I am a woman of colour with a deep – almost unhealthy – love of popular culture. It is a love that is sorely tested in the face of such prejudice when I am told, loudly and with few qualms, that the stories of people who look like me just aren’t viable in a specific universe. It is often explicitly stated by my co-fans that I am not – ever – what they picture when they read these books or hear about these movies. The language may be coded: “She’s not how I imagined” or, in the case of interracial couple Sam and Mercedes on TV’s Glee, slightly more explicit: “They don’t look right together, like, they don’t … fit.” But the message is clear. We get to be supporting characters – the redshirts – or the villains. But heroes? Um, no. That would make things too … ethnic.
Bim Adewunmi, in a moving editorial for The Guardian (UK)