for literal decades, US schools have policed the clothing of young girls and the clothing and hair of black students so meticulously it’s straight up harassment, but now that they’re being asked to enforce a mask mandate in schools, which, btw, is a million times simpler and easier to enforce than these absurd dress codes, they “can’t control students in that way” because they “value student’s bodily autonomy” stfu and tell us with your whole chest that you’re scared of the rich white soccer mom PTA head cutting funding and you don’t think anyone who’s a girl or black deserves bodily autonomy.
EDIT: please reblog this version which has some clarifications!
EDIT: stop reblogging this at all! leave me alone! if you want it on your blog that bad literally copy paste and repost it idc!
The only decent way to use white privilege
Edit: this is the first time anything I have posted has reached over 10k notes and I cannot be happier that this is the post that is getting attention.
Edit 2: now over 20,000!!!!! Keep it going - being a Karen could literally save someone's life one day
Edit 3: OVER 50,000 - keep sharing this!!!!
Disclaimer: I am not the person who did this, I'm simply sharing the screenshots to spread awareness. I am a white person and I do want to be an ally in as many ways as possible so please share as many ways as possible that both I and other white people can do this
race & culture in fandom
For the past decade, English language fanwriting culture post the days of LiveJournal and Strikethrough has been hugely shaped by a handful of megafandoms that exploded across AO3 and tumblr – I’m talking Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Dr Who, the MCU, Harry Potter, Star Wars, BBC Sherlock – which have all been overwhelmingly white. I don’t mean in terms of the fans themselves, although whiteness also figures prominently in said fandoms: I mean that the source materials themselves feature very few POC, and the ones who are there tended to be done dirty by the creators.
Periodically, this has led POC in fandom to point out, extremely reasonably, that even where non-white characters do get central roles in various media properties, they’re often overlooked by fandom at large, such that the popular focus stays primarily on the white characters. Sometimes this happened (it was argued) because the POC characters were secondary to begin with and as such attracted less fan devotion (although this has never stopped fandoms from picking a random white gremlin from the background cast and elevating them to the status of Fave); at other times, however, there has been a clear trend of sidelining POC leads in favour of white alternatives (as per Finn, Poe and Rose Tico being edged out in Star Wars shipping by Hux, Kylo and Rey). I mention this, not to demonize individuals whose preferred ships happen to involve white characters, but to point out the collective impact these trends can have on POC in fandom spaces: it’s not bad to ship what you ship, but that doesn’t mean there’s no utility in analysing what’s popular and why through a racial lens.
All this being so, it feels increasingly salient that fanwriting culture as exists right now developed under the influence and in the shadow of these white-dominated fandoms – specifically, the taboo against criticizing or critiquing fics for any reason. Certainly, there’s a hell of a lot of value to Don’t Like, Don’t Read as a general policy, especially when it comes to the darker, kinkier side of ficwriting, and whether the context is professional or recreational, offering someone direct, unsolicited feedback on their writing style is a dick move. But on the flipside, the anti-criticism culture in fanwriting has consistently worked against fans of colour who speak out about racist tropes, fan ignorance and hurtful portrayals of living cultures. Voicing anything negative about works created for free is seen as violating a core rule of ficwriting culture – but as that culture has been foundationally shaped by white fandoms, white characters and, overwhelmingly, white ideas about what’s allowed and what isn’t, we ought to consider that all critical contexts are not created equal.
Right now, the rise of C-drama (and K-drama, and J-drama) fandoms is seeing a surge of white creators – myself included – writing fics for fandoms in which no white people exist, and where the cultural context which informs the canon is different to western norms. Which isn’t to say that no popular fandoms focused on POC have existed before now – K-pop RPF and anime fandoms, for example, have been big for a while. But with the success of The Untamed, more western fans are investing in stories whose plots, references, characterization and settings are so fundamentally rooted in real Chinese history and living Chinese culture that it’s not really possible to write around it. And yet, inevitably, too many in fandom are trying to do just that, treating respect for Chinese culture or an attempt to understand it as optional extras – because surely, fandom shouldn’t feel like work. If you’re writing something for free, on your own time, for your own pleasure, why should anyone else get to demand that you research the subject matter first?
