I enjoy reading meta because it raises what I consider a hobby to something worthy of intellectual discussion. Fandom is a hobby to me. I know not everyone sees it that way. But sometimes I want to get all "meta-y" about a hobby that's given me a lot of joy throughout the years.
Lately there's been a lot of wank over in the Stargate Fandom, which I know nothing about, over racism (sexism too). And although I can't comment on anything in Stargate fandom, the wank is actually an interesting discussion to read. The wank started over frustration that fic writers often wrote minority characters with menial jobs or lower status in their AUs. Although this was only a tiny detail in the stories, and no one intended to be "racist" about these minority characters, there was some subtle racism going on here.
The wank actually taught me a lot. Everyone knows the definition of racism in the extreme sense: Jim Crow Laws, slavery, internment camps, and segregation. And luckily these type of racists are almost non-existant in fandom. (I think we would stone them to death, wouldn't we?) But there's actually another form of racism called colorblind racism which is more subtle and which, unfortunately, people practice a lot. Part of colorblind racism is the 'white privilege' to just ignore racism as a factor in what you're doing, when it is. "Default assumptions, of course, are the things that you don't realize you're doing." - vito_excaliburvito_excalibur
explains the concept and the wank better in her post
. And she also links to a much better definition of colorblind racism
than I gave.
The discussion and the comments particularly, really awakened me to something. I ignore race and I think that's enough. I don't actively discriminate but I definitely live in my little white privilege bubble and think that race doesn't matter. It's not that I don't realize life can be a lot tougher for minorities in America. But I don't realize how often small, tiny actions we take can actually be a form of racism. Is the only African American character in that movie you just watched used for muscle or was he an athlete? Is he portrayed as not that intelligent? That's racism. Sure that seems like an easy example, but just think of how ubiquitous some of the stereotyping is. Think of how often white characters, more than any other race, are the popular characters in fic and fandom, to the point where minority characters never receive equal attention.Or to bring this into the X-Men fandom: Where's the Storm love?
I've been wondering this question for a long time. Why are there so few, if any, Storm fans? I'll admit I have only a small amount of knowledge of the comics and have stayed mostly in X-Men Movieverse. I know in the movies Storm isn't used as well as she could be. She doesn't truly have a romantic interest, other than Nightcrawler whose only in the 2nd film. Her role and even personality changes drastically from the 1st to the 3rd film for no reason (other than Halle Berry's acting). She's not a character that many people come out of the theater saying: "I loved Storm!!!" *fangirl squeeing* the way someone might do the same for Logan or Jean Grey.
The character, regardless of race doesn't seem well-defined or compelling. Yet a part of me still wonders if fans shy away from Storm, subconsciously, because she's African American. I know the X-Men franchise is supposed to appeal towards blacks, jews, and gays, as Marvel so often points out. I like to think of X-Men fandom as the most accepting, enlightened fandom around. But this discussion really made me wonder about some things. Is believing in equality enough or do we have to work for it?
"In order to avoid subconscious racism, you must actively work towards fixing the racial problems around you." says one commenter, Sailorman, here