Read this over at Racialicious. What a very interesting and thought-provoking piece. It is something I can relate to because my kids are somewhat into cosplay. Here is an excerpt:
Once upon a time, I inadvertently started a cosplay race war on Tumblr. Whoops.
So, here’s the deal: I’m a cosplayer. If you don’t already know one of us in person, (and you probably do–we’reeverywhere) you’ve probably seen people like me on the news–all dolled up in a rainbow of face paint and eye-popping wigs, 50 shades of spandex, and skyscraper shoes, for the sake of expressing love for and bringing our favorite characters to life at sci-fi, comic book, video game, and anime conventions.
Since I started cosplaying in 2008, I’ve traveled the country, hitting up as many cons as financially possible, all the while making incredible friends, unforgettable memories, and lugging hard-to-get-through-airport-security props along the way. (Have you ever tried to fly with a dress made out of plastic bubbles? Fun fact: you can’t. But you can ship it to your hotel!)Here’s the second deal: I’m also black. Which is fine by most everyone…until I have the audacity to cosplay a character who isn’t.
After my pictures started making the rounds on deviantArt, Tumblr, and 4chan, it became pretty clear that my cosplay brings all the racists to the yard, and they’re, like, white cosplay is better than yours…
What kills me is that, in person, nobody has the balls to say a word about whether or not they think darker-skinned people should cosplay lighter skinned characters–but online is a completely different animal. Online, I was “Nigger Venus,” and “Sailor Venus Williams” because I am black.
My nose was too wide, lips were too big; I had a “face like a gorilla” and wasn’t suited for such a cute character….because I am black. My wig was too blonde, my wig wasn’t blonde enough, or, my wig was “ghetto” because I was making it “ghetto,” by being black and having it on my head.
And furthermore, if I was going to insist on “ruining characters,” I could have at least picked one with black hair so it looked more “natural.” I should have worn blue contacts–but if I had, it would have looked “ghetto.” Because I am black.
The depths that the insults sink to are enough to scare many interested cosplayers away from even trying. I had an Indian friend who refused to cosplay anything other than Indian characters after watching the way people tore into my costumes online…