Some advice for white people in fandom

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Title: Some advice for white people in fandom
Creator: zvi loves tv
Date(s): September 23, 2006
Medium: LiveJournal post
Fandom:
Topic: Race and Fandom
External Links: Some advice for white people in fandom; archive link page 1; archive link page 2; archive link page 3
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Some advice for white people in fandom is a 2006 essay by zvi loves tv which advises "white people" who want to write fic using a person "character of color."

"You're puzzled about how to do it, and you're scared that there will be consequences, right? Well, I, an actual Fan of Color, am going to give you some advice on how to grab your CoCs, and what to do if the FoCing Cabal* accuses you of abusing your CoCs.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I'm going to let you in on several secrets to de-scarify the whole issue before you even get started on the how."

zvi wrote a follow-up post called The Quest for CoC; archive link.

Some Excerpts

Part the First In which we explore some things to do when grabbing a CoC for your fanactivity.

N.B. I talk directly about writing fanfic, but I think a fair amount of this is translatable to more visual fan arts.

The first thing you should understand when you are writing fanfiction about a CoC is that you are writing fanfiction, i.e. you are writing about a character who has already been characterized for you.

[much snipped]

Part the Second In which we discuss how to react if someone calls you on CoC abuse.

When somebody says to you, "Wow, white person, that thing you did in that story you wrote was incredibly racist," do not panic! Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, no one is accusing you of being a racist or a bad person or the source of all evil in fandom. They may not even be accusing you of being a bad writer.

What they are saying is, "A) You made a mistake, B) Your mistake offended me and C) your mistake will offend many other people."

[much snipped]

You are probably wondering, "Good grief, this is a lot of work, and if I screw up, all I can do is lie down and get kicked in the head. Why on Earth should I write CoCs? I can just avoid the mess by only writing about white people!"

That thing where you are considering only writing about people of the same race as you is an exercise of white privilege. It is something that you are able to do because you are white. If I want to do it, I have to restrict my fannish activity to The Wire, Homicide, and Oz. (Since my fannish preference is for indifferently written genre shows with marvelously underwritten premises, that doesn't actually do me any good.) If an Asian or Latino fan wants to write only about Asian or Latino characters, they would have to create a massive and improbable crossover of one character from this fannish property and two characters from that fannish property if they want to build a cast of fifteen or twenty different CoCs of the correct cultural group.

Deliberately exercising white privilege is racist. The reason you read this whole thing is so you can not be racist. Just grab your CoC and stop angsting already.

Comments at the Post

There are 131 comments at this post. See: archive link page 1; archive link page 2; archive link page 3.