source media/dismissing them entirely.
This ranges from deciding that a character oppressed racially in-universe like Loki being Jotun was directly paralleling an experience/existence of color to claiming they are “actually” of a marginalized identity like Kylo being Space Jewish because the actors playing Han and Leia are.
I’ve never seen folks in fandom cut up aspects of a white hero to then give those characteristics to another white character. No one’s writing stories where Bucky was always Captain America and he went on to link up with the Avengers as a fandom norm. No one’s rewriting the Skywalker saga so that Luke is actually the (totally unrelated) rogue who falls in love with Leia while Han is shot into the icy vacuum of space.
White heroes are never stripped of their backstories, motivations, and the like to boost a minor white character or villain up to heroic status. The things that make heroes like Captain America, Luke Skywalker, or even Batman relatable are never stripped from them and handed to some other white hero. (And yes, that’s two superhero franchises and Star Wars, but I get to do that.)
What I have seen are plenty of instances where a hero of color has the things that make them unique in in their media not just stripped away, but then given to white characters in their show, film or comic franchise.
It’s a recurring theme that I am somehow silencing other BIPOC fans by… having and using my own website, twitter account, and the rare external platforms I’ve been offered across the past six years.
I am silencing others, you see, by having work out in public that people read and share because it is accurate and speaks to experiences that they have had or witnessed in their fandoms. I am silencing BIPOC in fandom, you see, just by existing and talking about what I experience and witness in fandom in a relatable way.
If you’re in or adjacent to Korean pop culture fandom spaces and somehow thought we’d be ending 2019 without further antiblackness from idols or their fans…
a) I’m not sure how you got to that conclusion considering how bad 2019’s been
b) You were wrong.
You were wrong, and now we have another month where an idol has thoroughly proven themselves to give less than zero shits about Black people and Black fans.
Have we had a month yet where an idol hasn’t fucked up on some way? Have we had a month in 2019 that wasn’t rife with antiblackness directly revolving around Korean pop and/or hip-hop as genres or within their fandom spaces?
In this installment of What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Antiblackness in the K-Pop Industry and its Fandom Spaces, we’ll be doing some fast and furious foregrounding.
The point of this foregrounding essay isn’t to
provide readers with an exhaustive and complete history of Korean and/or African
American hip hop and popular music.
Here are the goals of this furious foregrounding essay:
to provide some context when it comes to what K-pop generally is for folks with a wobbly grasp
To briefly cover the history of Black creativity being exported to South Korea and beyond without Black influence (but with antiblackness),
To foreground myself and my experiences with this genre and the fandom spaces.
Let’s start with a quick coverage of what k-pop is from
two experts who’ve written books on it.
In the introduction to his monograph Sorting out K-Pop: Globalization
and Popular Music in South Korea, Michael Fuhr writes that:
K-Pop is mainstream music in South Korea. Initially modeled for the teenager market, this music of the country’s youth has become the most pervasive music in Korea, effectively shaping the sonic public sphere, the musical tastes among different generations, and the imaginative worlds of its consumers and producers. (3)
Then in Suk-Young Kim’s K-Pop Live: Fans, Idols, and
Multimedia Performance, she writes that:
In the broadest sense of the word K pop as an abbreviation for Korean popular music includes all genres of popular music that emerge out of South Korea. […] But in from 2009 onward, when the term entered a wide circulation, it came to designate a much smaller fraction of south Korean music. according to pop music critic Choe Ji-seon, it references “music dominated by idols dance music which strives to gain a competitive edge in the international market .in this respect indie music or rock or anything that does not belong to dominant Idol music usually is not characterized as K pop”. (8).
K-pop – as an industry and as a genre (smush), is a
multifaceted [thing] that really dates back to just under thirty years ago with
the term itself dating back to the mid-nineties. (Suk-Young Kim traces the term
to Hong Kong’s Channel 5 in 1995 and mentions that it follows in the footsepts
of the already coined and widely used “J-pop” ).
Actually, I’ve been saying it for years and so have many other people in the Star Wars fandom who have seen the way that fandom claims to love Kylo as a villain while the majority of the fandom writes/treats him like a reskinned version of Finn.
I’m not surprised though.
