It’s not enough anymore for people of color and members of the LGBT community to be presented as the Special Guests, or the (x) Friends of the Host, or the Supporting Players. There’s more than enough proof online that our experiences as fans are not automatically divorced from our experiences as members of minority groups, and that there’s many of us looking for more safe spaces in which to discuss them. If some geeks of color don’t want to discuss sensitive topics, that’s fine; that doesn’t mean none of us ever should.
Because while it’s all too easy for people to distance themselves from those racist Hunger Games fans, those viewpoints don’t appear out of thin air, either.
When woman-oriented sites like The Mary Sue don’t report on Issa Rae getting assailed by racist tweeters after winning an industry award, that contributes to the problem. When a sci-fi heavy site like IO9 is content to let Jezebel report on the Games controversy, that contributes to the problem. When Marvel Comics would rather publish stories about the umpteenth version of Dark Avengers than about a group of black Avengers, that contributes to the problem. And when only 11 percent of someone’s YouTube channel talent is made up of people who are not white, that contributes to the problem. Unintentional marginalization is still marginalization.
We are way past the time when Day or Hardwick–or any party wanting to bill itself as a representative of geekdom–can hide behind the explanation that “we couldn’t find anyone” or couldn’t spot content online that might deliver a more inclusive version of geekdom to viewers. Does Hannibal Tabu need to wear Sith t-shirts? What does it say about gaming and that fandom when gamers who aren’t hetero white cis males are made to feel like they should hide their identities? Should the folks at The Border House start podcasting in Klingon to get consideration for a shot in one of these channels?
The near-dogmatic focus on “staying positive”–code for avoiding the topic entirely–does no one any good when it’s just Cheryl Lynn Eaton pointing out that Marvel Comics currently has no black writers while sites like Newsarama and Comic Book Resources keep quiet. That silence, intentional or not, sends the same kind of message to our subcultures as it does to the world at large…
Arturo García may have lost a few friends over this, but he went hard on geekdom’s almost self-perpetuating whiteness on the R today.
Reading his post I was all like…