‘Harshin Ur Squeez’: Visual Rhetorics of Anti-Racist Work in LiveJournal Fandoms [Conference Notes]

by Latoya Peterson

These are the notes for “ ‘Harshin Ur Squeez’: Visual Rhetorics of Anti-Racist Work in LiveJournal Fandoms.” The notes are from a paper by Robin Anne Reid at the Texas A & M University Race and Ethnic Studies Institute’s Symposium exploring Race, Ethnicity and (New) Media.

Reid’s paper is not yet public; however, the summary notes how she approaches the topic:

This presentation is part of a larger project on the written and visual rhetorics of anti-racist work growing out of ongoing conflicts about racism in online LiveJournal media Fandoms. Conflicts include racial and class stereotypes in fan fiction, racial stereotypes in the canon texts of the fandom, racist terminology that embodies histories and etymology not widely known, and, ignorance of a minority culture’s religious practices. I argue that the rhetorics of racisms in feminism and in fandom reflect the larger social rhetorics of race at play in the United States. By making an argument of similarity, I am not saying that fandom is feminist. However, since feminist groups and fan groups share a certain “us against society” mentality, valuing the groups as in part an escape from oppressions of the patriarchal or mundane culture, the attempts by people of color to analyze racisms in both groups have been met with similar responses, the roots of which are based in the need to maintain the comfort of the escape for white community members, that comfort being a privilege which fans of color are denied. later. Additionally, a number of the fans involved in anti-racist work are drawing from theories and practices familiar to me from anti-racist feminist work I know through academic discourses. This presentation focuses on the visual rhetorics of several representative icons.

  • There is the argument that the digital world of the internet represents a kind of freedom, since you can literally be anyone. The idea is that racism, sexism, etc. would not exist online. However, we have since discovered that this is not freedom, just the opportunity to pass as a white male for a while.
  • The refusal of fans of color to pass is the focus of paper.
  • The attempts by PoC to analyze racism in both fandom and feminism have been rebuffed; in both spaces, the view of these places as refuge is a function of privilege to set these issues aside.
  • Author notes how her whiteness impacts her perception and work.
  • Icons are made as a presence or physical representation of the self in online space – in antiracist work, icons are drawn upon to further the cause.
  • Biggest takeaway from the paper: Some people in fandom complain that fen of color are harshing their squee by talking about racism; however, they fail to understand that our squee is harshed by racism.
  • (Image Credits: Fen of Color, United (FOC_U); Laurashapiro and Hsapiens for the icons.)



    A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl, however it has spread rapidly and is now widely spread among the web community.
    Omg!! New Harry Potter book out!! Omg Squee squee! omg!!!


    Unusually or overly cruel, referring either to specific actions or circumstances.
    “So the teacher gave me a 35 in the class.”
    “Man, that’s harsh!” […]


    verb – “to harsh one’s mellow” – interfering with drug buzz, or bothering someone who is stoned. Can also be used for people who are just relaxing.
    “Dude, can you turn off the Montel Williams show? It’s totally harshing my mellow.”

    Harshing one’s squee is equivalent to killing someone’s fan buzz. It’s the “why’d you have to bring that up?” line of questioning that arises when we point out issues (normally skanky race issues) in some created work. – LDP

    About This Blog

    Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

    Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

    The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

    Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

    Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

    Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

    Follow Us on Twitter!

    Support Racialicious

    The Octavia Butler Book Club

    The Octavia Butler Book Club
    (Click the book for the latest conversation)

    Recent Comments

    Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

    Feminism for Real

    Yes Means Yes – Latoya

    Yes Means Yes

    Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

    Youth and Sexual Health


    Online Media Legal Network

    Recent Posts

    Support Racialicious

    Older Archives


    Written by: