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Racism Within Comic Book Fandoms...AKA White Rabid Fan Girls Hating Black Love Interests...

I’m not really a fan of comic books, but I do enjoy the genre when various comic book adaptations end up on TV. Well with the exception of that fucking awful Iron Fist, I mean, who the fuck thought it was a good idea having The Mortal Iron Fist being played by the whitest white man you’ll ever come across, I mean the guy couldn’t even fucking… you know what, this isn’t about that shit show. Ahem.  Moving on.

Anyway, as I was saying, I really enjoy watching comic book TV shows – well, as long as they have black people on them that is. Gone are the days when I watch TV that doesn’t have proper representation. With very few exceptions, I’m no longer watching TV that don’t include POCs in meaningful roles.  As I declared on Twitter, I’m rooting for everybody black these days. Shout out to Issa Rae

Anyway, I was sent a link to a series of opinion pieces, written by a British blogger called Vivian. The basis of these blog posts were  about the rampant racism within the comic fandom community, especially the racism as it pertains to the first and only black leading lady on a DCTV show. Iris West, or Iris West-Allen as she’s known these days, something that apparently drives the white RFGs who watch the show, batty as fuck. Heh.

The first post was entitled Not Just an OTP: An Ugly Truth and a Confession, and honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve read in a while.

The disclaimers at the beginning of the blog post made me laugh out loud: Here’s a couple of examples:

2) This second half is about racism, written by a Black woman. I talk about white people. I talk about white women. I talk about white supremacy. I talk about racism, sexism, and misogyny. I talk about the elitism and entitlement of nerd fandom. I talk about the presence and weaponization of white femininity. I talk about racial hierarchies within fandom. I talk about misogynoir. I talk about police brutality. I talk about Taylor Swift, Maria Sharapova, and Miley Cyrus. If any of these topics cause you pain, do not read any further. If any of these topics cause you anger, do not read any further. If any of these topics prompt you to use the words/phrases tumblrina, SJW, special snowflake, race-baiter, race card, libtard, “you’re the REAL racist,” or anything similar, do not read any further.

7) Also, if you happen to be, say, a white woman, and you don’t do one of the things that I say white women do, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking specifically about the white women who do those things. Seeing as I don’t have enough words, consider this my blanket “not all men/white women/people who hate X character for whatever reason are Y.”

Lol, yeah, and anybody who wanders onto this blog by accident, that goes for you too.

Vivian writes:

We finally came to look at subtext, and how what writers weave underneath their explicit storytelling can lead people to see potential for romantic relationships. However, it’s at this point that the similarities between Olicity and Snowbarry stop. Because when it comes to Subtext, Olicity shippers use what’s going on in the show to justify their shipping, while Snowbarry shippers are notorious for either misinterpreting what happens or making up scenarios to support what they want to happen. Because they want to ship Barry with Caitlin, they use any excuse to say that they’re in love. One of the reasons they do this is because they don’t like Iris. And one of the reasons they don’t like her is because she’s Black.

I’m not racist, you sigh deeply, already penning a four-thousand-word paper in your defence, I just don’t like Iris. She’s a badly-written character. She has no chemistry with Barry. She’s a bitch. She’s not a scientist. She doesn’t belong in STAR Labs. It’s not racism. It has nothing to do with her skin colour. I wouldn’t like her if she were green with purple polka dots.

The part about not being a scientist struck me hard. There’s a certain kind of snobbery that exists within these fandoms when it comes to which women are acceptable and which aren’t when it comes to comics, and some of the assholes who consume them. So basically Iris being black and not a scientist/action woman means that the racists would be out in their droves. And the fact that the titular hero loves her? Ha, those heifers would be in their feelings forever, because they just can’t imagine the main love interest being somebody who does not look like them. Apparently they find it easier to identify with a blue-skinned alien woman, than with a black skinned human one. Go figure. That racism shit is deep, man.

