This is from Aetherwears, 12+ years in the fandom:
Up until very recently I was kind of dealing with all of this with a trauma response, where I wasn’t sure how to call out the poor behaviors directed at me. I tend to stay quiet, and when I did explain how something affected me, I was basically written off as another black woman using the “race card”. I’ve also been a part of chats where the admin team was showing some pretty racist behavior, saying he was intimidated of my people because he’s seen aggression in high school (none of this aimed at him ??). When he continued with his speech, I think more people took back what they said, but I was still made to feel like my existence and contribution to the chat was welcomed. Eventually, due to a ton of reasons, I left the chat. I felt I couldn’t really express the truth about the chat. That I was disappointed in people just pretending it never happening and letting that situation go under the rug as if it never happened.
I’ve witnessed a couple of my POC friends, specifically one friend in particular, be the brunt of many black jokes. I stood up for him, and I guess they just resorted to saying them in secret. It burned me up in side. He’s also a part of the fandom, and is an extremely chill and relaxed guy.
I think the common issue I’ve noticed and also experienced is the times I gathered the courage to speak up, knowing it was going to get throw in my face, it ultimately was thrown in my face, leaving a lasting bitter taste in my mouth. I felt they were trying to shut me down, not really understand where I was coming from, and only focused on wanting the situation to be forgotten about (without an apology) due to their own guilt. They see it as getting yelled at for no reason, essentially.
I’ve also experienced people coming to me talking about pretty racist and political things I don’t agree with on the assumption that I wasn’t black and would agree with them. It often turns into a pretty awkward situation where I listen to them and simply say back “I don’t think we’re going to agree on that. I’m black and that sounds really awful :O” Usually they don’t get aggressive with me, but they do back peddle pretty hard. Lol It’s sometimes pretty wild. I’d like to think they know what they’re doing because I’m very obviously mixed.
From a business perspective, I’ve had people become aggressive with me while vending. I’m generally a pretty chill person, and most would say I’m a gentle giant. I’ve also had a very small handful of folks ask to meet up with me at cons with great enthusiasm. However, when I introduced myself, they’d act like they didn’t hear me. I’d always speak up louder to make sure they hear me. By then they’ll brush me off with an “I know”, and continue to not speak with me. They’ll stare me down until I leave. For the longest time, I always tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’d try to maybe assume they’re socially awkward or they didn’t hear me (hence me speaking up). It took me awhile to realize the all kind of gave me the same look. After it kept happening, I started piecing things together. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but these same folks will them dismiss me in a dm when I try to ask the what’s going on and if I had done something to upset them prior to meeting up. I think once I found myself blocked even.
I feel a lot more included at cons further south than ones up north. I also seem more faces and people who look like me and I feel we’re generally treated better at cons further south. Though, I know this is subjective and to my personal experience. I typically always fursuited with friends when I did suit, or I suited in a place I generally felt safe and had friends at least around. After an incident in 2009 where an older white man threated to kick my ass in fursuit at a con, I’ve since then become a pretty defensive suiter in general. The situation escalated when I poped my head off in the middle of the hallway and was exposed for being a 17 year old biracial black female.
Circling back to black business owners in the fandom. I’ve noticed a common trend in us feeling the need to hide our bodies on our business account. I’ve also noticed many concerns about watching out “tone” on posts. Some feel they cannot be themselves. I’ve recently broke from doing this after moving to selling at conventions. I used to only sell online. I realize now I shouldn’t have to and do not need to hide myself. It’s crazy to get into that headspace. I wish there was a support network for POC sellers in the fandom. I’ve considered making a group if someone else hasn’t. Its rough to feel sharing who you are can cause you sales, because people are just that malicious out here. The fear is very real, and it’s seen on twitter, insta, and all over social media. It’s absurd. Now I’m just upset and mad about it after silencing myself for so long. I felt stuck, and I know it’s not fair.
I’ve also experienced a situation at a furry convention where a hotel employee threated to beat my ass for trying to pay a parking ticket. The situation was resolved and it was brought up to the con. I felt the con did a fantastic job handling the situation. It was definitely racial and probably gender related aggression.