I tend to stay out of ship wars most of the time because it’s often a case of a lot of talking, and no one listening. I’ve been around The 100 fandom so long that even if a healthy discussion takes place, I know that in just a week or two the same issues would be brought up and it would be like nothing’s changed. That’s the nature of Tumblr, and you can say I’m resigned to it.
But recently I saw a post on my dashboard that disturbed me. It asked Bellarke fans to examine their privilege, and in particular, our white privilege. The premise was that Bellarke was a racist ship and that if you shipped it, you were racist. In the same way, it also implied that if you didn’t ship Braven, you were racist.
These are serious implications that are not to be taken lightly. Race is an important issue, and by all means one should examine their white privilege. But here’s the problem – I’m Chinese. One of the many people of color who ship Bellarke. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has seen such posts. Sections of the Braven fandom have also called POCs white feminists. It’s callous and it’s a sweeping generalization that lessens the credibility of the person using the term.
On a level, I get it. I don’t think that the writer really believed that all Bellarke fans are white. I also understand how people may sometimes use assumptions and sweeping statements to strengthen an argument. Throughout The 100 fandom I have also seen people pull out social justice issues to try to strengthen a case. I have seen people reveal their sexual identities, race, and personal histories to make a point.
However, in not acknowledging that the Bellarke fandom is incredibly diverse, and by erasing our identities as people of color by generalising us, it makes it difficult for me to believe that such people care all that much about the racial issues they supposedly champion.
In fact, such posts are potentially hurtful, because you never know who may be reading it. The person you asked to examine their white privilege has perhaps been trying to be white all their lives because of the difficulties of being a POC.
Discussions of race can always be grounded in the context of the show. In discussing ships, the option to form an argument solely on canon is always there. In fact, by sticking to facts on the show instead of trying (pretending) to be a champion of social justice, you may just end up having a much more fruitful discussion. Try it.