The J2 Haiti Fic

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Event: Haiti!Fail, That J2 Haiti Fic, SPN Race!Fail
Date(s): June 14, 2010
Type: Imbroglio
Fandom: J2, Supernatural RPF
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

On June 14, 2010, gatorgrrrl posted to the Livejournal community as an author for the Supernatural and J-Squared Big Bang Challenge! with a story called Caught Between the Earth and Sky. As is the practice for the challenge, the community post linked to a story Master Post on the author's Livejournal, and to an art post on the artist's journal. The art for the story was created by mementis. The story is an Alternate Universe fanfiction centering on the popular J2 real-person slash pairing of actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Palecki from the television show Supernatural. The summary read:

The setting is Haiti, post-earthquake. Jensen Ackles is an American doctor who's running from his past, trying to make up for his mistakes in this broken place and live up to the promise he made to his brother half a lifetime ago. Jared Padalecki is a naive photojournalist who's hiding from himself, hoping to find one more story in a place already forgotten by the rest of the world. When he learns about all the good things Jensen and his friend, Haitian nurse Abraham Joseph, are doing around the ravaged country, he thinks he's found his story. Jensen, of course, thinks otherwise. But Jared is nothing if not persistent, and when circumstances work to throw them together, he quickly learns that Dr. Jensen Ackles is more than just a story and that sometimes, stories can become personal.[1]

Discussion about the story quickly spread in fandom beyond the community and J2/Supernatural RPF spaces. It received criticism for racism based on its characterizations and use of Haiti as a backdrop.

Immediate Response

The early response to the story occurred on the community post, which does not allow anonymous comments[2], in gatorgrrrl's journal posts, where anonymous commenting was allowed[3], and at spnpermanon, both in the fic discussion post thread for the story and in threads on the main discussion post. All of those posts are now deleted or no longer public.

Some of the first commenters on the story posts were making generally supportive comments of the sort fest fans and participants often leave on each other's posts. Some very few of them were complimentary comments from people who had read the story. The very first responses in the spnpermanon discussion thread were also fairly positive about the story.[3]

The Art Post

The early comments on the art post are also complimentary of the art and of the artist as well as the story.[4]

Within a very short time however, fans began to leave comments in all of these places expressing criticism of the story, the setting, various plot points, and also of the art which originally included a photo of an unnamed Haitian woman, a survivor of the quake, and other photos of the aftermath. The very first negative comment to the art post suggested that a warning for the use of the photo of a survivor was appropriate.[5] Shortly thereafter, the photo of the Haitian woman was removed from the art and an edited version was substituted.

By June 16, the art post had been changed to only link to the now-modified pieces and the artist had added an apology to the post:

I deeply regret my actions with respect to this story. I should not have chosen this story to illustrate. I should not have produced these graphics. I should not have chosen actual photographs of the earthquake's aftermath as elements in the graphics I produced. I should not have published the graphics without appropriate warnings. I knew better at each step, and the fact that I went ahead and did these things represents a shameful and complete failure of judgment on my part. There are reasons and circumstances and backgrounds, but those reasons have no place in an apology.

I deeply regret having done these things, and I am sorry for the hurt, offense and pain I have caused even one of you, even indirectly.

Under the cut is the original art post, including my notes and acknowledgments, after the alterations described above and the earlier added warning and altered graphic. I've struggled with the thought of re-linking the original header before the alteration. I'm not trying to hide it, but I also don't want to cause additional pain by making it directly available all over again.

Thank you for reading this, and for your time, and for the guidance I've been able to find in your discussions.[4]

As of February 2012, the art is no longer available at the artist's website although her master art post remains. The first chapter header below is the altered version of the original, with the "silhouette of a pregnant woman against the backdrop of a ruined cathedral in Port-au-Prince" removed.

The Story Posts

Some hours after the story was posted and after many comments, both anonymous and by logged-in users, expressed extremely high levels of criticism of the story, gatorgrrrl edited the master post in her own journal to include an apology. At, or shortly after that time, she set the comments to the post to disabled, which on Livejournal at the time, had the effect of hiding all comments from view. The story was still available to readers.[1]

This apology said: {need to find cap or repost of this}

This article or section needs expansion.