Vivian continues:

As you may have noticed, I’m Black and a woman, so all of these arguments are old news to me. I’ve always been morbidly fascinated with the reaction of fans who are called racist for not liking Iris. There’s generally fervent denial, first of all. Most of the time they’ll respond with what I just wrote, followed by how they like Cisco, or Joe, or Wally. Which is my first problem with fandom’s definition of racism. You see, when someone hears “you’re racist,” they tend to assume the accuser thinks they descend into ferocious fits of uncontrollable rage whenever a person who is visibly non-white dares to be onscreen. And that think that because they don’t, they can’t be racist and so their reasons are perfectly valid.

This, to be quite frank, is bullshit.

It’s always fascinated me how blind white people, and some non-black POCs are about their mostly obvious racism. I mean, it’s 2018 for fuck’s sake, and I still hear white people say shit like “I can’t possibly be racist, I like *insert another POC character who doesn’t affect their worldview*. Of course they like Joe or Wally – those characters don’t upset their standing in quite the same way that Iris does. They aren’t trying to imagine those characters or the actors themselves shagging them. So many of the female fans of The Flash are here because they find Grant Gustin hot, (listen, each to their own, but man Grant Gustin is as average a white man as you can get, so I just can’t relate) and they want to imagine themselves in place of the *usually generic white woman who ends up playing the love interest*. Iris being black affects that. They don’t look like her, and they just can’t fathom that this character that they lust after, is madly in love with the brown/black girl.

Vivian continues:

When people say “Snowbarry shippers are racist,” shippers take this to mean “Snowbarry shippers hate Iris and don’t ship Westallen because Iris is Black, and they hate Black people.” What they actually mean is “Snowbarry shippers don’t like Iris and don’t ship Westallen because Iris occupies a position normally reserved for white women. Iris does not adhere to the stereotypical portrayal of Black women in entertainment, so they are uncomfortable because they can’t point to stereotypes to deem her unworthy – though they still try. Moreover, because of the lack of Black women as leads, they find it harder to identify with her, latching onto the nearest white woman instead.

So much this. I remember watching Merlin, and scratching my head at the sheer number of fans who shipped Arthur and Morgana, despite firstly, there being no suggestion that Arthur was ever into her like that, and secondly, their familial ties to each other. I guarantee that those people who bitch and moan about West Allen being incesty, (despite the fact that canon has Barry being in love with his non-related friend Iris, before he ever moved in with them) are the same fucking moronic assholes who shipped Arthur and Morgana, and even more recent, I bet they’re the same wankers who think that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are the ship to end all ships. You know I’m right.

I watched the latest episode of The Flash last night, and there was a white female meta character who Barry and his team had captured in the season four opener. I forget her name, but she was the only character out of all the metas who empathized with Barry, and I know as sure as I’ve ever known anything in my life, that those racist Flash fans would have been running all over the internet proclaiming that Barry had more chemistry with her than he had with Iris. I know I’m right, because a lot of white people are predictable as fuck.

These fans are not racist because they don’t like Iris for being Black; they are racist because their actions towards her and discourse about her show that they are opposed to the position that she as a Black woman is occupying. Their ingrained bias means she’s held to a higher standard, they do not allow her to have feelings, they think she is unworthy of the love of a lead character, and they would rather she be demoted in place of the white woman on the show.”

Sleepy Hollow’s Abby Mills anybody?

But I’m not racist, you cry, missing the point entirely. Racism is not a part-time occupation that you grow out of just because you’ve watched all of Fresh Prince. If you grew up in a society where Black people are subject to harsher rules than their white counterparts, where most of the leads on network television are white with “diversity” roughly translating to one white woman and one Black man, where Black people on science fiction/fantasy shows are usually the first to be sacrificed – you are capable of racist behaviours.

I want to throw up an A-fucking-men gif right about now.

