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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fandom's Hatred of Black Female Characters

This is something that's bothered me for a while and Racialicious has finally addressed the topic. The venom is almost palpable when it comes to certain characters, especially Tara from True Blood. You can't tell me there's not something going on other than just irritation for a character or storyline. The vitrolic rhetoric sometimes rises to presumed hatred which leads me to suspect racial animosity.

Below is the comment I wrote to the post (as of this posting my comment was still in moderation and had not shown up):

I'm glad to see this topic as the primary focus of a post and not ancillary to other topics. And yes, it's particularly troubling to me. (BTW, you forgot to mention Bonnie of The Vampire Diaries.) I note that one common nexus to the examples offered above is that all of these characters tend to be involved in I/R relationships.

I've seen the venom that is way over the top in the fandom realm and I assume (rightly or not) that many of the fanbase with particularly insignificant pet peeves actually harbor racist sentiments. What's intriguing is that when it's suggested that racism is behind the level of venom, there's a general hue and cry of "I'm not racist." The "fan" will offer that she (and it's often a she) just doesn't like the character or as indicated she doesn't like the way the character is portrayed by the actress. However, when white characters are disliked, it seems to never reach the vitriolic levels as with black characters. I've seen posts by fans (presumably white) who offered to kill Tara themselves for just the smallest infraction. And I mean a heinous death at that. Just read the glee that followed the apparent murder of Tara.

The main issue is that the more progressive assume that only progressives like the same shows. I would offer that probably those who would be comfortable in an aryan nation meeting also watch these same shows and verbalize their sentiments more covertly. After all, it wouldn't do for them to just come out and say "I hate that negress" especially if she's paired with a white male. For the uninformed, just read blogs centered on I/R relationships. The anecdotes alone will give you a clue as to why you see certain sentiments expressed against black characters/actors involved in onscreen I/R relationships.

The main gist (and this is my assumption) is that black women aren't to be shown as viable and sexual competition to mainstream women (esp if the mainstream woman is the main protagonist). I have to be upfront and say that as an author of I/R fiction I've run across sentiments on boards for romance and erotica indicate that they will never purchase a book with a black woman as the heroine b/c "they just can't relate" and it was once suggested on a board that the reader sees these types of pairings as something along the line of a vampire/human or werewolf/human pairing. In other words, not "normal."

So it isn't a stretch to see the same sentiment expressed on fan boards of shows where a black woman is shown as more than just a sassy best friend, a magical Negro or some sort of mammy figure. And lord help her if she's actually sexually attractive.

In other words, we as black women are still seen as the "mules of the world" and if we show our femininity, our attractiveness, our intelligence and our basic humanity, we're lambasted for presuming to be "equal" with other races of women.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 10/18/2011 09:43:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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