At some time on the 15th of July, gatorgrrrl added the following note to the post on the Big Bang community, "A/N: Please note that some readers have found offense in both the setting and characterizations in this story."[1]

On the 16th of July, gatorgrrrl removed the post from the Big Bang community, removed the story from public view and issued a second apology, which said in part:

My Big Bang fic, "Caught Between the Earth and Sky," has been removed from public viewing. I have also removed the entry from the SPN-J2 Big Bang community. I love the writing challenge, love reading so many great fics and having the opportunity to participate, and I would hate for the controversy to taint the community or the mods.

This situation has reached a level that I would never have believed if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. It was never my intention to write a story that so many people found offensive. I have already acknowledged my mistake and severe lack of good judgment in choosing the setting for my story. As for the treatment of the characters in the story, especially the people of color, I can see now how some of the portrayals can be seen as unflattering, though as I was writing, I did my best to avoid this. I also admit to falling into the trap of stereotypes, though again, I did not see this until after the fact. Hindsight can definitely be clearer, but unfortunately, by the time it kicks in, it is usually too late to correct.[1]

The apology post is now no longer public. The author made no further public comment about the story directly. {Need a cap or copy of the whole second apology}

Wider Fandom Discussion

Branching Off The Anon Meme

One of the earliest posts about the story was by fan author-critic schmevil, expressing concern about the story based on the summary and author's notes alone, saying, "Anyone read the story? This strikes me as an intensely problematic and unwise premise."[6]

Not long after, Indo-Trinidadian blogger bossymarmalade posted a set of excerpts from the story with very little commentary.[7] This post, one of the most widely read and cited posts in the ensuing discussion, attracted hundreds of comments. The livejournal posts of the original story were removed from public access approximately 48 hours after posting, and although a full PDF of the story remained in circulation afterward, many of the people involved in discussing it only ever read these excerpts.

The excerpts focused on the portion of the story that took place in Haiti as well as some of the later scenes set in the US. The bulk of them are descriptions of Haitian characters and their dialogue, with a particular focus on the character of Abraham Joseph, a black Haitian man who works with Jensen in Haiti.

There are also excerpts that show the way the story looked at Haiti and Haitian people through the eyes of the white characters.

The final segment is a scene where Jared and Jensen discuss the large black cat that they have named after Abraham Joseph.

Viralty On Livejournal & Dreamwidth

Afro-American blogger amazonziti began a list of links to posts about the story on June 14. It became the central resource for people tracking the conversation, trying to explain it to new people just encountering the discussion and also a discussion of some of the issues around the story and the behaviour of various posters and commenters.

The posts are:

Themes of Criticism


A great deal of the criticism from the moment the story was posted and on through to the discussion moving into the collective fannish mythos has focused almost exclusively on the setting of the story. The story takes place initially in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake which struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. The story was posted only six months later.

For many fans, the most immediately obvious issue with the story is a moral argument against setting fanfic, and in particular sexually explicit fanfic with white protagonists, against a backdrop of a real-world tragedy, especially one which mostly affected black people.

Afro-American blogger amazonziti (formerly Kendra A.), in what would become the first post of the links list, said:

Right. So. Never mind the actual tragedy that devastated an entire country less than six months ago; never mind the hundreds of thousands of black people -- black children -- that died or were hurt or who lost people they loved or who lost their homes or who had their entire lives torn apart. No, what's REALLY important is the romance between two beautiful white men, and how they learn and grow and become better people because of their condescending to help these noble, gentle black folk.

Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth a little.[1]

The first two comments to bossymarmalade's post of excerpts compared the story to a J2 story from 2007, Nisay,[12] that was set in Cambodia, albeit well after the genocide of the Khmer Rouge.[13][14]

Many people zeroed in on a sentence in gatorgrrrl's notes about how she came to write the story. Solvent quotes the notes, "The Haiti earthquake was still in the news and the more I saw about it, the more I wanted to use it until it seemed like the best idea ever."[15]

A great many fans saw this as an inability to recognize the seriousness or even the reality of the setting and its appropriate use. Many people commented about how poor was the depiction of Haiti, its culture and its people in the story.