But I’m a person of colour, you point out, naively assuming that there are get of jail free cards for being racist, I can’t be racist! While I do congratulate you on your status as a person of colour, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be racist. In fact, you can be just as racist as white people, you just lack their power. Because when you are a non-Black PoC, chances are that you recognise that Black people are at the bottom of hierarchy and you are somewhere in the middle. Thanks to white supremacy, you know that you can tear down Black people in order to elevate yourself. The attitude of white people to this – thanks to a mixture of the history of slavery, colourism, and classism – pretty much boils down to “at least they’re not Black.” It’s why some fans pretend to love Linda Park (played by Malese Jow, who is half Chinese American and part Cherokee) but never actually talk about her. They would prefer Barry to be with a white girl, but hey, at least she’s not Iris. It’s why much of the racism Iris receives is from the Latin American and Asian portions of the fandom, where anti-Black racism is rampant. The racism she receives is anti-Black, which means that it is, you guessed it, exclusive to Black people. And society is rather good at being racist to Black people.

Listen….back when I used to watch Merlin, the one time I went looking for spoilers, I happened to wander into a cesspool full of hateful Merlin fans, I noticed that there were quite a few Brazilian/Portuguese rabids on there who were writing the most dreadful things about Angel Coulby. One of them even called her an ugly gorilla who needed to die. I was so shocked. That shit hurt my soul, because I just automatically assumed that these people would be rooting for the black woman and the black character, but nope, some of these motherfuckers are more racist than your average white person.

Vivian goes on to post various screencaps of the abuse that Candice Patton has received, as well as the comments made by racist fans about Iris West. Check some of them out:

The terrible thing is, this isn’t even the really bad stuff. This is pretty harmless in comparison with what comes later.

Anyway, it’s a terrific, insightful piece of writing, so I urge you to pop on over and have a read of the whole thing.

I will be posting the second part of Vivian’s opinion piece shortly.

Because they are white.

I keep seeing this ridiculous headline:

Why are “Oath Keepers” allowed to be armed in the middle of Ferguson protests?

The article goes on and on about how they are “exercising their rights” and about gun laws, and other related bullshit, but the reality is that these assholes can roam the streets of Ferguson, armed with fucking assault rifles, because they are white.


Batshit crazy racists, or merely seekers of truth and justice and upholders of the American way?

You guys know what I think…

This was in response to an interviewer asking him if he’d ever dated black women.

Here’s an excerpt from the report over at Salon: (I got the link via Monica Jackson’s blog) (more…)

The following comment was left on a blog post (by somebody calling himself Barack Hussein Obama Sadaam) that I wrote a while ago, questioning whether or not racism in America had increased since Obama became president:

“I think that racism is increasing.

Minorities act like they want us to be racist to them.

Obama supports the NBA, which has some of the worst (dangerous) black people in the world.

Black leaders, such as NBA superstars, need to lead by example if blacks want racism to go away. I do not think blacks want racism to go away though.

Solution: Have all newborn black babies be adopted by intelligent white people. This will get rid of their terrible language of ebonics along with helping them succeed in life.”

This was my response: (more…)


I read about this little boy over at Angry Black Bitch’s blog. It depressed me no end.

Whenever I hear about children who have gone missing, I can’t even begin to describe the anguish that overtakes me, and when I hear that the stories aren’t important enough to warrant front page spots in the local rag, I hate the press just a little bit more.
Apparently Hassani Campbell has been missing since Monday, but with the exception of Nancy Grace – God bless her right-wing soul – apparently there hasn’t been much interest in the case.

ABB ponders the vagaries of a media that doesn’t seem overly interested when black children go missing. (more…)

By now many readers have heard about the McCain/Palin volunteer who claimed to have been attacked by a black man who purportedly wanted to punish her for not supporting Obama/Biden.

Looking at the photographs, which show a mirror image “B” superficially scratched on her cheek, it is so very easy to see that she lied, that the news about it left me cold.

Still, in the time between her claims breaking the news and the truth coming out, much damage was done to racial relations in the US.