Because it matters, is the short answer. Because race and culture are not made-up things like lightsabers and werewolves that you can alter, mock or misunderstand without the risk of hurting or marginalizing actual real people – and because, quite frankly, we already know that fandom is capable of drawing lines in the sand where it chooses. When Brony culture first reared its head (hah), the online fandom for My Little Pony – which, like the other fandoms we’re discussing here, is overwhelmingly female – was initially welcoming. It felt like progress, that so many straight men could identify with such a feminine show; a potential sign that maybe, we were finally leaving the era of mainstream hypermasculine fandom bullshit behind, at least in this one arena. And then, in pretty much the blink of an eye, things got overwhelmingly bad. Artists drawing hardcorn porn didn’t tag their works as adult, leading to those images flooding the public search results for a children’s show. Women were edged out of their own spaces. Bronies got aggressive, posting harsh, ugly criticism of artists whose gijinka interpretations of the Mane Six as humans were deemed insufficiently fuckable.
The resulting fandom conflict was deeply unpleasant, but in the end, the verdict was laid down loud and clear: if you cannot comport yourself like a decent fucking person – if your base mode of engagement within a fandom is to coopt it from the original audience and declare it newly cool only because you’re into it now; if you do not, at the very least, attempt to understand and respect the original context so as to engage appropriately (in this case, by acknowledging that the media you’re consuming was foundational to many women who were there before you and is still consumed by minors, and tagging your goddamn porn) – then the rest of fandom will treat you like a social biohazard, and rightly so.
Here’s the thing, fellow white people: when it comes to C-drama fandoms and other non-white, non-western properties? We are the Bronies.
Not, I hasten to add, in terms of toxic fuckery – though if we don’t get our collective shit together, I’m not taking that darkest timeline off the table. What I mean is that, by virtue of the whiteminding which, both consciously and unconsciously, has shaped current fan culture, particularly in terms of ficwriting conventions, we’re collectively acting as though we’re the primary audience for narratives that weren’t actually made with us in mind, being hostile dicks to Chinese and Chinese diaspora fans when they take the time to point out what we’re getting wrong. We’re bristling because we’ve conceived of ficwriting as a place wherein No Criticism Occurs without questioning how this culture, while valuable in some respects, also serves to uphold, excuse and perpetuate microaggresions and other forms of racism, lashing out or falling back on passive aggression when POC, quite understandably, talk about how they’re sick and tired of our bullshit.
An analogy: one of the most helpful and important tags on AO3 is the one for homophobia, not just because it allows readers to brace for or opt out of reading content they might find distressing, but because it lets the reader know that the writer knows what homophobia is, and is employing it deliberately. When this concept is tagged, I – like many others – often feel more able to read about it than I do when it crops up in untagged works of commercial fiction, film or TV, because I don’t have to worry that the author thinks what they’re depicting is okay. I can say definitively, “yes, the author knows this is messed up, but has elected to tell a messed up story, a fact that will be obvious to anyone who reads this,” instead of worrying that someone will see a fucked up story blind and think “oh, I guess that’s fine.” The contextual framing matters, is the point – which is why it’s so jarring and unpleasant on those rare occasions when I do stumble on a fic whose author has legitimately mistaken homophobic microaggressions for cute banter. This is why, in a ficwriting culture that otherwise aggressively dislikes criticism, the request to tag for a certain thing – while still sometimes fraught – is generally permitted: it helps everyone to have a good time and to curate their fan experience appropriately.
But when white and/or western fans fail to educate ourselves about race, culture and the history of other countries and proceed to deploy that ignorance in our writing, we’re not tagging for racism as a thing we’ve explored deliberately; we’re just being ignorant at best and hateful at worst, which means fans of colour don’t know to avoid or brace for the content of those works until they get hit in the face with microaggresions and/or outright racism. Instead, the burden is placed on them to navigate a minefield not of their creation: which fans can be trusted to write respectfully? Who, if they make an error, will listen and apologise if the error is explained? Who, if lived experience, personal translations or cultural insights are shared, can be counted on to acknowledge those contributions rather than taking sole credit? Too often, fans of colour are being made to feel like guests in their own house, while white fans act like a tone-policing HOA.
