Organizing Inclusive Fandom Spaces: The Basics

Confronting racism in your fandom space is necessary, and this guide is intended to be tips for organizers and event planning.

This is by no means the only guide, or the depth and breadth of what people should be doing for these events and organizations.

So you want to host a thing

If you’re in charge of a group chat, FB group, Discord server or an IRL org, you are responsible for confronting racism in your community.

I get it, you started this for “fun,” but you have the privilege and power of being in charge, and you must use that to protect and support marginalized members so they can be safe to have fun too.

If you aren’t capable of doing this, consider who should be in the space you’re taking. Can you give your position to someone else who is willing to make change? (Understanding that just because you have power doesn’t mean you are the best one to wield it will be critical to staying humble and ceding control to others.)

Here’s some basics that you should be prepared to handle if you find yourself in leadership.

Leadership To-Do List:

  • Create and enforce community guidelines.
  • A DEAI committee needs power.
  • Be responsive when things happen.
  • Look at who is missing in the room.
  • Be transparent.
  • Have a process for dealing with hateful incidents.

These are the basics. It’s not everything. It’s just a start. Notice how this doesn’t even get into venues. You need to have all this down so that you have multiple people helping you consider venue safety and accessibility.

Community Guidelines/Agreements:

These are critical to setting the standards of acceptable (and unacceptable) behavior in your space. These should lay out that harmful, hateful language and actions will not be tolerated.

Here are some examples, but you should be crafting these with multiple people in your community.

Community Guidelines Regarding Language, Hate Speech, and Terminology

Dickens Anti-Racist Statement

Critical Role Community Principles

GBACG Anti-Racism Plan

Developing Community Agreements

Make sure these are very visible in your space, repeated when necessary and revised as needed.

Reporting racist incidents:

Be transparent with members of these space about how to report racism and hate.

  • Who should they report to?
  • What does an investigation look like?
  • What are the consequences for that behavior?
  • How long does this process take?
  • Where is this information posted? (Yes, it needs to be somewhere visible.)

Here is a basic example of processes. You should be going deeper and talking to your group about how you will handle this.

Empower others in leadership to be able to call out racists and boot them.

Your Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Group:

  • Must have power to make change or be part of processes to do so.
  • Should have their work credited.
  • Should not have to water down suggestions for “sensitivities” (aka center white feelings).
  • Should not be lead by a cis white man.

Who is missing?

You will need to look at your membership. This is vital whether you are an irl club or virtual space.

If it’s tied to a location: Does it reflect the demographics of your area? If not, why doesn’t it? (And if you are not collecting voluntary demographic info, why not?)

Even if it’s not tied to a location: Is it just cis white folks? Is there any variation in demographics? Dedicate some time to thinking about this.

Review recruiting practices and community engagement efforts.

Now…

After you’ve spent time and effort (and maybe even money) on getting people together to discuss these things, you can start planning venues, topics, themes and more for your group. You should not be planning events or inviting massive amounts of new members into the space without guidelines in place or people to help maintain the safety of marginalized group members.


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