This past week, Twitter users (and anti-racists in general) were up in arms over tweets sent by Azealia Banks, directed at former One Direction member Zayn Malik.
Originally posting a collage on Instagram that accused Malik of plagiarizing her work, the online interaction quickly disintegrated into bigotry. Some of Banks’ now-deleted tweets include “your mother is a dirty refugee who won’t be granted asylum” and calling Malik a “curry-scented b----.”
Banks’ Twitter account was suspended following the tweets. Of course, days later, Banks apologized, claiming that “Employing racial/sexual slurs/stereotypes in attempts to make fun of or degrade another person or group is not fair or fun for anyone.” But Banks’ history has shown that her bigotry knows no bounds, and I have no doubt that this isn’t the last we’ll hear this type of commentary from her.
In my experience, people who generally invoke slurs usually never stop doing so, even when confronted. And her bigotry hasn’t been limited to racial slurs: She once tweeted that Sarah Palin should be gang raped and that the video should be uploaded to the Internet. Banks also suggested that all of Bill Cosby’s alleged victims were “crying wolf,” and threatened Kreayshawn that she would “sit on [her] face.” She has also regularly encouraged folks she doesn’t care for, like Perez Hilton and Iggy Azalea, to kill themselves.
Banks’ invocation of the kind of language her white, cismale counterparts use against women and people of color on the Internet every day seems to suggest a deep internalization of misogyny and racism. I have no doubt that Banks knows exactly how it feels to have this kind of offense directed at her, but her unwillingness to discontinue the behavior has been proven.
It’s fantastic that Twitter stepped in, but their intervention brings to light a double standard in Twitter censorship. Many users have expressed disdain at the company’s refusal to also suspend the accounts of trolls who regularly attack women and people of color online. Did Banks wholeheartedly deserve to have her account suspended? Yes. Are there others who have avoided the same treatment who also wholeheartedly deserve it? Absolutely.
Reach Opinion Editor Haylee Millikan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @hayleemaid