Fandom has long been a space where “good” characters of color – like Scott McCall (Teen Wolf), Finn (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), or Sam Wilson (Captain America: Winter Soldier) – are always either brushed off for being “too boring” or vilified for their goodness.Read More »
U simple bitch. This is why comic book fans hate Hollywood. The criticism is not b/c U R an African actress but that ur 3 personas look too human wearing cheaply made costumes . U didn’t even care enough to Youtube the animated series and actually research the characters. (a comment sent to Anna Diop on twitter by user @Walter_Stylez on 4/13/2018)
I’m grateful you made starfire hideous and ugly, you are her first adaptation that looks less exciting. I’m sure this will make people choose batgirl over starfire now cuz she’s more prettier of a love interest. Dickbabs all the way!!! Thank you Anna for propping up my ship!!! – From twitter user @dickbabs3 on Twitter directly in response to Anna Diop posting an image of herself in a suit on 12/11/2018
Name a Black actress in a popular nerdy franchise and I’m pretty sure I can find you proof of people claiming that they:
Are too ugly
Aren’t talented enough
Are too “ghetto”
Don’t have enough chemistry (with the nearest white person)
To play the role they’ve been cast in.
Angel Coulby didn’t just have to deal with people claiming historical anachronism for her casting because Guinevere stems from a Welsh name that means “fair/white and smooth” in a show full of historical inaccuracy and sorcery.
I know there’s some overlap between the folks that support me on Patreon, folks who subscribe to my website, and the folks that follow me on Twitter, but tweets are hard to keep up with.
So I’m playing curator for a minute.
Earlier today, I got distracted from writing (which, granted, isn’t very hard to do) by someone attempting to whitesplain racism and fandom’s open lack of empathy towards Finn from Star Wars. This person even included a whole “this isn’t about race” thing even as they embodied one of the most racist aspects of the fandom: the lack of empathy towards Finn and refusal to actually engage with him as he is (rather than making up weird and problematic untruths about him).
I may later eat my words because I haven’t seen more than season 1 of ToS or any of the movies but I hate that Uhura in the reboot is just a love sick puppy that follows Spock around. Like she doesn’t even resemble herself and she feels less of a character. (A tweet from twitter user @meganbytetweets from 2/4/2018.)
That sucks i just really hate iris and barry idk i rather ship him with linda, patty or caitlin lol (A tweet from twitter user Amber_G27 from 4/6/2018.)
Few things inspire more misogynoir than a Black female character that fandom thinks “gets in the way” of a ship involving two white characters.
When Zoe Saldana was cast as Nyota Uhura in the 2009 Star Trek reboot film series, fans were fine… until it was revealed that Saldana’s Uhura was also in an established and committed relationship with Spock.
The short post details the various ways that fandom goes out of its way to diminish the awesomeness of Black female characters, but for this section, I’d like to look at the excuses fandom gives for why they don’t like –and frequently, actively hate – Black female characters.
Livejournal user flint_marko, the author of the ONTD post, provides a handy list of insults that fans use to excuse their hatred of these female characters that includes:
They have an attitude problem.
When I say that fandom hates Black women, this sort of thing is a prime example. All of the examples that flint_marko gives are things that fandom has used to excuse disliking or hating Black female characters throughout the years.Read More »
Originally posted back in March 2018 after realizing that the MCU fandom never actually stopped its anti-black nonsense. Best way to play? Spend some time scrolling through the unfiltered Black Panther tags on AO3 with a drink in your hand and drink every time you land on something in one of the squares. Repeat drinking is encouraged. (The original, archived inspiration.)
I’m back with another “fandom racism” card, this one more explicitly for the Black Panther fandom. I think this one can be used for scrolling through tumblr tags or AO3 as a drinking game, but I like my liver a bit too much to play it and see how it goes.
If you can’t read the bingo squares, here’s what they say (though the order may not match) and some handy links to explanationsRead More »
Originally published on my Tumblr September 17, 2013. Seriously, it’s been five years of me talking about misogynoir in fandom and with shipping and things have gotten way worse instead of better. (Also, lightly edited for clarity.)
Dear Budding Sleepy Hollow Fandom,
Don’t do the thing.
Don’t do the thing where you go in deep to act like shipping a woman of color in a hetero relationship (with a white dude) is somehow helping the patriarchy.
Don’t do the thing where you constantly bring up how “it’s a preference” when the only people you don’t ship with the lead are the women of color holding court and kicking ass right with him.
Don’t be like the Skyfall fandom that put maybe 5 minutes of interaction between Q and Bond over everything with Moneypenny. (Ignoring how their relationship actually works and their attraction to each other…)
Don’t be like those people that say that Spock/Kirk is more progressive than Spock/Uhura will ever be. (Because it’s not like when the original series was on air, when we had so little in the way of canon interracial anything on screen to serve as representation).
Don’t act as though wanting to be excited about a dark-skinned black woman as a lead and also wanting to ship her with her co-star is playing into the patriarchy.