An anonymous commenter to the post of excerpts said:

I somehow completely missed that this was happening until a friend just mentioned it to me and I'm glad I did because I don't know what I would have said to the author. Haiti is my country, it's where my family here in the US is from and where the rest of my family still lives. Port au Prince is very dear to us because everyone grew up there, went to school there, our family house is there and everyone is buried there. So to think during a time when we were struggling to find out who was still alive and what was still standing, wondering if one of those unidentified bodies being dumped into landfills was a cousin or uncle, and living with the guilt at not being able to do enough someone out there was watching the same coverage to fuel their fic is something I can't grasp.

And she got everything so bloody wrong. I can't even articulate how insulted and angry I feel that this is what she is describing the city as-some backwater town without doctors or even people who have seen friggin' cameras before. She has no idea who these people are or how that city could be so beautiful or so vibrant before the earthquake. That yes, there was cell phone coverage and internet and movie and music scenes. That a lot of people speak fucking English in addition to french and creole and are in contact with a large diaspora spread across the world. That these are not the stereotypical jungle people of racist hollywood films.

There was no effort made to understand the country, its problems or its culture. Instead it was used as a shallow backdrop for her love story as she willfully ignored how it could affect people.[16]

And july_july_july wrote, quoting some more of the author's notes:

I find this fic extremely offensive. In March I spent a week in Haiti doing relief work, up north and also in Port au Prince. (Not that this makes me an expert by any stretch, but I did put eyes on the city and I saw things that have radically re-shaped my opinions about the developing world.)

This is not any setting that you have chosen. This is not a WWII AU or a fic about doctors trying to eliminate polio in the 1950's or even the Good Friday Quake. The Haitian earthquake just happened. It JUST happened. There are still bodies in the rubble, limbs trimmed off so they don't dangle out in front of pedestrian traffic. They're never going to find all the bodies. And the ones they did find? They're in a mass grave outside the city that you can smell when you drive past it.

[from the A/N]I have taken a few liberties with some of the facts in order to make them fit into the story the way I needed. For example, Haiti's daytime temperatures in February/March, when the majority of this fic takes place, tend to be in the 70s-80s F; I made it seem much hotter. The country's rainy season doesn't really begin until early April; I pushed it up a few weeks. And the Port-au-Prince General Hospital was severely damaged in the earthquake and since then, its emergency room has been housed in a tent. In the fic, the building is fairly undamaged and even has electricity.

And this, in all honesty, is what I find most repellent. These are not dry facts that you can take liberties with. These are death and life circumstances for living people. The building was damaged. There was not electricity. And people died because of that. Pretending otherwise is malicious fantasy.[17]

Another story that was brought up often in the discussion was tevere's Generation Kill story set in East Timor, Sixteen Days in September[18]. Unlike the story set in Cambodia, this story was often used as an example of how fanfic, even slash fanfic can be set in these kinds of times and places without the problematic results of the Haiti fic.

Tevere posted Fanfic as a Vehicle[19] to discuss her story, the Haiti story and the "interesting part of the discussion around this story is the ongoing conversation on whether or not fanfiction -- as opposed to original fiction -- is ever an appropriate vehicle for the exploration of real-life natural or man-made tragedies, particularly in non-white and post-colonial settings."

Racist Depictions of Haiti and Haitian people

While discussing the setting of the story and its appropriateness and acuracy, fans were also talking about particulars of the way the setting and Haitian characters were depicted. Bossymarmalade focused on the physical descriptions of Abraham Joseph and the forms and content of the dialogue by multiple Haitian characters who appeared in the story.[7]

However, many fans responded that they could not see the racism in these depictions, and required further explanation. Several fans have commented that they read the story or the excerpts and didn't see anything wrong with the depictions of Haiti or of the Haitian characters until they found posts or comments drawing arrows at the offensive content.[3]

