Jul. 12th, 2016

gb_lindsey: (tree)
I am posting to apologize for a comment I made during Leviosa's Sunday panel on Adversarial Relationships. In response to the topic of canon HP characters currently being re-imagined as people of color and/or marginalized sexual and gender identities, I attempted, poorly, to discuss the ways this might make fandom experience difficult for individuals who use fandom as a way to set aside the weighty societal issues they face every day. I don't remember the exact wording of what I said and won't attempt to recreate it here, but after extensive soul searching and discussion with a close friend, I realize to my shame that my comments were entitled, naive, insensitive, and inappropriate.

The comment was supposed to be about the fans who don't want to view their fandom activities through the lens of social or political justice, who want to leave all of it outside when they go in, for whatever reason. But it definitely didn't come out that way. Instead it sounded as though I think issues of race, identity, and under-representation don't belong in fandom at all. Issues of discrimination in any form belong in the fandom, full stop. They are already there. People's discomfort with such topics is unimportant because discomfort doesn't dictate what must be acknowledged, and also very important because it is this inherent discomfort that must be addressed. It was not my intention to insult anyone, but that doesn't really matter either: as a white cis woman, I had no place making such a point in this way.

I wanted to discuss the importance of fandom as a safe and enjoyable space, which it is for me, but that really is the kicker, isn't it? As long as discrimination and under-representation are ignored in fandom, it isn't a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. The weighty social discussions keep getting shunted aside. We keep fostering ignorance of the problem.

I love fandom and I want it to be a place people want to be a part of. The re-imagining of canon characters is exciting, and the added bonus is that it brings societal discussion easily into the "safe space" fandom has created, rather than allowing it to continue to be viewed as a threat to the fandom experience. The more fans are exposed to something they fear or distrust, the faster they learn that they don't need to fear it, and the faster we bring it back home into everyone's safe space. Which is where it has always belonged anyway.

I made a mistake, and I'm very sorry for my comments. I'm trying not to shy away from these discussions because avoidance is currently the norm, and I don't think it's a good idea to avoid these topics. This dialogue needs to occur so that a lasting and constructive understanding can also occur.

But obviously I need more practice in how I approach the discussion. So I will continue to work at it. Thank you for your patience with me.

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