Fleeting Frustrations #3: When White Queer Icons Like Ezra Miller Fail Us

Seeing Ezra Miller’s face everywhere makes me feel some kind of way.

On one hand, I’m constantly charmed by Miller and I like that they’re a queer icon (who just apparently came out as non-binary). Their Playboy photos are pretty (so pretty) and I really do like knowing that one more performer in a superhero film is queer.

On the other hand, I’m always painfully aware of the fact thatnot only did Miller co-direct TheTruth According to Darren Wilson (a film intending to sympathize withand see the other side of events that led to Mike Brown’s senseless murder),but that it’s not a hard limit for many of the queer non-Black people that findout about it.

At the end of the day, it stings to realize that to many people, Miller’s queerness is seen as more important to talk about than the casual racism behind Miller working on a film that exists to humanize a racist murderer.

I don’t know anyone that’s actually asked about the work that went into making that film, the views that informed working on such a project (even with a Black co-director), or if things have changed as Miller has grown.

But that’s the thing:

Ezra Miller, like a bunch of queer white people that have said or done racist things, gets the benefit of the doubt and they’re never actually asked to be better.

When queer people of color bring up the harm that these white queer icons do by showing that they don’t see people of color as equals,they get ignored by the celebrity and often dogpiled by their fans.

Remember Panic at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie’s comments on “cancel culture” in his interview with PAPER Magazine?

You know, the one where he compared the response from conservatives about Black NFL players kneeling to protest police brutality to liberals apparently cheering Roseanne Barr getting fired for making a racist tweet (and being terrible).

Here’s where I draw the line. If the liberals are saying, “Hey why are you fining these NFL players [for kneeling during the anthem]?” and at the same time,”Fire Roseanne!,” they are doing the exact same thing that the conservatives are doing. I get it but we have to understand, yes, Roseanne made the worst tweet. But we’re taking people’s careers away. I don’t know where to draw the line because I do think obviously that’s horrible, but I think we need to look at patterns. If a person says something a few times but they are not acting out on it… it’s a very sticky situation.

I was still on tumblr when this interview went live so I gotto see other Black people who were justifiably annoyed by Urie’s comments andhow he shows that he doesn’t undesrtand how different these situations are getharassed.

They weren’t just harassed by Urie’s stans, but by non-Black queer people who literally told them that it was “more important” to focus on Urie coming out than on how his comments unfairly paint Black NFL players with the same brush as a noted racist.

I remember the backlash towards queer Black people who talked about things like finding out that Teen Wolf and Arrow star Colton Haynes did black and brown face for two separate Halloween costumes in his (at the time) not so distant past.

I remember seeing Drag Race fans and queens of color constantly being dismissed for talking about the racism present in the drag community, on the show itself,and in the fandom.

Because the important thing is that these white queer icons get to keep on being queer (even if they’re racist or support racists/racism).

That’s the thing: queer people of color are always told to choose between our queerness and our race.

Our race should stop mattering in situations like these and we should always choose the white queer icon currently fucking up instead of sticking to our guns and talking carefully and critically about why their queerness doesn’t mean they get to be a shitty person.

With the newest Fantastic Beasts movie coming out this weekend, I’m seeing Ezra Miller’s face pretty much everywhere on social media and on television. They’re a queer icon and again, really nice to look at.

I get it.

But as a queer Black person who sees people fawn over them –both with and without prior knowledge of the Darren Wilson film they worked on –I’m once again reminded that queer people of color don’t seem to matter in theoverarching queer community that we’re all folded into at times like this.

It’s more important that we bask in Ezra Miller’s star as it begins to crest than we have the tough conversations about what it means that a queer icon getting visibility is partially responsible for a film that attempts to flat out humanize Darren Wilson, a murderer who killed Mike Brown because he was Black and read as a threat to Wilson because of it.

We’re supposed to be a community.

That’s what keeps coming up at times like these when more ordifferently marginalized queer people talk about the tough stuff: we’re allqueer and that’s all that’s supposed to matter so no dissent is allowed.

But if you’re not able or willing to listen to queer people of color about something that impacts us? If you’re not supporting queer people of color against the backlash we get for talking about the racism in queer spaces or that queer icons put forward?

What kind of a community is this really?

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About Zina

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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2 Responses to Fleeting Frustrations #3: When White Queer Icons Like Ezra Miller Fail Us

  1. lkeke35 says:

    What I’m discovering sadly is that no matter what their intersectionality might be, white people will advance white supremacy first. Non white peopel are always being asked to set their race aside but the people doing the asking never seem to set theirs aside.

    Disappointing but not surprising, that at every opportunity such people have, to choose some other vector of their identity, they always seem to choose being White as their most important one, often while decrying “identity politics”.

    Like

    • Zina says:

      Honestly. You’re so right.

      I don’t understand it at all, because choosing whiteness above all is NOT a great thing to do considering how white supremacy is also upheld by misogyny and anti-queer policies. But like… as long as people of color aren’t equal, I guess that’s what matters to them.

      It’s sad.

      Liked by 1 person

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