I’ve been trying to think through this kind of canon versus fanon kind of thing, and for the longest time I was a “who needs canon” kind of person. We have our archetypes, we have our narratives, and we’ll run with it. And those are the stories I want, and I don’t care whether they are the same stories I’ve read a hundred times, those are the stories I want. But as those stories themselves, as those characters have changed, I’ve realized that it’s not that simple. That I can go and find versions of queerness, but those versions of queerness in fandom will mostly be white queerness. They’re not going to be brown queerness, they’re not going to be black queerness. And that’s something that I’m going to have to rely on canon to center those characters to the point that they cannot be ignored. And that is very very rare.
We’ve now kind of come to the tipping point where how much primacy can a character of color get and still be marginalized in fandom? And you know, it seems like we’ve come to the end of that rope! I don’t think you could have—this is a question I think that a lot of people have kind of been thinking about at the back of their minds. Surely some text will come along where there’s no other option. And we’ve seen that fandom will make the option and it still won’t be black or brown queerness.
Rukmini Pande, Episode 29 of @fansplaining, “Shipping and Activism.” There are so many things I want to quote from this episode, but this segment in particular was extraordinary in helping me frame my thinking about conflict between fanon, canon, queerness, and race.
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