Cosplayer Protip: Don't let bigots ruin your hobby

6:00 PM on 02.06.2013

Josh Tolentino

Managing Editor

Wise words from an African-American cosplay goddess

You'd think that we'd have had enough of nerd "facepalm" moments in the last few days, but it's always worth calling out internet jerks. To shrug and say "Meh, internet" is letting them win.

That's the case with one Chaka Cumberbatch, an African-American cosplayer who's been on the receiving end of quite a lot of internet bigotry, all because she's a dedicated, passionate cosplayer who happens to be black. She wrote about her experiences here, and while mildly depressing to read at first, one comes to appreciate how well she's taken it and stood up - and continues to stand up - to those d-bags.

The strange irony of cosplay is that it's a form of self-expression that relies on dressing like someone else, but what many of the bigots (the white ones at least) don't realize is that to restrict people to "same-race" cosplay (notwithstanding that this is all about fictional characters) would cut out them as well, at least in the anime realm. After all, most anime characters are Japanese/Asian unless stated otherwise (a justifiable presumption considering Nippon's relative ethnic homogeneity).

Cumberbatch's piece is well worth the read, and gives insights as to what it's like to cosplay outside the "norm", and why she does so (Hint: It's not to win the approval of others or satisfy her geek credentials).

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