Paraka (paraka) wrote,

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Ok, I promised myself I wouldn't do this, especially since I have yet to get my the_reel stuff in yet, but I kind of have to, because if I don't write it down it's going to continue bugging me, and I've already spent 2 whole days thinking of very little else.

So I'm going to talk about all the wank going on in the SGA fandom at the moment.

Note: For those coming here from metafandom please note that this was written a week ago, when things were a bit more crazy, and less thought out. Also, I fully admit that my argument perpetuates bad writing (or at the very least doesn't encourage *good* writing).

Most people are probably tired of reading it all, and please feel free to pass on by, I'm probably missing the point anyways.

So, I can understand why, as a person of colour or as someone who is particularly aware of such things (I'm not), you’d be upset if people are constantly putting people of colour in the fics you read in lower positions. You may think that it reflects a negative idea that people hold, and really that's your right. And honestly? If you want it to stop, you have to say something, because people won't change what they don't notice.

I've read some people* saying that they're being attacked for speaking up. That it isn't right that they aren't allowed to speak up about what's hurting them because it might hurt others, why should they have to hide/live with their hurt to spare others?
And really, they're right, they don't have to, but getting pissed off, and flaming some newbie? Not helping your case. And yeah, I'm sure this whole thing will have people thinking. In some good ways, and I'm sure in some bad ways as well. It may reach a wider audience than simply leaving polite notes to individual authors would. But also? It makes you look like an asshole.

Also people keep bringing up that people don't write fics about people of colour because they're afraid to. And while I can't speak for authors (I'm not even one myself) I don't think skin colour would ever stop me from either reading a fic, or, say, making a vid about a character. In fact two of my favourite vids in the SG fandoms, that can continually move me to the point of almost tears are about Teal'c and Teyla/Ronon respectively (They sort of touch on the whole race thing, but with Teal'c the vid is more about him being an alien on the all human SG-1 team, and the Teyla/Ronon one was more about being strong).

Maybe people are avoiding writing about them because of the colour of their skin, and put them into minor roles in fic for the same reasons. But really? Honestly? I think the reason people of colour and women from the show are being put into these roles, isn't out of disrespect, it isn't because people are "afraid." And it isn't because they're racist, or think white men should have a higher place in society whether conscious or unconscious.

I think the problem lies in the fact that you're preaching mostly to McShep slash writers!

People aren't going to put their OTP in a crappy position, unless it's part of the plot of their stories, a lot of people do the opposite, putting their OTPs in grandiose positions. Often these fics are all about John and Rodney, only adding other people in where they fit. So you're writing an Earth side AU and want to include the rest of the team? Well you're going to fit them in where you can. Sure you could make Ronon Rodney's business partner, but given their characters, what the hell are they doing? You could make him a co-worker, but, well, they're only co-workers in canon due to some pretty interesting situations. If you're writing something like 'what if the stargate didn't exist' well there are already beloved canon co-workers for Rodney, so why try to jam Ronon into that position?
John fits better with Ronon and Teyla, ebcause really Rodney's kind of the odd man out on the team in many ways. I think Teyla is an easier character to put in an Earth fic, because she's a bit more rounded, and her skills are a bit more transferable, really Ronon is so often portrayed as the run totin' muscle on the show, that it's hard to picture him as, I don't know, an accountant.

And that reminds me of another point that was brought up. "If you try I don't see why you can't give Ronon a reasonable/equal job." And that's very true. I'm one of these people that's willing to be lead. If it were written well, you could totally convince me that Ronon would make an amazing accountant who does origami in his spare time. But! who honestly puts that much thought into a secondary character for an OTP fic?
I'm not going to sit down and write a chapter about Elizabeth's dark secret past, or Lorne's family history, or Zeleka's hobbies, unless it directly affects my OTP storyline. So why should I have to do so just for Ronon because he's not white (because a lot of people have mentioned that they probably wouldn't have batted an eye if he were white)?

Because honestly? I don't really think people go in thinking of Ronon or Teyla as not white. In fact I think they probably would be treated the same way if they were white. If people have trouble fitting them in AUs it's due more to the fact that on the show they're from another planet than because of the colour of their skin.

But on that note, and this may be because I have blinders on, or maybe because I'm reading the wrong (? or more likely right) fics, but I haven't seen this phenomenon. I can think of two fics, and two fics only (well off the top of my head) where Ronon and Teyla have been set apart from the others in a way that could be considered applicable to this debacle.
The first being the cat fic that has gotten so much wank, and I only thought of it because it got so much wank (which I suppose points to the blinders argument, but whatever). Which I don't actually buy. I don't agree that the author turned Ronon and Teyla into cats because they weren't white (although, I don't actually think people are saying that, just that they were taken aback that the only people of colour on the show were the ones turned, and I suppose I can understand that), but I accept the authors statement that she did so because she wanted to include the team, and it was fun. I'm sure that had it been an SG-1 Jack/Daniel fic, she wouldn't have hesitated to turn Sam into a cat.
The second one had Ronon and Teyla abused as children, but it was only mentioned to explain other-worldliness and reserved qualities since they were on earth.

Seriously though, most of the earth AUs I can think of, have Elizabeth and Teyla in high positions. Often as the boss or equal of either John or Rodney. And if they're in a lower position, than they're at a lower position with John and/or Rodney. Ronon, well I can't really think of many examples with him, but when I do he's often either John's best friend or something, or he's a body guard (kind of like on the show).

In the end, because I'm stopping now, even though I hate racism, and want to be against anything that can be perceived as racism, I really can't get behind the arguments people are making on the "you're (unconsciously) racist side because 1. I haven't seen it (I might come back in a month and change that, since I'm sure to be more aware after this, and I suppose that's kind of their whole point) so really can't get behind their frustrations, and 2. I don't really think Ronon and Teyla would be treated any different if they were white.

A lot of what sets them apart from John and Rodney is that they're aliens to us, and people have said they seem more alien to us because of their skin colour, and that may be true, but I've watched 12 1/2 seasons of Stargate, and I've seen white people be able to pull off the alien thing, so really....

I'm going to stop now, and hopefully get on with other things now. If someone really has read this, well, I'm sorry if it was ramble-y.

*I can put up links of anyone actually cares, but I'm assuming no one but myself is actually reading this, so I'm not citing anything unless asked. *shrugs*
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