these colors are truly happening

A To-Do List for White Fandom

I’ve seen several posts circulating today about racism in multiple fandoms. The arguments and counterpoints I’ve seen are not unexpected. For background: I am writing instructor and I devote a significant portion of my classes to discussions of media representation. Why? Because I realized I was doing everything that these posts talk about: Ignoring characters of color, sidelining them for white villains or sidekicks with far less screen time, ignoring women of color entirely, etc. And all the while, like so many of you, I said, “I’m not racist.” I had in-universe explanations for why I liked this ‘ship over that one, this character more than that. I could defend and explain everything.

Racism is not who you are. It is what you do. And here’s a fact: All white people do racist things. We’ve been trained to, taught to. It’s in our culture, all around us. If you’re white, our culture has allowed most racism to be entirely invisible to us. Racism isn’t just yelled slurs and burning crosses. Often, racism is simply *not caring* about people who aren’t white. Racism is an inability to empathize with or care about the story of someone who is not white.

IF YOU’RE FEELING DEFENSIVE, PLEASE KEEP READING. I beg you. That’s exactly the feeling we have to push through. I’m going to give you a brief list of actions we can take. And I know these are important because I have to do them, all the time. Because the poison is in me, too.

If you truly believe in equality and want to be a better person, then here’s what we, as white fans, have to do:

1. BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE. It absolutely sucks to realize you may have hurt someone, or that you might be wrong. Realizing you’ve done something racist is a stomach-churning reality check. Have the courage to face it. Don’t run from it.

2. INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR WAYS YOU’RE NOT RACIST, LOOK FOR WAYS THAT YOU *ARE*. It’s comforting and tempting to itemize the ways in which we’re open-minded. See #1 again. Don’t let yourself be comfortable. Instead, look for what you do and ways you contribute to fandom racism. Maybe it’s reblogging or creating gif sets that leave out main characters of color. Maybe it’s forgetting to include them in your fanfiction, even when they would rightfully be there. Maybe it’s reducing them to stereotypes or caretakers for white characters. Maybe it’s ‘shipping the white leads with anyone but the POC around them. Maybe it’s accusing POC fans of “starting drama” when they discuss racism. Look at your actions and be honest with yourself.

3. PUT IN THE EFFORT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH POC CHARACTERS. Here’s the thing: It’s easy for us to fall in love with white male heroes and villains. It’s what we’ve been training for all our lives, with every movie, television show, and book we’ve ever enjoyed. Media *encourages* us to love white men. So yes, falling in love with a character of color will be harder, and it probably won’t “just happen.” So, truly look at Finn and Poe, at Cassian Andor and Bodhi. Truly look at Luke Garroway and Magnus Bane, at Luke Cage, at Iris West and James Olsen, at Michonne. Seek out ways to connect with their feelings and their stories. Look at them as full-hearted, three-dimensional human beings. Force yourself to become obsessed with them. If you do this, I would be absolutely shocked if you don’t fall in love with one of them.

4. LISTEN TO POC FANS. Yes, even if they’re angry and call you names. For my research, I spend a lot of time on blogs that talk about hating white people, hating white fans, hating white feminists. The language is furious and vitriolic. So what? They have every right to be angry. Instead of judging their anger, LISTEN to it. Try to be better. Don’t say “not all white fans,” or “not all white people.” Instead, try to be a better white person. Be a better white fan. Be a white fan who is brave enough to look at themselves and truly be an ally. Do not silence POC fans. I promise you: Listen, and you’ll realize they’re not overreacting.

5. REMEMBER THAT “ALLY” IS A VERB. Our thoughts count for nothing. It’s our actions that speak for us. Maybe you’ve read all this and you still want to insist that you’re not racist. Okay. But your actions might be. Challenge the stereotypes that exist in your head, learn to identify them as stereotypes and be willing to hold yourself and other white fans accountable.

6. REPEAT STEPS 1-5 FOREVER. We cannot cure our internalized white supremacy in a weekend. This is a forever gig. But it’s one of the most worthwhile tasks you can ever give yourself. Want to feel like you’re changing the world? Here’s where it starts.

