Chaka Cumberbatch recalls at xoJane how the simple act of dressing up like her favorite anime character brought out some of the Internet's worst racism.
I got a crash course in this when in 2010, I cosplayed Sailor Venus, my favorite character from my favorite anime, Sailor Moon …
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.
Read Chaka Cumberbatch's entire piece at xoJane.
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