Poisontaster, in responding to the general tenor of the discussion wrote, "Racism is not just using the N-bomb or thinking that interracial marriage is unnatural. Sometimes it's taking the stories of brown people (and their history and culture and tragedies) and putting it on like a shiny necklace. Sometimes it's envisioning or re-envisioning a world that has no brown people in it, or where they can only occupy subservient, unimportant roles (you know, like those pesky women). It's the ability to not think in terms of color and to not see it when you just 'accidentally' or 'coincidentally' co-opt, erase or otherwise keep the brown people to the back. "[20]

Haitian Languages As "Gibber/Jabber"

Two of the excerpts in bossymarmalade's post referred to Haitian characters as gibbering or jabbering in Creole. Many of the commenters discussed this as offensive terminology as well as the problematic references in the story to Jensen's scholastic French being of no use to him in Haiti.[7]

Jazzypom took the topic a lot farther in an essay about the colonialist and imperialist history of language in places like Haiti and tied these ideas into how the story handled language:

Which brings me back to the SPN writer, and when I read an excerpt from the fic with the notion of dismissing Haiti's nation language as gibberish, it hit me hard, because of the reasons detailed above. For most colonised areas, you didn't learn English, or Spanish or French because it pleased you, but to survive and get ahead, especially if you weren't white. Language, as detailed in the essay so far, comes with its own history, be it of economics, or society. In the SPN fic, one of the characters learns French, and it is presented as a choice, and the right choice, whereas in the colonies, it's not an option, but a forcible legacy of their history. [21][note 1].

Comparison Of Abraham To An Animal

Another flashpoint for many critics of the story is near the end, when Jared adopts a black cat that they name after Abraham, the Haitian nurse in the story:[22]

"But why did you have to name him Abraham?”
“Do you really have to ask?” he said, looking over at the cat. “I mean, look at him.”
Jared studied the cat again. It was the largest black cat he’d ever seen outside of Animal Planet, with paws bigger than those old Eisenhower silver dollars Jared used to collect when he was a kid. And he did always look like he was just on the verge of smiling.
It was uncanny, really."

In the opening paragraphs of the story, Abraham is described as follows: "It was hard to believe sometimes that Abraham was a nurse. Six foot five if an inch. Nearly 300 pounds. Hands the size of Frisbees. Amazingly calm under pressure, though if pushed, had a temper like a solar flare."[note 2]

Further down the page Jensen muses: "Abraham’s exposure to American culture consisted mainly of VHS tapes of old westerns, which he kept in a locked trunk in his tent back at the camp for safekeeping. He’d shown them all to Jensen that first day, grinning like he was a cat and all that was left of the canary was the aftertaste."[note 3]

The physical similarity between the cat and Abraham, the naming of a cat after Abraham, along with the fact that Abraham's English was broken, [note 4] left some fans feeling that the character was being treated with a fundamental lack of respect.

Let's go back to the J2 Haiti fic for a second. The author made a lot of choices with that one, but I don't think she asked herself for a moment if they were necessary to the story. There is, for example, the idea that Abraham is a big big guy with big big hands. Was it necessary to the story? Did his size play a role in affecting the plot? Bear in mind that this was, apparently, heavily referenced during the course of the story. Did all the mentions of his size have to be there? Does it even make sense for certain characters to notice it more than once, or at all?....I'm sure there are big big guys with big big hands in Haiti. There's guys of all different sizes in Haiti. The author could have made Abraham small, or medium-sized, or tall and very thin, or maybe just a little out-of-shape but otherwise pretty normal. She could have made him fluent in English -- that is also something that happens in real life, after all. She could have made him anything. She chose to make him what he was -- big, black, speaking in Ye Olde Brokene Englishe...I have a hard time seeing how these choices were dramatically necessary, what purpose they served to the story, apart from, perhaps, burnishing Jensen's Noble Doctor cred."[23]

"Why didn't anyone stop her?"

Several critics wondered why none of the author's or artist's beta readers or friends stopped them.