Inevitably there’s more to add to this list. I’m always learning, but I thought it might be useful to share a few of these steps I’ve learned along the way. I love fandom. I believe profoundly in the transformative power of fanfiction, fan creations, and the friendships forged through our shared love of media.

I believe we can become BETTER PEOPLE through fandom. But it will not happen without our willingness to be transformed.

10

riley matthews in every episode ☆ girl meets sneak attack [1x03] 

[grow up] not…yet. 

Ashes. (Johnny and Dally.)

—–
Orange. At the end of Johnny’s lips, once hung a cigarette with a bright orange tip that dimmed when he exhaled. Dally wrapped his calloused hands around a beer bottle lid and tried opening it, but couldn’t. His vision was hazy enough, so he ended up smashing the cap off of the bottle on the edge of a concrete step. Not a good idea on his part, but it worked fine.

The lot’s fence lining was lined with orange flowers. A muted orange color that was almost too dark to see in the night time, but Dallas had seen the flowers so many times, he could tell you exactly what they looked like.

Orange. Not too dark of an orange, but maybe a pumpkin orange or a bright orange. That color had a lot of meaning. More than a measly cigarette tip.

Orange was the color of the shirt Johnny wore when dally met him. Orange was the color of Johnny’s favorite bubble gum. He slowly got to his feet and began walking along the side of the road and looked at the street lamps.

Orange. Not a bright orange. Maybe at one point, but not now. The bulbs were dimmed with dirt and surrounded by moths. He kept waking. Johnny promised to meet him at the lot, but never showed. How stupid. Dallas hiked his coat over his shoulders and kept walking. He often stopped and looked around hoping he’d be there, but he wasn’t. Johnny was the kid who made life a little less terrible. Johnny was the one who made Dally crack a laugh every once in awhile. Yeah sure, he was a pain in the ass, but he was dally’s pain in the ass.

Dally was all about being tough and slick, but when Cade was around, he didn’t feel like he had to keep his reputation up. He could let his walls down. He refuses to admit it, but.. He loves Johnny.

He loved the color of his eyes, the way making Johnny smile could make his whole day better, and the way he made dally feel..well..loved! Nobody else but him could do that. He loved everything about him. He knew he was too good for him. Everything Johnny did was good. He loved Johnny so much, when he was around, Dally nearly forgot what it felt like to not love himself.

“Dally.”

He knew that voice. He could never not recognize it.

“I’m sorry.”

Dally flipped his body around. “Johnny?!” Nothing was there. He kept walking.

“You deserved better.”

Dally shook his head. That’s not true. Johnny was the best damn thing that has ever happened to him.

You’re drunk. He’s not there. You’re imagining it. Keep walking.

“I miss you.”

Shut up. Leave me alone. You’re not here.

“I still love you.”

That’s it. “Shut up!! Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!” He screamed and threw his 5th bottle of beer into the street and let it shatter. Hot tears started streaming down his face. He slid down a street lamp and clutched his knees to his chest. He angrily wiped his face and let a leg fall and propped his elbow on his knee. He sighed and looked up at the orange street light and pulled out a cigarette.

Lighting his bic lighter, he looked at the flame. A simple flame. Small and contained. So much destruction could come from this. It’s orange. That color. That stupid, stupid color that had so much meaning to him. The color of the gum johnny always chewed. The color of the sunset that Johnny forced him to watch. The color of the first flower Johnny ever picked for Dally. The only color that reminded him of his boy.

Orange. The color that looked best on his boy. The color of warmth and happiness.

Orange. The worst color. The color that made him happier than anything of this damn earth, but more depressed than you could ever imagine.

Orange was the only memory he had left of his boy. Orange also happened to be the last color Johnny truly saw.

Orange was the color of Johnny’s destruction.

Orange was the color of Dally’s biggest loss.

His bic lighter had gone out.

That familiar orange flame looked just as orange as the flames that destroyed them both.

Orange was the color of the flames that took his boy away from him.
—–

the idea for this was better than how it came out. this was really shittily written and probably has typos because it was done at 4am and for that I’m sorry, but I’m gonna post it anyways because as shitty as it is, it’s not so shitty where I’m gonna gonna destroy the Internet by posting it.