Hi! I need to apologize to the People of Colour who have been hurt by Kora princesshamlet’s racist fanfiction. I am ashamed to say I am one of the people who read it (well, until part 2 chapter 2), sent kudos and sent them an ask praising the fanfiction.
I did not use my brain while reading it. Some parts did make me feel uncomfortable but I simply brushed that aside, just because I wanted to support a person I had been mutuals with for years. Other racist elements I didn’t even pick up on at all while reading.
I am not as educated about racism as I damn well should be. As a white person it is my job to call out racism from fellow white people and I failed miserably at that!
I am sorry you have been hurt, and dehumanized, and exploited. Fandom should be a safe space for People of Colour. You should be able to come here and have a good time without being made to feel other or less or unwelcome. And it should not be your responsibility to make it safe(r), it is white people’s responsibility, it is my responsibility. Instead I’m part of the problem. I fucked up and I’m sorry.
I should have thought critically about this fanfiction while reading it and I should have called Kora out on it. Instead I stood idly by and even expressed support.
I paid reparations to people from this post and I started to reflect on why I did not think critically about this at all and I will continue to do that. And I will also educate myself more on racism & anti-racism.
Also, I’ve been reading people’s posts on what is wrong with the fanfiction. You shouldn’t have had to do all that literal free education and (emotional) labour in the first place! But I do want to say thank you so much for doing it!
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What happened with Kora @princesshamlet: A start at contextualizing the events of the past week
While I am writing this because Kora expressed that they would like it if someone would post something contextualizing what happened, I do not speak for them; my opinions and perspective are my own. I think the general response has been wildly disproportionate to their actual words and actions. Let me know if you have questions about anything or if my writing style is hard to read and I’ll do my best to clarify.
Tl;dr: Last fall, Kora, a new Supernatural fan, started rewriting Supernatural to be more racially diverse and to more overtly address social issues such as homophobia and misogyny. They continually asked for feedback, particularly from POC, and received overwhelmingly positive responses.
Earlier this week, Kora posted something that unintentionally played into ideas that harm trans men. They were horrified to have hurt people, immediately apologized and made an effort to learn more about the issues involved.
Yesterday, some of Kora’s friends cut them off, presumably over the abovementioned. Some people read Kora’s Supernatural rewrite and were offended by portrayals of various ethnicities; Kora tried to learn from these criticisms and apologize for them. People organized to spread bad-faith, extremely hostile claims and Kora left Tumblr.
- last fall, Kora started watching Supernatural, and posting about it, including making some popular reaction videos and an elaborate summary of the events of season 16 as of mid-November. They got really attached to Cas as a character and DeanCas as a ship.
- Kora made a post along the lines of “what if I drew Castiel as Indian?” and got encouraging responses, so they made a drawing. A lot of Desi people left comments saying that they really liked the drawing and that the representation was meaningful to them, so Kora started posting and reblogging a lot more about recasting Supernatural to be racially diverse.
- Kora accumulates a lot of ideas around how they wish Supernatural had been, and starts casually writing it up into a story. It didn’t even have a title for the first few chapters, but it quickly amassed a small, enthusiastic following.
- I started reading it at first mostly as a way of getting to know Kora, who was at the time a new friend irl (they didn’t mean to give me their Tumblr; I had followed them for Hamlet and Star Trek posts and then recognized them when they posted a selfie) but wound up getting pretty invested. I started watching Supernatural despite the fact that I can pretty much never commit to finishing a TV show.
- Kora’s general strategy was to post ideas on Tumblr and get input before including them in the fic, particularly regarding race and ethnicity. Plenty of people gave them feedback -- I remember one really long conversation where people swapped headcanons about what music a Mexican-American Dean Winchester would have liked growing up.
- iirc, they actively collaborated with multiple Latine fans of the fic on one chapter that foregrounded Mexican-American culture. These fans are credited in an author’s note.
- they received substantial encouragement from Supernatural fans of color for how they were writing the fic, and afaik no negative feedback.
- they also used the fic as a way to discuss and joke about their personal experiences with misogyny, repression, and homophobia, including writing Dean Winchester as undergoing a character arc involving working through and overcoming severe homophobia. When we called recently, they described going from homophobic to not homophobic as “the best character arc a man can have.”
- afaik they had beta readers or at least people to run ideas by for most chapters.
- earlier this week, Kora posted a somewhat poorly-worded vent post about Dean Winchester’s misogyny in Supernatural canon.
- I think I reblogged it because I don’t have super high standards for my SPN blog and yeah, afaict Dean said some pretty gross things in canon? I’d seen a lot of people talk about it, particularly Asian women, it’s clearly a thing.
- several people expressed hurt at the post’s wording, which could be read as bigoted against trans men.
- Kora immediately apologized and started looking for ways to learn more about trans men’s issues (afaict, mostly asking friends and going through the trans dean tag)
- they messaged me about it (Tuesday 4/13/2021), and I took a closer look at the post and explained how in isolation it looked harmless, but some of the rhetoric fit into wider patterns of transandrophobia, i.e. part of the impetus for this post was Kora being surprised that some of their trans male friends project onto Dean, since he’s a pretty bad role model for gender -- I pointed out that one way trans men are marginalized within queer movements is by people perpetuating the idea that we’re more misogynistic than cis men (which makes no sense), and their post could be read as playing into that trope (that reading had occurred to me when I first saw the post, but I had initially dismissed it because Kora and I had been spending a lot of time talking about gender and I never felt that they distrusted me or saw me as a threat).
- they made another hasty apology post, quoting my message to them.
- I encouraged them not to worry too much about what strangers online thought about them, but they were very insistent that they had hurt people and needed to learn and make amends.
- I think what happened next was that the conversation sparked a larger discussion about transandrophobia in the Supernatural fandom? I’m not sure about this though, I was off Tumblr most of Tuesday and Wednesday. I saw a few well-written posts refuting the idea that it was misogynistic to headcanon Dean as trans. I did not see anyone claim it was misogynistic to headcanon Dean as trans, but again, I wasn’t looking.
- yesterday, Kora started getting a lot more and a lot meaner messages.
- a large part of their social circle cut them off all at once, saying they felt unsafe and that Kora was transphobic. Kora did not/was unable to receive further clarification, while actively seeking the chance to learn more and repair harm done.
- someone made a dedicated hate tag for them.
- a new group of people read their Supernatural rewrite, and were offended by their portrayals of race and their writing about homophobia, and additionally mocking their writing style. The tone was often extremely mean-spirited.
- Kora responded to and apologized for some of the concerns around their portrayal of race, and refuted some of the bad-faith readings of their depictions of homophobia.
- Kora made an effort to understand what they had done wrong but a lot of the posts weren’t very specific.
- some of the claims got fucking wild. A lot of them involved taking stuff out of context. I think w*ncest got brought up at one point???
- Kora wrote another apology and took a break from Tumblr, on the advice of another friend.
- I spent like a day gearing up to write this because I vastly underestimated the speed at which Tumblr discourse moves.
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