"And consider- it's a BB. It's taken months to write, maybe a month to beta, plenty of time for the artist as well. She's acknowledged a wide circle of friends as being cheerleaders. And yet in all that time, no one sounded the alarm."[24]
"...statistically, I'm kind of amazed if none of the people who set eyes on this story or summary along the line said, hold up, folks, could this maybe be a terrible idea. It's a big fandom, you expect there are going to be people who love and defend the story and people who find it incredibly repellent based on subject matter alone, and that's a whole issue in itself, but this seems like it would've set off somebody's alarm bells before now."[25]

The wondering extended also to the Big Bang moderators, even though few Big Bang Challenges vet or moderate the fan fiction or artwork content:

"And I have to wonder about the BB mods, too."[26]

Further on down the thread someone suggested that future Big Bangs change their rules to say: "Don't appropriate modern disasters for your backdrop." [27]

Other fans began discussing ways in which challenge communities could adopt anti-oppression policies which would allow moderators and betas to call out work, force the author to remove or modify their work to be less offensive, and ban repeat offenders. And while there might be drawbacks to having a more restrictive set of rules for challenges, the tradeoffs would be worth it.

This [method] is looser, and would leave room for oppressive material to get through before the mods spotted it. It would also, I hope allow for a somewhat safer space, without burning everyone out. It might also raise awareness of the anti-oppression movement in general, and perhaps introduce something more of a brain-post button filter.
It would still be a fair bit of work. It would still be more restrictive than a most comms and challenges currently are. There is a trade off.
But then there's always a trade off. I'm hearing a lot of PoC posting about how they are tired of having to count spoons [stop to evaluate one's personal, physical and emotional energy] before clicking links because of the potential fail therein. I wouldn't mind trying to trade that one for something nicer, personally."[28]

Other Perspectives & Related Discussions

Dogpiling Or Abuse

Many fans, during the various conversations in June 2010 and since that time, have made the argument that the criticisms levelled at the story and the author and artist amounted to dogpiling or bullying. One anonymous commenter on amazonziti's list of meta posts took her to task for compiling the list and as they saw it:

But seriously, when people make a mistake, making irrational assumptions and verbally abusing the author does not help anyone except the abusers. I do not agree with the author (of this post)'s intention to keep this abuse going. The author of this post asks for further posts about people being hurtful about the author of the fic in question. How is this different from bullying? I will repeat myself. I understand how people will rise up to what they believe... but I do not think it justifies abusing the author verbally and thus emotionally, disregarding her work. The story was taken down. It cannot offend any more people... unless people keep on talking about it, or as the author of this post says, "NOT BE SILENT". The more people make a big deal out of this, continue the abuse, the more it hurts people, especially the author. [29]

Some felt that the critical posts were going way beyond dogpiling. When people began claiming that the author had received death threats,[note 5] many critics distanced themselves, saying they were not responsible for other people's misbehavior and that they did not condone death threats to the author.[30] In response, other fans claimed that even if the alleged death threats were coming from only a small minority, when those threats were combined with the unrelenting torrent of criticism, it formed a pattern of abuse: "Now imagine receiving literally thousands of angry comments, some telling you to commit suicide, some threatening you. I think the sheer numbers, born of the the me-too-ism that led to the current unpleasant situation, has now passed into abuse. Cyberbullying someone for a mistake (as opposed to ill-intent) is NOT the way to go."[31]

Misogynistic Insults Toward Author

In addition to the characterization by some fans of the criticisms of the story in general as dogpiling or bullying, several fans were particularly disturbed by misogynistic insults made in some of the original comments on the story posts and in other places. As amazonziti says in the opening to The J2 Fail Post, cont'd, "I have seen absolutely no proof of any personal attacks on the author since, oh, the first several hours of the community's reaction to her fic."[32]

Some of these comments being referred to contained gendered slurs and a general misogynistic tone. Bossymarmalade posted a screenshot of one such comment that included an immediate rebuke from another commenter.

Bossymarmalade goes on to discuss the general nature of the conversations fans were having that focused on these insults, slurs and attacks:

What's aggravating is seeing so many iterations -- yet again! -- of the tone argument coming up, where people whine that if those hurt by the story were just *nicer* about telling gatorgrrrl where she went wrong (since all of us are a monolith and got the same marching orders and are able to police each other, of course), everything would have been resolved in a lovely Teaching Moment for those hurt and a valuable Learning Experience for those not.

