Candice Patton

Candice Patton Handles Racist Trolls With More Class Than They Deserve

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Candice Patton, who has played the role of Iris West on The Flash for the past four seasons, has had to deal with racist idiots complaining that she has the audacity to not be a white, red-haired woman. Sorry Karen Gillan was busy.

When you are black or follow black celebrities online, you slowly become used to seeing certain racist trolls. While we are often told that those people are part of a loud minority, it’s still hard and frustrating to see. As someone who has loved the subtle ferocity of Iris throughout the series and in the elevated role of Team Leader in the most recent season, I have a deep respect and admiration for Candice Patton—not only because she’s an amazing actress, who, when given the opportunity, elevates the scenes she is in (i.e. Run Iris Run), but her grace in not letting the trolls get her down.

Recently, a charming user on Twitter decided to tag not just other people, but Candice Patton in a (now deleted) tweet in which the user said, “I have nothing against white man having jungle fever. Most of them are loser that can’t get with attractive white women.”

Which led to fans retweeting pictures of their blended families and relationships in response to being  called “losers.”

As user DJ Wally West came through with the receipts on the racist troll, who also has also called black people “savages,” because that’s charming and useful.

Comments like these are so common. The subtle ways in which racist white fans communicate their dislike of black women onscreen. I’ve seen it with Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries, Abbie on Sleepy Hollow, and Gwen on Merlin, to name a few. While yes, these people are the scum of the earth and should be ignored, what I find frustrating is that, when people do speak out about these things, it’s mostly the black actors and black fans, along with a few allies.

Now, I’m not saying that Grant Gustin or Emily Bett Rickards need to start Twitter fights, but they can’t be oblivious to the racism that is being flung at their coworker. Throwing some Twitter shade is not hard, and it isn’t gonna lose fans who just want to enjoy the series.

It’s awesome that Candice Patton has built up a thick enough skin that she can just dust off her shoulders and make her money, but the fact is that she shouldn’t have to. It’s not hard to see the racism and hardcore sexism that the female cast members of these shows face.

Dismissing all of that as just the actions of trolls does a disservice to how those micro-aggressions affect people, both the individual human targets and those of us who are caught in the spray of that bullshit all the time. In most fandom I’ve participated in, from childhood to now, the black female cast member has always been shat on the most. Either in terms of weak writing or just the racist bullshit from fans.

Writers, producers, non-brown cast members: You see it too, so why can’t you just say something about it? Why does it only fall on us to call out these “fans” who freely harass someone you all respect? We don’t need manifestos, but we would like to know that you care.

(via Twitter, image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.