In case you missed the memo, fandom is not a safe place, especially for BIPOC fans.
It’s something that we Asian fans have been keenly aware of since our engagement online. It’s something that has been documented by scholars. In the last week, as different organisations respond to justice and equality, the Organisation for Transformative Works also made an effort to address racism in fandom. Of course, there are people who felt these promises are empty as there is no promise of structural change that supports BIPOC fans.
This recent drama has left my friends and me in a tiff, as we have been enraged as fans over the years. The ways in which Western ideas, practices, and morals are shoved down our throats has left a bitter taste in our fan experiences that, more often than not, we disengage with fandoms popular in the West or we seek for circles that understand our contexts. For a space that claims to be “our” own, this should not be the case and yet this displacement continues and it impacts the way we express our fandom.
Here are links to some of the articles and discussions I mentioned here and others that may also reflect the cultural tensions we face in fandom.
- Stichomancery’s article on What Racism Looks Like in Fandom.
- Dr. Bertha Chin and Dr. Lori Morimoto’s call Towards a Transcultural Fandom
- Dr. Lori Morimoto’s petition to OTW do do better.
- Dr. Rukmini Pande and her thoughts on racism in Fandom
- My work with Dr. Febriani Sihombing on manga’s cultural tensions in Indonesia and the Philippines (If any of you are interested in reading this, leave a comment below)
Fujojocast No. 14: When Asian Fans Socially Distance because of Cultural Tensions in Fandom