I hate when (other white) people treat “not being racist” as if it’s some prize that can be won. It’s not. It’s not something you suddenly get one day, and you’re all clear from racism for the rest of your life. You have to work at trying not to be racist. You have to listen to people of color. The second you say you’re not racist, you’re saying “I’ve done all the work I need to do, and I don’t need to do anymore because I’m not racist!”
But not being racist is something we constantly need to work on, and if you think you’re finished, that’s only further proof that you’re not.
And, as another white THG fan invested in this discussion and constantly trying to learn more and working hard to recognize my privilege and not exercise it and working constantly on Not Being Racist, even if you personally feel you’re not racist and you’re white, you have to keep continually recognizing that our society is racist and the media we consume is a product of a racist society and racist business practices, and the ways that we view, respond, and condone — or condemn! — that media really do matter. If you don’t see yourself as racist but you still find yourself defending racist decisions made in any given piece of media or pop culture, then you aren’t Not Racist. Not really.
Not considering yourself racist, but championing the whitewashing of media, is not not being racist. Not considering yourself racist but arguing that Jennifer must have just been more talented than any WoC actress could possibly be is sure as SHIT not being Not Racist. Saying that you’re not racist and that you don’t support whitewashing and then spending like $100 seeing THG 8 times is not not being racist, because it’s still supporting a racist piece of media that supports racist social ideology. If you don’t want to be racist, then you have to actually try not to be racist and address your own privilege and worldview and the things that we all do and say that are racist or ignorantly propagate racism just by the sheer fact that we’re white in this particular society and we grew up being treated as such.
And I’m not saying to feel bad about being white, because that doesn’t help anyone. But saying that your life has never been affected by that whiteness, and that your opinions and views are not reflections of that treatment, is ignorant. And when you ignore PoC telling you that part of that worldview or society or piece of media is wrong because YOU don’t PERSONALLY see it that way, that is racist. It’s also stubborn, and it’s also pretty fearful. If you are white and you Don’t Want To Be Racist, just… listen.
And not to me, necessarily.
Because I’m white, and my views on racism should not be your barometer of validity. Like, at all. At all. AT ALL. I’m still learning, too, every day! Which… is another thing that bugs me particularly about THG fandom and its discussions on race. Obviously, I’ve benefited hugely from people valuing my opinions, and I’m grateful for that. But it often comes at the expense of people going to the source of posts I’ve reblogged or responded to that were originally written by awesome THG fans of color, and that makes me feel terrible-by-proxy. My agreement — or Dan’s — with a post about racism in THG or THG fandom does NOT suddenly make that post or idea valid, and it makes me angry sometimes that more THG fans are reblogging posts by white fans about racism or race representation than posts that are 10x more eloquent and written by fans who can actually speak from an experience of not having white privilege.
So, tl;dr, but fellow white THG fans, there is a lot of problematic shit that goes on in this fandom insofar as Not Being Racist goes, and we all — all — together — could stand to work harder at it.
(I’m not innocent, either, at all, especially because I was super gung-ho about Armie Hammer 4 Finnick simply because it hadn’t initially occurred to me that my mental image of him needed to match my understanding of D4 being in Mexico and Finnick likely being at least mixed-heritage Latino. I am totally not trying to talk over or for or out at anyone, because like I said: I am white, and grew up white in the United States, and no matter how much I research and listen and study and learn, I cannot un-benefit from that privilege, and sometimes, it makes me fuck up. And that’s not okay, but I can keep trying to fix it.)