And there is little doubt that there are people who will believe the invented attack actually happened–facts be damned–and that the ‘retraction’ was forced on the *cough* poor innocent victim *cough* by those horrid liberal dogs.

In response to that incident and the attendant racist overtones of the coverage (both ways), my recent crush, Keith Olbermann, had this to say:

And he is so right about the precariousness of racial peace and acceptance, and about how having a black candidate has brought to the surface underlying tensions and fears that many otherwise decent people don’t want to acknowledge, even to themselves.

Because this is not an isolated incident. There is a deeply rooted attitude of racism in the US, and while many–if not all–minorities face discrimination, active or passive, it is also true that it is most often evident towards blacks.

Witness, for example, the disparity in the following sentences for juvenile offenders, one white and the other black (taken from the Dallas Morning News, but available pretty much verbatim from several other sources online; bolding is mine)

With a population of 26,000, Paris is 73 percent white and 22 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A monument to the Confederacy dominates the front lawn of the recently remodeled Lamar County Courthouse, from which a mob seized two black brothers and killed them in 1920. That was the last of at least half a dozen lynchings in the county.

“You can’t talk about Paris without mentioning the lynchings,” said William Harris, the county’s first assistant district attorney.

Two years ago, Shaquanda Cotton was the talk of the town. Paris found itself in the national media spotlight when the black teenager was sent to a Texas Youth Commission lockup for pushing a teacher’s aide. Months earlier, the same judge gave a white teen probation for burning her family’s house down.

“That was a wake-up call,” said Pike Burkhart, who is white and president of the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce. We don’t perceive ourselves as a racially divided community. We want to make sure we have more dialogue between our black and white communities.”

Ms. Cotton spent a year in a juvenile lockup and was freed after protests alleging racial bias. Still, authorities insist they followed the law.

“We did nothing wrong,” said district attorney spokesman Allan Hubbard.

Yet, you may notice that the identity of the then minor black girl has been published while the privacy of the white teen is preserved.

On the other side of the coin, we have several groups (from the New Black Panthers to member of the Nation of Islam) trying to twist what appears to be a murder committed under the influence of alcohol, into a racially motivated crime (from the same article quoted and linked above):

Motorists found Brandon Demon “Big Boy” McClelland’s mangled body early Sept. 16 in northeast Lamar County, near a curve in a two-lane county road. Authorities first suspected the 24-year-old was the victim of a hit and run, killed by a speeding lumber truck.

But suspicions soon turned to the victim’s white drinking buddies: Shannon Keith Finley and Charles Ryan Crostley. Witnesses told police that the men admitted running down Mr. McClelland after an argument. Both suspects maintain their innocence.

What is there to gain by insisting that people focus on their differences more than on what makes them the same?

Will we–humanity–ever be able to ignore color of skin, political leanings, religious beliefs, and simply remember that we all bleed the same, we all love the same, we all die the same?

Some days it feels like there  has been no progress at all in that direction. Other times it feels we are walking backwards.

edited to add: well, of course, I should have known–turns out we have people hanging the other candidate from trees and house eaves. Gee, so not surprised.

This guy spoke so much sense.

My favourite line?

“I don’t care what you are, I care about what you did”

Thanks to You-Know-Who for the link.

Are racism, cultural bias, personal prejudice, and/or life experience coloring our reading preferences?

Following on the racism discussions, I want to share something that I’ve been pondering for the longest time.

See, I have realized that I tend to avoid books wherein any of the main characters are Latino, particularly Mexican. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I can’t buy the cultural makeup the writer is laying down for those characters. More than once I’ve been overheard saying, “Cojones, dammit, not cajones!!!” or “hispanos are human beings, not a different species!”

Which is funny, because what I sometimes take to be stereotypical representation may in reality come from the author’s life expereince. Case in point: Karen Templeton’s character Félix in Baby I’m Yours. I had trouble with him because I thought he was a stereotypical Latino man based on things like George López or what have you. Turns out Ms Templeton based Félix on a number of actual people she knows in New Mexico where she lives.


