Navigating a white space as a PoC
This comes after a 7 hour conversation with the lovely Anna @pukingpastilles. Bear in mind that this is drawn from our specific experiences and may not be universal. We hope it resonates with some of you.
Scrolling past this is an act of white privilege.
A lot of people either see race as irrelevant or that we talk about it too much in our ‘post-racial’ age. However, for us, it is our daily reality. We cannot choose to switch off our race, and thus cannot remove the burdens that accompany it. We do not have the ‘luxury’ of ignoring race. Until then, we’re going to keep talking about it. You may want to ‘skip the drama’ but it is a privilege for you to be able to scroll past this. It is our very lives that you are scrolling past. We are attempting to argue for our right to exist in this space. The topic of race is extremely underdiscussed in fandom discourse. Some people either see race as not relevant to fandom or something that they think they’ve sussed because they’re ‘open’, ‘liberal’ or have a PoC friend or something. That’s very different from actively educating yourself on issues that affect us beyond what you see in the news or from history. That’s good, but there’s more. Just because you’re socially liberal does not excuse you from perpetuating the cycle of racism. We have to fight to validly exist, and that is exhausting. Existing is exhausting.
Being a PoC in a predominantly white space is an act of protest as our very existence is politicised.
It can never be just a story of two people, not when we are so burdened. You are never just yourself, race comes first, and you are never not conscious of this. A PoC would be constantly hyperaware of their race because it informs how society treats them in every way. You are always self-conscious about things like not associating with too many people of your own race in case it comes off as threatening or exclusive or discriminatory. You subconsciously make adjustments to blend into the space as much as possible in fear of offending somebody, such as changing your accent or clothes. You feel a constant sense of double alienation. You occupy a liminal space. You are the hyphen in the Asian-American. We are marginalised, Othered. We are never granted full rights to exist independently of a Eurocentric standard.