Tag Archives: Fen of Color

‘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

    Unfinished Business: The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.12

    Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


    You didn’t think we’d forgotten, did you?

    Actually, this is the perfect time to revisit Heroes, since Monday marked the efforts of Fens Of Color United, an effort to bring to light sci-fi’s continuing struggle with positive POC characters. (Props to Roundtable member Erica for the tip.) Here’s more about it from The Angry Black Woman:

    As RaceFail 09[*] continues, it has become clear that there are those who are hellbent on marginalizing and silencing people of color. In the past few months, minorities have been denigrated by bigoted authors and publishers who have also asserted that Fen of Color are rare and pratically non-existent. Despite numerous discussions and attempts to enlighten on the fact that POCs are fans, writers, artists and just as integral to this genre as our white counterparts, we are continuously dismissed.

    On Monday May 18, 2009, we are asking anyone who identifies as a POC/non-white to post this banner, their speculative short stories, artwork, poetry or simply write a post on their favorite fandom on their blogs as an act of protest to show we will not be silent or invisible. The day of protest is entitled Fen Of Color United or more aptly, FOC_U.

    White allies can also show solidarity for this event by posting this banner and expressing the need for diversity and speaking out against the bigotry in the genre, through posts and/or their creative work as well.

    With that in mind, we join our Friendly Neighbourhood Roundtable’s season-ending chat, already in progress …

    Diana: Oooh, I hate the stanky leg
    Andrea: speaking of stanky … shall we talk Heroes?
    erica: nice tie-in
    arturo: brilliant segue!
    jen*: sho nuff
    Diana: ok
    mahsino: if we must
    Andrea: i try, y’all. i try.

    arturo: Well, let’s start at the beginning: what’d everybody think of the ep?
    erica: bleah
    Diana: C-
    Andrea: zzzzzzzz.
    erica: D+
    mahsino: i’ve become so acclimated to the bad, i just don’t know anymore
    jen*: i’m just mad about fake Nate.
    arturo: how come?
    Andrea: i feel you, jen. Go first.
    erica: I was mad that they got my hopes up by actually stabbing him dead … and then couldn’t leave him dead for more than five minutes.
    mahsino: that was frustrating
    jen*: I hoped so long. It was my great wish for the finale.
    arturo: but Nate *is* dead
    mahsino: called it
    arturo: yes you did

    sylar_and_nathanerica: The logic for resurrecting Sylar into Nathan was pretty weak.
    Diana: That was a weird story twist. Does that mean we won’t see Quinto anymore?
    arturo: depends; when does Star Trek 2 start filming? ha
    erica: it hasn’t started filming yet?
    Andrea: well, according to Entertainment Weekly he’s in the franchise for 2 more films.
    mahsino: and yet they had the foresight to plan for his replacement
    jen*: yes – but bewitching Sy for this – eh. It’s so obviously his Trek-out.
    arturo: actually, E! reported that we *will* see Sylar next year — kind of a Fight Club thing, if you saw that flick
    Diana: He can do both. Really he’s one of the few I like to see.
    Andrea: I have to disagree, Diana. He bores me.
    Diana: So they are going to do a dual personality thingy?
    arturo: I imagine so — Sylar struggling to reclaim dominance and such.
    mahsino: They’ve overworked Sylar
    erica: I like to see Sylar in moderation.
    Andrea: And Sylar’s gonna ooze out of Nathan. Already the man’s changing clocks.
    Diana: I like it when he is really bad. They wasted time changing his personality.
    arturo: Erica, I must say, I bought Noah’s rationale — if Sylar became a news story, metahumans would definitely be in the crosshairs. Continue reading