The attention focused on the gendered insults is contrasted with a second screencapped comment thread from the early discussion that begins with one anonymous fan's angry comment containing a gendered insult that includes the line, "'re a thoughtless piece of garbage that thinks dead PoC make for a good white boy sexytiems backdrop...". The anonymous response is, "Well they do."

Bossymarmalade discusses the contrasting tones in the exchange, "Perfectly calm. No explicit gendered insult or wish of violence. Offhand, cool, innocuous even. I wince a bit when I read the angry first example, but it's this second polite one that hits me deep inside."

The comments to the post contain a discussion about balancing the need to "call out" misogyny and sexism without derailing the original conversation. Onelittlesleep says, in referring to a locked post of her own on the topic:

...its NOT actually that misogynistic language doesn't MATTER, it's that it is NOT OK for one slur to take up SO MUCH screentime and so much discussion when there is a LARGER issue at hand. That is derailing! The fact that there is NO LONGER DISCUSSION THREAD on my lj post (which covers a myriad of issues related to this racefail) than the one on the 'cunt' comment is proof, to me, of exactly what I'm saying.[33]

Discussion After Removal

A few fans felt uncomfortable with the removal of the story on the grounds that removing a controversial work from public view often hampers the ability to debate the issues.

"I feel like a lot of people are talking about it without having read it and now the author has taken it down. I'm not 100% good on sharing a fic that the author has removed, but I think if people are going to be discussing it, they should at least have the option of reading it."[34].
"Look, I realize that deleting the fic is effective in making sure that more people aren't hurt by this, but the idea that incriminating evidence should be removed in order to "help the fandom move on" is completely repellent to me. Number one? There are people who were affected who won't be able to "move on" just because the story is gone. Number two? I'm guessing "move on" in this case means "stop arguing about it" which I don't actually want to do. THIS NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT. Unfortunately, that also means that the racist bullshit needs to stay visible, perhaps with massive warnings edited in at the beginning for the protection of new readers, in order to have a discussion about it."[35]

Others pointed out that even flawed works have merit.

It's never easy when you write to find out that people don't like your work. It's another thing altogether when people are calling for your work to be taken down because they don't agree with it. The writer admitted to the mistakes that she made, that she hadn't been thoughtful enough when picking the setting of her story and for the other characters aside from the two mains that were not written as well as they could have been. But that does not mean that her story is of no value or that she should be forced to remove it. I've read numerous fanfictions based in the aftermath (or during) some of the worst events of human history. If I got bent out of joint over every fanfiction set during the Holocaust, I'd never get anything done. Or stories that took place during the American civil war. Or in Japan after the dropping of the atomic bombs. Or the Pacific tsunami. These are all events that have been used as backdrops, not only in fanfiction, but many respected published works as well.[36]

Personal Attacks

Other fans expressed concern over the debate's shift from the merits (or lack of) of the story into discussion of the merits of the author and artist.

"The fact that this was still a fairly recent event I'm sure had an enormous part to do with why people fell so strongly. I can respect that view. And I can respect many of the arguments that the author had not exercised proper consideration for her subject matter. But when they attacks on this author become personal, where she is accused not merely of being a poor writer, but of being a horrible person... those comments step over the line."[37]

Discouraging People From Writing About POC

A frequent argument against calling out racially problematic writing is that is creates a climate of fear, a desire to avoid being seen as "failing" and it runs the risk of reducing the overall amount of literature and art that includes people of color. (See also Race and Fandom for more detailed discussion.)

In counterpoint, one fan did not shy away from this possibility. Nigerian blogger 2-perseph ended her "Open Letter To Gatorgrrrl" with:

Your story, dear gatorgrrrl, is a perfect tribute to pure racial ideals. Almost pathologically so. The only advise I can give you or anyone who feels that in writing people from "another race" they have to go do research, is don't. Don't write it. I'm not talking about researching culture or language. I mean that if you have to imagine "how they must think" or "what it feels like to be them," you're already being weird.

