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Jan 05 2013
It's Not About Being Too Sensitive Over A Silly Word Comments (17)

Azealia-banksI don't bi her B.S. explanations

Azealia Banks is being roasted by some and defended by others for tweeting that Perez Hilton is a "messy faggot" and further explaining that:

"A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There's a BIG difference."

She went on to say she should have said "cunt" in place of "female." (She appears to be one of those people who think they're above being offended by words, and revel in displaying that purported strength.)

It surprises me that so many gay people would defend her. I chalk some of it up to star worship (who wants to admit that an artist they've started to like is a buffoon?) and some of it up to wanting to seem above labels and political correctness, and some of it up to the fact that in this case Perez "boo-hiss!" Hilton is involved.

First, Azealia Banks is bi, so some are acting like that means anything. Okay, it means something, but that's only part of the context argument. The other part is how she's using the word. She's using "faggot" as a searing insult, and following it up with an explicit definition that makes it clear: Any man who fails to pass her masculinity test is beneath contempt and worthy of a name that has historically been used to demean and disenfranchise gay people. This is not a case of a gay person affectionately reappropriating a word. It's not parallel to "hey, nigga." (Which as a white person makes me queasy but which I understand since I've certainly used "fag" in the same way. And for the record, I've never bought the argument used by racists and racist-lite types that black people shouldn't be so offended by the N-word if they're going to use it. Context is all.)

I realize people want to focus on whether or not this makes Banks a homophobe (the same kind of pattern happens with racist remarks), but it's not about that so much as it's about whether or not what she said was homophobic. It was. In context, she—a bisexual woman—used a slur to attack a gay man. It's no different than when Ann Coulter called John Edwards a faggot. It's not different than when a playground bully uses the word. Is Banks AS homophobic as Ann Coulter or AS homophobic as the bully? Probably not. But this exchange was AS homophobic and probably more likely to influence young people than either of those two examples.

She's trying to laugh it off and her defenders are smugly talking about how it will only give her more PR (which she needs—most people I know have never heard of her). But that's cynical and short-sighted.

Look, there are a hundred ways available for any half-way intelligent human being to attack or disagree with Perez Hilton that do not involve insulting his masculinity. It's no different for this bisexual woman to do that than it is for a black person to insult another black person for being too dark-skinned, something Banks was decrying on the very same Twitter feed in which she—in my opinion—went too far and sank too low in her effort to draw blood from Perez.

We have free speech and she's entitled to it. But people listening to or reading that speech are entitled to revile it and call her out and be offended and not be excited about supporting her in the future.

   

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