Point being: fandom and ficwriting cultures as they currently exist badly need to confront the implicit acceptance of racism and cultural bias that underlies a lot of community rules about engagement and criticism, and that needs to start with white and western fans. We don’t want to be the new Bronies, guys. We need to do better.
“ Whenever a Trump supporter asks you to "name one time Trump was racist," feel free to link to this....
1973: The Nixon administration sued Trump for refusing to rent to black people.
1980s: Trump's casinos were accused of hiding the black staff when Trump visited.
1989: Trump took out a full-page ad, arguing for the death penalty for a group of black men (The 'Central Park Five'), effectively putting a bounty on their heads, and plaguing them with a lifetime of death threats. He was sued by the Justice Department for discrimination.
1991: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kinds of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day… I think that the [black] guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is.”
1992: Trump's casino was fined $200,000 for transferring black dealers off certain tables to appease racist patrons.
1993: Trump said Native American casinos shouldn’t be allowed because “they don’t look like Indians to me.”
2000: Trump ran a series of attack ads against Native American casinos alleging (with no proof) that they were guilty of crimes.
2004: Trump fired a black contestant from 'The Apprentice' for being over-educated.
2010: Trump argued in favor of segregating Muslims in Lower Manhattan.
2011: Birtherism. Trump alleged that Obama was Kenyan based on nothing but skin color. He never apologized nor renounced that claim.
2015 (1): Trump called Mexican immigrants "rapists" who are "bringing crime and drugs" to the U.S.
2015 (2): Trump called for "a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S."
2016 (1): Trump called for a Mexican judge to recuse himself based on nothing other than his race. Paul Ryan said this was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
2016 (2): Trump regularly retweeted material from white supremacists and neo-Nazis during his campaign.
2016 (3): Trump tweeted a picture alleging that Hillary was Jewish, or controlled by Jewish people.
2016 (4): The Trump campaign adopted Nixon's "Law and Order" rhetoric which was based in racial fearmongering.
2016 (5): Trump told black voters "What do you have to lose?"
2017 (1): Trump asked a reporter to set up a meeting with the black caucus simply because she was black.
2017 (2): "...some very fine people on both sides" said Trump of a violent Nazi rally.
2017 (3): Trump said people from Haiti "all have AIDS" and people from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” after seeing America.
2018 (1): Trump called Haiti and African countries shitholes.
2018 (2): Trump referenced the trail of tears to mock Elizabeth Warren.
2019: Trump tweeted that four black and brown congresswomen should go back where they came from. Then attacked Elijah Cummings. Then Baltimore. Then Al Sharpton.
2020: Trump called black protesters "THUGS" just days after calling white protesters "very good people." Then he threatened to direct the military to shoot the black protestors in the street.”-Translate Trump
Currently poking around radfem blogs after a trans woman on Tiktok said it was transphobic to not have sex with a post-op trans women because “their surgery makes their anatomy exactly the same as a real vagina” and so far I’m actually agreeing with what I’m reading on the radfem side of tumblr. I do have one question, though: how do radfems feel about representation of black women in media? From what I’ve seen, radfems are critical of gender roles and stereotypes, which I understand, but 1/2
as I answer this, keep in mind that I am a white woman, so my word should be taken with a grain of salt!
being inclusive of all women is vital to radical feminism, especially being inclusive of WOC. I know black women are often stereotypes as being "manly" or "aggressive", but you and I both know that's not true. I think it's important to remember that masculinity for women is often just.. existing in our natural bodies. a black woman who doesn't shave, doesn't wear makeup, or doesn't modify herself for others isn't "masculine," she's just existing in her natural form.
the problem with how we address stereotypes is that we insist on simply defying them as opposed to abolishing them entirely. instead of saying "black women can be feminine too!", we should say "stereotyping someone based on their race or sex is bigoted". by defying most stereotypes, we only create new ones.
I hope this helps, any the radfems feel free to add on! (esp black radfems)