Hello, Night Vale Fandom. I’ve noticed a lot of people directing harassment towards POC fans over their dislike of white Cecil headcanons. I’ve also noticed a lot of people expressing their adoration of how “different” the headcanons for Cecil are.
Well, here’s a breakdown of all the Cecils I’ve seen today in the tag (excluding cosplay, including fancasts). White fans, I want you to take a look at this and really understand that you’re not being left out. POC fans are irritated that, once again, the fandom has defaulted to white—defaulted to white on a character who had absolutely no description of him, and all of the “different” versions of white Cecil honestly portray the same guy just in different art styles. And this is only over the span of twelve hours.
Just because a headcanon is popular doesn’t mean it isn’t problematic. Be more mindful and creative.
You know what is just the best? This probably won’t get a lot of notes outside of Night Vale fans of color. White fans will see this, feel victimized, and ignore it in order to go fanwank over more blond Cecil, because it is more probable to them that a man in a desert town has tentacles and three eyes and is white, than it is for him to be Native, or Black, or anything but a jar of fuckin’ Mayo.
There’s your fuckin’ unpopular opinion.
Can’t we all just like what we like as a design for him? Like, really guys. Its a podcast. He’s not real. No one is trying to be racist by making him white, and its perfectly fucking creative to make him white. HE’S A FICTIONAL RADIO SHOW HOST FROM A TOWN THAT DOES NOT EXIST. Who fucking knows what Night Vale looks like, what Cecil or Carlos or the Faceless Old Lady, or the floating cat in the men’s bathroom at the radio station looks like? Seriously, get over it. Let people draw him how they want to draw him.
thanks for the very white input
I hate you people so fucking much
Honestly, Cecil can be any freaking race since we have no confirmed description of him. Even the FAQ of the website says: “What do you think they look like?” IT IS OPEN FOR INTERPRETATION. People should not be shamed for their headcanons, and we all have the freedom of thought and interpretation. If I want to think of Cecil as being white, then I will picture Cecil as a fucking white person. Same goes for people who think of him as a POC, a non-human, or WHATEVER. Guys, this is how people start to lose respect for fandoms. LEARN ACCEPTANCE, DAMN IT.
You don’t have any respect for the POC within the fandom by ignoring the actual issue here.
Actually, I have PLENTY of respect. The real issue is that people apparently can’t have their own damn head canons without being ridiculed. People apparently cant have opinions without being called racist or for white supremacy anymore.
Okay, then. Let’s backtrack a little. Because I want you to understand, rather than be angry or feel as if someone is calling any one PERSON a racist for a personal head canon.
Let’s start by JUST looking at the chart, without calling out any one individual. Because this isn’t about individuals. I’d argue that it isn’t even about “racists” (in the colloquial usage). ”Racism,” on the other hand…the kind of racism which permeates a society so thoroughly that otherwise non-racist folks, can, as a group, replicate a larger oppressive system (POC invisibility) without consciously knowing that they are doing it…well. That’s another story.
There is a fictional character on a radio show about a town in which cats can float and angels party with old ladies. This character is never once described in terms of physical appearance. STILL 80+ percent of the art depicts him has him being a stereotypical white dude. Here is where warning bells should go off in your head. Personal cannons are just that…personal. BUT isn’t it…strange…that a character who could literally look like anyone or anything is being portrayed as a skinny, blond white guy by the fans nearly all of the time?
I want people to be able to have their own head canons. I do. But it’s a problem when all of the head canons together can’t put out a POC Cecil more than 15% of the time. I’m not going to go as far as to say “If you head canon white!Cecil, you’re racist.” And I don’t think that’s what ANYONE else is saying here, either (though I and others WILL say that if you don’t see a problem with the statistics here, in light of the larger problem of POC representation in the media and in creative literature, then you have a lot of work to do). And for me, the issue worth fighting over here is not “Does having head canon white!Cecil make X person racist?” but instead “What does it say about our society and about fandom at large when an undescribed character is portrayed by fans as white over 80% of the time?”
That a skinny white blond dude is the first thing that pops into so many people’s brains when they hear a disembodied voice on the radio is a problem.
I don’t understand how that statement could offensive to anyone other than a white supremacist. But I do not think that the act itself is indicative of being a white supremacist.
(Is it indicative of deeply entrenched white supremacism in our society, though? Well. That should be obvious.)
The above is incredibly well said. Thank you. (For the record, I’m white and I’m not in the least bit offended or feeling “victimized” by the ongoing discussion.)
While all headcanons may be equally valid, I don’t think that they are equally mature…and that has little to do with content (whether your Cecil is white or POC or tentacled or what have you) and everything to do with awareness. Put simply: it’s really kinda sad and limiting to default to what your brain naturally comes up with, without questioning why that image is what it is. We’re marvelously self-aware creatures with the ability to reach into ourselves and examine how we engage with the world and our own thoughts about it, including the “default settings” installed into us by our culture and our assumptions. To avoid thinking about this stuff, and just stay on autopilot, is lazy, and wasteful of our talents and abilities. More than that, in the case of those of us with privilege of one form or another, it has the potential to cause incredible harm, when by virtue of our greater power we can steamroll over other, quieter voices without even having to be aware we’re doing so.
So, in the context of the current discussion, make your Cecil look however you want, but at least examine and be able to articulate why he looks that way, in preference to other possibilities. (I say this as somebody who first pictured Cecil only as a white dude, but was quickly (and rewardingly) humbled into broadening my perspective by the plethora of great alternate representations out there.)