Azealia Banks’ tweets calling for the sexual degradation of Sarah Palin may have been outrageous, but so is Palin’s racism.
On April 3, 2016, rapper Azealia Banks posted a series of caustic tweets aimed at former Alaska Governor and one-time Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, calling for her to be subjected to, among other things, sexual degradation by large, strong black men.
Though her tweets have since been deleted, Media Research Center has saved screenshots (due to their explicit nature, we have not published them here).
And then — despite a user complaint filed to Twitter by Breitbart against Azealia Banks — Twitter reps found Azealia Banks’ Tweets to not be in violation of the social media company’s terms of service, much to the dismay of conservatives and Sarah Palin’s fans.
Thank you for your report. Twitter takes reports of this nature very seriously. We reviewed the content and determined that it was not in violation of the Twitter Rules. We are happy to revisit this decision if you are able to provide further evidence of a violation.
The posts, in response to an article, since revealed to be satire, published on Newslo on March 31, 2016, in which Sarah Palin was alleged to have stated:
“I’m telling you, I’ve been saying it for years, but nobody’s listening – slavery wasn’t forced onto African-Americans, they accepted it willingly. But, all of a sudden, they realized that it represented a very powerful bargaining chip that could help them milk more money out of the national budget. And now they’re even complaining white people are racist. That is just horrendous.”
Though Azealia Banks has since issued an apology, Sarah Palin announced a decision to sue her. However, Banks was unfazed, citing her right to free speech and keeping in mind that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Banks also has since seemed to have retracted her apology in light of Sarah Palin threatening legal action. According to the Daily Mail, on April 6, Azealia Banks called Sarah Palin a cracker and took her to task for supporting the notoriously racist Republican candidate Donald Trump:
“Everyone can tell you’re spreading them cheeks for Mr. Trump Sarah….. you ain’t got to lie.”
After Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol took Azealia Banks to task for her harsh words, Banks fired back:
“Bristol Palin need to shut it the f*** up and get herself a nuvaring.”
Azealia Banks’ Tweets have since been deleted per the request of her concerned fans. Her hateful statements put many blacks, feminists and liberals in the cringe-worthy position of having to admit that hate speech, even against someone as vile and hateful as Sarah Palin, is still hate speech. Yet the resolve of those who strive to be “fair and balanced” was doomed to be sorely tested by Palin’s deranged Facebook post.
How was Azealia Banks supposed to know the racist statement attributed to Sarah Palin was satire?
On the one hand, despite, or maybe even because of my own values on the side of achieving the most good for the most people, I do not condone Azealia Banks’ Tweets suggesting that Sarah Palin be subjected to group sex against her will. It lets our side down on account of the fact that many of us have fought for protecting women against rape, particularly at the institutional level, and the parlance not only vindicates every right-wing argument against the Left but radicalizes the right-wingers themselves through giving them their much-desired excuse to play the victim.
Yet it’s hard to blame Azealia Banks for her reaction to what she thought was a genuine statement. Was the idea Sarah Palin claiming that blacks willingly accepted slavery so far removed from something she might actually say that we could reasonably expect Banks to know it was satire?
Admittedly, even if I viscerally hate racism, I will never understand racism the same way Azealia Banks does because I have not experienced the levels of prejudice on the part of society that she has and certainly never will. Moreover, it’s definitely easy to imagine that Azealia Banks’ reaction was informed by knowledge of Sarah Palin’s own sneaky but casual racism.
After all, it was Sarah Palin herself who was fond of invoking the silly theory that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was invalid. She also accused President Obama of “playing the race card” (on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, of all days!) and of “shucking and jiving,” a term, which according to UrbanDictionary.com, specifically refers to “the intentionally misleading words and actions that African-Americans would employ in order to deceive racist Euro-Americans in power, both during the period of slavery and afterwards.”
Therefore, even if Azealia Banks’ methods of expressing her well-deserved rage are problematic, her sentiment is not incorrect, as the more Sarah Palin tries to keep her racism hidden, the more she gives herself away. My only caution for Ms. Banks is that she take care to not let the important points she needs to make be lost in the way the message is transmitted.