So the purpose of my writing this essay is twofold: One, to show by example what racist ideals look like in application; and two, to disgrace you so badly that the next time you so much as think about another human being whose hair, nose, mouth, "almond eyes" or color of skin is not like yours, you'll hesitate to touch that keyboard.

Because if you end up hesitating, it'll mean, at the very least, that those people are no longer invisible to you. And when they're no longer invisible, it will be very difficult for you to cut and paste whatever caricatures you find in your wanderings and believe that they are beautiful, perfect, and more than enough for the Black, Asian, Latin or any other "non-white" people in your stories. In the meantime, fuck you."[38]

Unintentional Racism

As with other race fail debates, similar counter-arguments and concerns were raised in the J2 Haiti debate as in other debates. One of the more contested issues is whether the author's intent to insult/harm matters? Another expresses worry that the rhetoric of some of the critics holds even unintentional acts of racism equal with the worst hate crimes:

"Suddenly all forms of racism have been put on the same level here--writing an offensive story is just as bad as committing a hate crime? Writing an offensive story is the same thing as colonizing a country? I'm sorry, but this logic is all fucked up. I understand that gatorgrrrl's racism is indicative of a larger institutional problem, and I understand that small incidents of racism and larger cultural oppression are all interrelated, and that you can't necessarily tease all of this out and call any one incident "isolated" ... but come on! Yes. Intention matters. If someone accidentally elbowed me, I'm going to forgive them a lot faster than if they came up and deliberately punched me in the face because I'm [insert my race/ethnicity/gender here]. We have a judicial system that believes that intention matters ... thank God. Thank God! that vehicular homicide isn't the same thing as plotting a murder weeks in advance. If someone calls me a [insert choice of racial slur] and attempts to assault me because I am _____, I'm not going to be so forgiving. I'm going to have them arrested. If someone sees me and assumes that I make less than $30k a year because of my appearance, I'm not going to be thrilled about it, but if they sheepishly aplogize when I correct their assumptions, get all flustered and embarrassed, and look like they want to die a slow white death ... I'm not going to press the matter further--even if the incident is an indicator that, yes, said person has unexamined racist assumptions. Yes, intention matters. Yes, there are degrees of racism. No, no incident of racism, however small, is excusable. But let's not conflate all incidents of racism as equally malicious and hurtful."[39]


This article or section needs expansion.

(See also The Tone Argument)

Final Quote

"This story doesn't actually deserve that bitter, tongue in cheek trademarked name I gave it up above, because it's not unique. It is not unique to J2 fandom, slash fandom, SPN fandom or to fandom in general. It is not an artifact just of fandom, but of the world at large. I don't think it's even a uniquely bad example of the genre it makes up a part of. I do think it is a foreseeable outcome of what happens when white people in wealthy nations choose to selfishly indulge their privilege and passively consume the reality of the rest of humanity as entertainment."[40]

