This isn’t going to be a huge update (update: it’s a bit longer than I thought, bc human rights) — it has been A Week — and, in fact, I wasn’t really going to write anything at all, until last night things on Facebook went like this:
The long story made short went like this:
Person in the Reylo Fic Recs group asks why some of their fave fics aren’t going to be finished (author in question is KTF_Reylo, who was recently dragged on social media for previously blowing off BIPOC who pointed out that she’d written a racist trope in one of her stories, and — instead of apologizing and facing up to it — bailed from AO3 and social media).
White women leap into the RFR post comments decrying cancel culture; asking how KTF is “holding up”; lament how authors are held accountable for what they write; boo-hoo how Nancy, one of the RFR group’s admins, also got dragged on Twitter for trying to keep discussions of racism out of a Discord group she modded, etc.
Other people step up to point out 1) the full history of the KTF/Nancy situation; and 2) that Nancy has a lot of members of the RFR group personally blocked on FB (which is itself symptomatic of white women prioritizing our personal feelings/ “politeness” over protecting BIPOC in the fandom).
RFR admins post in response to the original post, stating that they want to keep the group “drama-free.”
Veritable explosion of comments to the RFR admins that confronting racism in fandom is not creating drama; splinter group Reylo Fanfiction Collection forms in response (join us!).
RFR admins backpedal, offer an apology, and state concrete ways they’re looking into fixing their lack of perspective
So, good on the RFR admins for trying to work on seeing things differently — but I’m going to say part of the penultimate point again, because it’s not something that’s exclusive to this situation:
CONFRONTING RACISM IN FANDOM IS NOT CREATING DRAMA.
White people are socially conditioned not to rock the proverbial boat when racist aggressions (micro- or macro-) happen in front of us. That’s how racism survives; because it’s considered impolite to be confrontational.
You know what’s more impolite? Participating in a social system that allows others to be hurt because your sensitive, lily-white feewings matter more than their safety.
How long have women been unwelcome in sci-fantasy fandoms?
We should know better. And we need to do better.
If it sounds tonally like Auntie Els is tilted about this particular issue, it’s because I am. Don’t think I splashed into the world fully aboard the Woke Wagon, either; the process of realizing how my own liberal upbringing was not as liberal as it seemed took a heckn while.
Sure, it was okay for Mom to fast-forward through that ten-second clip in Victor/Victoria while Victoria and King are dancing in a gay club. It made Mom uncomfortable — but she had a gay stepbrother, so she couldn’t possibly be homophobic.
Sure, it made sense to think BET was racist — after all, wouldn’t a channel called White Entertainment Television be racist, too?
Racism, homophobia, misogyny … these things are mind-viruses, twisting the way people see the world. And the biggest faction of racists (for example, since racism is at issue here) aren’t the ones out on the streets screaming down Black Lives Matter protesters. They’re the ones scrolling on by when they see racist microaggressions in their media feeds, maintaining the status quo by not making waves.
And that, my fellow white folks, is the real enemy. That little voice in your head that tells you to look away, keep quiet, hope that this furor dies down and things can go back to how they were Before.
But Before sucked for a lot of people. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was only 55 years ago, yet our society likes to act like everyone’s been able to vote since Murica was founded.
Our freedom-tastic nation was built by literally denying other people their very existence — and we have to confront that original sin. We may not have been the perpetrators, but this is the situation we’ve collectively inherited, and we cannot —we must not— look away, even in seemingly tiny corners of culture like Reylo fanfic.
When you grow up as part of the most powerful demographic in your ecosystem, yes, you are probably going to grow up with some measure of racist concepts in your head. I sure as shit did — and now it’s my lifelong work to strip that crap away as it bubbles to the surface.
I promise you, fellow white women, that being corrected in your writing is not the worst thing to fear. Being corrected means that you have a chance to listen, change, and make things better, one link in the human chain at a time.
As Reylos, we by default adore Rey Niima, a woman who stood up for what mattered, who made good trouble in the name of protecting her friends. We adore Rose Tico, who risked her life in the name of saving what she loved. We adore Enfys Nest, a teenage fighter who led the Cloud-Riders wearing a battle helmet inherited from her mother.
Leia, our own collective spiritual mother, wouldn’t have looked away from racist bullshit. She would’ve taken a stand, even in something as simple as a Facebook post.
You can be polite, but be firm. Confront your own fears to become a better version of yourself. And don’t let our friends suffer as their parents suffered before them.
Long live the Resistance.
CRAVING KYLO | Programmer Rey Jakkusen agrees to become the BDSM submissive of tech titan Kylo Ren — but can she fulfill her contract without losing her heart?
🖤 Chapter 15 | Bark & Bight is live as 17 August 2020
🖤 Chapter 16 | Leaves from a Lonely Vine is coming soon!
DADDY’S KNOT | Omega Rey needs money to make her tuition payment. One night with a faceless Alpha and his twisted tastes promises to change that.
🖤 Chapter 2 | Don’t Make a Sound is live as of 25 August 2020
🖤 Chapter 3 | Say You’re Sorry is live as of 5 September 2020
ALLIANCE | Fiery swordmaster Khthonia Fern teams up with mysterious bounty hunter Raz to rescue a kidnapped princess in a gritty original fantasy romance.
🖤 Chapter 7 | Hidden is live as of 29 August 2020
🖤 Chapter 8| Beyond will be live as of 12 September 2020