white eyes and chinese looks: the observation effect in fandom racism
this essay originally looked a lot different. it was originally just about whitewashing in the mo xiang tong xiu fandom. however i’m uncomfortable writing that essay. and not because i’m scared people will be mean to me, or because i don’t know what to say.
the problem is that in mxtx fandom, public incidents of racism are consistently mined for entertainment. and whether or not the white people who enjoy drama sleuthing intend it, turning racism into a spectacle creates a chilling effect on people of color’s ability to talk about racism.
i’m going to talk about this in three parts: first, a case study in racism as entertainment; second, my personal reflections on that event; third, the broader historical-cultural context for talking about china, suffering, and entertainment.