So am I being racist in reverse? Am I actually assuming—with all the attendant asshattery—that no one can properly write Mexican or Latino characters that I can relate to?

And what about the fact that I won’t touch inspirational or self help books no matter what? Am I being a close-minded, biased, prejudiced so-and-so?

Or perhaps I simply know myself well, and know that if I do crack one of those open I’ll spend the time grumbling—if not flat out cursing—in annoyance?

AztecLady sent me the link to this statement, written by a lady called Mildred Loving. It moved me beyond words.

I’ve posted the statement in its entirety, since I know how allergic to clicking on links some of you guys are:

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving*

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

It’s unimaginable to me that once upon a time, you could get thrown in jail for marrying somebody with a different skin tone to yourself. We still have a ways to go, but I do think we have come a long way from those very dark days.

I watched a Panorama documentary the evening before last, about Barack Obama’s attempt at becoming the first black US president. Well, I say black, but actually he’s mixed race. The unfortunate thing for him though, is that people will still see him as black.

He comes across as a charming, articulate and most of all, conscientious man. A man who cares. All perfectly good attributes to have in a potential president, but I’m pretty sure it wont be enough to win over the majority of white America.

A political psychologist had this to say about Obama, and I found it quite interesting:

I couldn’t help but think that this stereotype of the “dangerous, dark skinned black male” could also be one of the reasons why the black hero isn’t popular amongst white romance readers. Sorry, I digress…

Apparently, no American president has ever won the election, without getting the Louisiana vote, (erm, or something like that) so the documentary makers went to America’s deep south to see what the people there thought of Obama. The reception was not great. The blacks didn’t know what to make of him, and the whites seemed to be saying hell no. I think one of the people they interviewed actually called him Barack Osama. (Although the guy in question was sporting a shaven head, built like a brick sh*thouse, tattoos everywhere, and looked like he hadn’t washed in quite a while though, so I’m not sure he was ever gonna say anything positive about Obama. Judgmental? Moi? Never in a month of puffs.)

They also interviewed a black Louisianan (is that right?) woman, and she said her vote was going to Hillary.

The documentary makers also visited Jena, in light of Obama’s emphasis on a United America, rather than a black/white America. There was a lot made of the fact that he didn’t attend a rally organised by black campaigners, who were protesting against the imprisonment of The Jena Six. A black man trying to run a race-neutral presidential campaign can’t afford to be seen rallying with other black folks, unfortunately.

Jesse Jackson was there of course, and gave his thoughts on Obama’s style of campaigning. He wasn’t particularly complimentary, and seemed to contradict himself somewhat. Nothing new there.

Obama was described as a man before his time, and others lamented that America had not yet reached the stage, where a black man could run for presidency, and have a realistic shot at winning it. A sentiment shared by a cyber pal who I spoke to recently.

I liked Obama, I really did. I mean what’s not to like? He’s handsome, (don’t tell me that doesn’t make a difference to somebody somewhere) he’s well turned out, and he knows how to give a rousing speech. He struck me as somebody I could sit down with, and have a really good chin-wag.

The problem for Obama as far as I can tell though, seems to be that the black folks think he’s not black enough, and the white folks think he’s too black. Poor sod, he’s got no effing chance. Maybe in a hundred years time he may have had a shot.

Oh by the way, they interviewed a woman from the deep south, who was clearly way below the poverty line, and initially, I felt a great deal of sympathy for her, (as any decent person would) until the documentary makers revealed that she was a single woman who had eight kids. My sympathy died on the spot.

You know what, if you know you can’t afford to feed your kids, then it would have been a good idea to either go on the pill, or make sure you use an effing condom. Or even better, keep your effing legs closed. Having eight kids when you have no way of looking after them, is beyond selfish and irresponsible. Why couldn’t she at least stop at four?