A couple months ago, I recced a fic called Where My Thought’s Escaping which was about Harry Potter‘s Cho Chang. It focused on worldbuilding, the international wizarding community, and Cho’s perspective as someone who was simultaneously part of the war with Voldemort and outside of it; and it was the first time I’d ever seen anyone attempt to engage with Cho’s Chinese heritage, let alone with Cho as a character. It was a pretty well done fic, and if that was the only fic we’d ever get about Cho, I’d be pretty pleased. Fortunately for me, though, some fanficcers are intent on giving Cho more screentime than she got in the books or the movie, and today’s fanfic is another great fic starring Cho Chang.
Harry Potter fandom is coming back to life in a big way recently, what with the movie coming out and the Pottermore “history” and now the Cursed Child spoilers that may or may not be true, but that I really wish I hadn’t read. All of it makes me want to go back to the more classic Harry Potter fanfiction, and for today’s fanfic rec, I found a great fic about a character who’s been sadly neglected in both canon and fandom.
Luce: Like, Ink is a black person, of course he is. But let’s get back to Rostad’s video.
Ink: Okay, last post we made a bunch of decisions about the whole piece, except for the last two paragraphs. Frankly, I find them to be the most interesting—they’re not about just Cho Chang, JKR, Harry Potter anymore—now we have this whole issue of what the Asian female-white male relationship looks like. My impression is that there’s this recurring trope of a white male and an Asian female—really, there’s a recurring trope of a white male and every kind of other ethnic female in fiction and popular culture, particularly film, and in a lot of ways that’s because we respond to that much better than the other way around—
Luce: Hold on. You say we respond to it better—but I don’t think that’s the case. I think writers and producers of media think we respond to it better, so that’s what they write. I do think that people would accept, for example, the idea of a protagonist being gay, if only they were given the chance. It’s the same thing with the idea of an Asian male and his white female love interest.
Ink: I think it’s a bit of both actually. First off, let me clarify that when I say “we,” I’m referring to our culture at large—I do believe it’s true that we respond better to a white male and an ethnic female, but let me explain why.
Ink: Hi, my name is Ink, and I’m new here.
Luce: And hi again, I’m Luce! So recently, Saika brought this video to our attention, and as it turns out, we had a lot of thoughts about it.
Ink: We’re both people of color, which we think may give us some perspective on the issues Rachel Rostad brings up in her video. I’m an African-American guy, and Luce is an Asian-American girl. I’m also a researcher in the social sciences, dealing specifically with issues of race.
Luce: And this is us, on vacation in France:
This is a slam poetry piece by Rachel Rostad, a finalist in the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. There isn’t anything I can say here that’s more eloquent than what she says, but to anyone who doubts that media representation of minorities affects real minorities, take the four minutes and watch this.
Edited to add: Hey guys, this post is getting a lot of hits and I want to make sure that you see this video too. It’s the original performer responding to some legitimate critiques of her piece.