Right, and now some thoughts on the actual content of Admitting Impediments: Post-WisCon Posts, Part I, or, That Post I Never Made About RaceFail '09
and other related conversations, based largely on comments I left there and on my post Two Fandoms both alike in dignity..
. Since her terminology means something different in the context of local fandom I'm going to use "fanfic" and "old school" instead of her "media" and "book". They're still wrong, of course, but in a different way :)
Paradoxically, I think the fact that she has a point and tries to express it in an inclusive way has helped crystalise for me some of the ways fanfic meta tends to be seriously flawed and uninclusive. Normally I just roll my eyes and go "Yeah, yeah, more smug fanfic meta" and scroll by, but I don't let myself scroll by racism meta that makes me uncomfortable, so I really poked at my reactions (I REALLY hope I haven't ended up being all white person defensive about race in this post, but am open to the possibility that I may be). This post is more about the general arguments I have seen than any one post.
I'm not going to argue that fanfic fandom doesn't deal better with race, because afaict FOC (non-white fans) think it does and their opinion is the only one that counts. And given that this is the case, I think old school fandom should try and learn from fanfic fandom's example (see bottom of post).
But I'm sick of so many conversations being framed as "Why my form of fandom is Better and the True Form Of Fandom", so that even when it's true
(in at least one respect) it's hard to engage with an open mind. I wrote up my general annoyance in What annoys me about fanfic meta
. ( Read more... )
And some ways similar ideas will benefit those outside old school fandom (separated out because this is not
the same as fighting racism):
- Be more open in general and acknowledge that not only has fandom changed, but that parts of fandom have been excluded for years. There needs to be a multiplicity of voices in fandom: fans of anime, fanfic, roleplaying, comics and webcomics, as well as people who interact online or in other places beyond Proper Cons. See these people as Real Fans, and take their opinions on fandom as seriously as anyone else's.
- Accept change. You personally do not have to start liking fanfic etc, but accept that other people have other tastes, and if the overall taste of fandom changes (which it has before, is now, and will again) then fandom and conventions (especially "comprehensive" ones like Wiscon or Worldcon or Natcon) need to change to respect that (luckily, by my first point, it should still make space for your tastes too, even if they end up being a minority)
What we should NOT do is dismiss this all as "Some bunch of (American) fanfic writers complaining about nothing". Because fanfic writers are fans too, and because regardless of what social group they're in, when POC complain about racism and the only people who think it's not a big deal are white people, it's time to take a good hard look at yourself. And because there are FOC in "old school" fandom (including in Australia) and always have been, and because we are human beings in an unjust world and it's the right thing to do.
(nb comments screened since I used all the spoons I might use to answer comments to this post writing it! Will get to comments eventually. I will NOT leave anything which follows my commenting rules screened, even if it says I'm an idiot or whatever, I just want to make sure I'm in a state to deal with anything problematic before other people have to)