Meta/Further Reading


  1. Kreyòl or Haitian Creole is a language spoken by over twelve million people. Haitian children are routinely taught in Kreyòl and French in schools. Until recently, Kreyòl was officially regarded as a "dialect", and only French was used in schools. Kreyòl-speaking children had to learn to speak, read and write French from a standing start. The fight to allow Kreyòl in schools was a long and arduous one, involving educators of all races. Anyone interested in learning more about Kreyòl and its linguistics may visit Indiana University's Haitian Creole Institute
  2. This is not only a work stereotype, but sexist on top of everything else.
  3. Anyone who has spent his life in Port-au-Prince has had a lot more exposure to American culture than just some old VHS tapes.
  4. "Abraham looked back and forth between them, a quizzical look on his face. “What you talking about?”....Abraham laughed. “You two funny.” Page 84.
  5. Some critics believed that there were no death threats, quoting the Internet adage "Screencaps or it didn't happen." See july_july-july's and lookninjas' comments in *deep breath* post dated June 19, 2010. See also amazonziti's and muccamukk's discussion in The J2 Fail post, cont dated June 21, 2010; WebCite.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 amazonziti, June 14, 2010 *deep breath*, accessed August 9, 2011; WebCite
  2. wendy, June 2, 2010, a word about anonymous comments, accessed August 9, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 This is my personal recollection of how now-deleted posts appeared on June 14, and shortly after. facetofcathy
  4. 4.0 4.1 mementis, June 14, 2010 spn_j2_bigbang art post: Caught Between the Earth and Sky | gatorgrrrl, accessed August 9, 2011
  5. brihana24, June 14, 2010 Comment on the art post in mementis' journal, accessed August 9, 2011
  6. schmevil, June 14, 2011, J2 story set in post-earthquake Haiti, accessed August 9, 2011; WebCite.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 bossymarmalade, June 14, 2011 i thought you were some kind of outer-space potato man, accessed August 9, 2011
  8. WebCite for *deep breath* on Livejournal.
  9. WebCite for The J2 Fail Post, cont'd on Livejournal.
  10. WebCite for *deep breath* on Dreamwidth
  11. WebCite for The J2 Fail Post, cont'd on Dreamwidth.
  12. WebCite for the story Nisay.
  13. la_vie_noire, June 14, 2010 comment in bossymarmalade's journal, accessed August 9, 2011
  14. skywardprodigal, June 14, 2010 comment in bossymarmalade's journal, accessed August 9, 2011
  15. solvent, June 15, 2010 perhaps the most depressing sentence I've read in years, accessed August 9, 2011
  16. anonymous, June 27, 2010 comment on bossymarmalade's journal, accessed August 9, 2011
  17. july_july_july, June 14, 2010 here's the story, morning glory, accessed August 9, 2011; WebCite.
  18. Sixteen Days in September, accessed August 9, 2011; webCite
  19. WebCite for Fanfic as a Vehicle post.
  20. poisontaster, June 15, 2010 But Trust Me On the Sunscreen, accessed August 9, 2011; WebCite.
  21. jazzypom, June 16, 2010 On Nation Language, Gibberish and Why Both Aren't The Same., accessed August 9, 2011' WebCite
  22. penguinparity's comment in schmevil's post J2 story set in post-earthquake Haiti, dated June 15, 2010.
  23. I Love You, but I'm Sad About the Choices You've Made by lookninjas, dated June 23, 2010.
  24. schmevil's J2 story set in post-earthquake Haiti post dated June 14, 2010.
  25. tripoli8's comment july-july-july's here's the story, morning glory post dated June 15, 2010.
  26. july-july-july commenting in her here's the story, morning glory post dated June 15, 2010.]
  27. minim_calibre's comment in july-july-july's here's the story, morning glory post dated June 15, 2010.]
  28. Some Thoughts on Comm and Challenge Rules by muccamukk, dated June 20, 2010; WebCite.
  29. anonymous, June 19, 2010 Comment on amazonziti's journal, accessed August 25, 2011
  30. See bl_nt's and hackthis' comments in in hackthis' post Goddamm that was racist, dated June 16, 2010; WebCite.
  31. shezam's comment in hackthis' post Goddamm that was racist, dated June 16, 2010; WebCite.
  32. amazonziti, June 20, 2010 The J2 Fail Post, cont'd, accessed August 25, 2011
  33. onelittlesleep, June 18, 2010 Comment on bossymarmalade's journal, accessed August 25, 2011
  34. 13chapters comment in *Deep Breath* dated June 17, 2010;WebCite
  35. and the taste of dried up hopes in my mouth by fiercynn dated June 16, 2010; WebCite.
  36. 'Don't get people sometimes (in defence of gatorgrrl) by ravanne dated June 15, 2010; WebCite.
  37. Don't get people sometimes (in defence of gatorgrrl) by ravanne dated June 15, 2010; WebCite.
  38. Open Letter To Gatorgrrrl by 2-perseph, dated June 16, 2010; 2-perseph WebCite.
  39. Anonymous comment in *deep breath* dated June 20, 2010; WebCite
  40. facetofcathy's post How could they? How could anyone? dated June 15, 2010; reference link.