OTW Fannews: Minorities in Fandom

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  • PC Mag ran several articles on minorities in fandom from a panel at New York Comic Con. “Representations of Muslims in media have improved as well. Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, who created the sci-fi compilation A Mosque Among the Stars, said that in the past decade ‘Muslims in comics were the quintessential other.’ But this has changed with a French Batman who is an Algerian Muslim, a Green Lantern who is a Lebanese Muslim from Detroit, and other re-imagined characters.”
  • Such panels at major fan cons are seen as critical for raising awareness of troubling issues in fandom. “Jay Justice said, ‘the media doesn’t promote us, so we have to promote ourselves.’ Taking onto Tysk’s comments she pointed out that up to a certain age society seems to have no problem with children dressing up in costumes outside of their race. It’s something we often see, for instance, in elementary school Halloween celebrations. Yet at some point we start facing the ‘why are you, as a non-white person, trying to portray that white character’ questions. Justice asked, ‘at what age are we supposed to start telling children that they can’t play certain characters?'”
  • India.com announced the arrival of a new Indian superhero, Chakra on November 30. His move is the result of a partnership between Cartoon Network, Graphic India and POW! Entertainment. “‘Chakra: The Invincible’ was also selected as part of a handful of third-party content partners soon to be featured on Rovio Entertainment’s new ToonsTV platform – one of the largest global digital platforms for kids in the world with over a billion views already since its launch.”
  • Disputes in media fandoms tend to lean to verbal harassment rather than physically violent extremes. But the problems generally emerge from a failure to understand the other side’s concerns. This can erode formerly good relations between fans and creators, or fans and other fans. “Teen Wolf released a video of actor Dylan O’Brien asking for fans to vote for Teen Wolf in a TV Guide poll… O’Brien joked that if people didn’t vote, they’d kill off the show’s lone surviving gay character, Danny…The joke didn’t seem very funny, particularly when the survival rate for side characters in Teen Wolf is notoriously low for anyone who isn’t a straight, white man.”

What troubling issues have you seen in fandoms? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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