On Azealia Banks and White Gay Cis Male Privilege

10 Jan

Guest Post by Edward Ndopu

Azealia Banks

Rapper Azealia Banks

Recently, the media has exploded with news of a Twitter battle between rapper Azealia Banks and gossip blogger Perez Hilton. After Hilton inserted himself in an altercation between Banks and fellow female rapper Angel Haze, taking Haze’s side, Banks denounced him as a “messy faggot”. She then went on to say that she used the word to describe “any male who acts like a female”. Rumours have since abounded that Banks is being dropped from her record label as a result of her speaking out against Hilton. Rather than taking sides, I believe it is most important for us to examine the context within which this media escalation has happened. Instead of writing off Azealia Banks, herself a queer woman, as homophobic, we should instead be exploring the femmephobia and racialized sexism at play in the public’s response to this debacle.

The public spat between Azealia Banks and Perez Hiton must be understood within a larger context, beyond the binary logic of right and wrong. It is profoundly problematic that much of the cultural criticism framing this fiasco is couched in the “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument. This  narrative rests on the flawed assumption that wrongful conduct on both sides of a conflict functions on an equal playing field. The lens through which we view wrongful conduct on either side (Azealia Banks vs Perez Hilton) must take into account the overarching power imbalances that frame interpersonal experiences of epistemic violence. We cannot dislocate public figures from their sociopolitical locations. The Azealia Banks/Perez Hilton debacle has absolutely nothing to do with right and everything to do with white gay cis male privilege.

White gay cis men have cultural access to the bodies of black women and black femmes, cultural access that black women and black femmes do not have in relation to white gay cis male bodies. This cultural access allows white gay cis men to caricature black femininities, through mannerisms and voice intonations, as rambunctiously depraved and outlandish. It is a form of ontological mockery that reinforces dehumanizing narratives and racist tropes about black femininities. Perez Hilton, who personifies a homonormative politic, has systematically tapped into the cultural access to which I refer at various points in his career. Indeed, the sassy lexicon he, and so many other upper middle class non-disabled white gay cis men like him, employs rests on the commodification and appropriation of black femme identities. Hilton interjecting himself in a social media dispute between two black women, Azealia Banks and Angel Haze, precipitated the Hilton/Banks altercation, which is emblematic of his (problematic) cultural access.

Because our society subscribes to an insidiously misogynistic sociocultural paradigm, to insult someone, notwithstanding gender, is to invoke the feminine. So what better way for Banks to cut Hilton down to size than to call his masculinity into question? The Banks/Hilton feud had absolutely nothing to do with sexual identity (read: homophobia), but rather, gender power dynamics (read: femmephobia). Azealia calling Perez a “messy faggot” suggests an attempt to assert her status as a no-nonsense, hard ass femcee in a largely masculine of center dominated hip-hop industry. Masculine of center queer men, notwithstanding race, appropriate the word bitch. Very often, they use it pejoratively, and with impunity. They’re seldom called out on the ubiquity of their misguided misogyny. Yet, when it comes to Azealia’s use of the word faggot, she’s quickly characterized as homophobic, reinforcing the dominant narrative that people of color are somehow inherently homophobic, to echo Janet Mock’s recent sentiments. Although Azealia Banks is queer, she is not part of a population that would have this slur used against her. That being said, there are other words that are deeply entrenched manifestations of oppression that go unchecked each and every day. Ironically, many gay men who are up in arms over Azealia’s use of the word faggot are the same men who render femme-identified men invisible and undesirable.

Azealia Banks’ career allegedly hangs in the balance and Perez Hilton’s remains firmly intact. She’s now regarded as the ratchet, violently homophobic black woman. By virtue of his white gay cis male privilege, Hilton did not have to contend with the implications of calling will.i.am a faggot several months ago. This isn’t two wrongs make a right, but rather, one wrong is minimized, and the other, pathologized.


Born to a South African freedom fighter mother who fled from the Apartheid regime to Namibia under self-imposed exile, Edward (Eddie) Ndopu is a politically conscious (dis) abled queer femme Afro-politan living in Ottawa, Ontario. Named by the Mail and Guardian Newspaper as one of their Top 200 Young South Africans, he is a social critic, anti-oppression practitioner, consultant, writer and scholar.

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154 Responses to “On Azealia Banks and White Gay Cis Male Privilege”

  1. Breeze Harper January 10, 2013 at 8:05 AM #

    Thanks so much for another complex post about a subject that mainstream media as ‘superficialized’.

    I would like to better understand this article that you have written. I don’t understand why her use of the phrase “messy faggot” is NOT a problem and how this ties into centering white male [able-bodied] [gay] [CSI gender] privileged ontologies. Would you have available, some more reading I can refer to? I am also wondering what you think would have happened if Azaila had not called Perez a “messy faggot”, but instead, Perez called her something like like “ghetto bitch” or “ghetto ass dyke.” What do you think the responses would have been? Would he have ‘lost’ his contracts?

    Best,
    Breeze

    • Breeze Harper January 10, 2013 at 8:06 AM #

      *Azealia*

    • P January 10, 2013 at 11:01 AM #

      Watch Louis C.Ks bit on the usage of Faggot. Yes it’s comedic but it gets the point across.

    • An now, from the perspective of trans/genderqueer justice... January 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM #

      Wait, so basically she gets a pass for condemning “messy fagots” — oh wait! not ‘faggots’ meaning “homosexual male”, but ‘faggots’ meaning “any male who acts like a female” (because the former might alienate too many of her ‘homosexual’ [but apparently not trans] fans), by which she ACTUALLY means ‘female’ as in “cunt”, and NOT ‘female’ as in “female” (because the latter might alienate her ‘female’ fans)* — just because she is a (1) “a no-nonsense, hard ass” (read: emasculated) femcee trying to make it “in a largely masculine of center dominated hip-hop industry”; and (2) because the lexicon of “upper middle class non-disabled white gay cis men” like Perez “rests on the commodification and appropriation of black femme identities”?

      I’m sorry, but the fact that she is a ‘hard-ass’ black femcee does NOT make her (at first literal, but then not) genderqueer-negative, transgression-policing words ‘okay’ just because they are directed at a “messy faggot” who JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE a much-despised, self-inflated, other-bashing gay, white, cis-male celebrity, among other things. She’s STILL throwing all the other “messy faggots” (i.e. “messy males who act like females” i.e. “messy males who act like cunts”) under the bus — including “messy faggots” of colour — and continues to perpetuate the femmephobia the author is critiquing Perez for. Except in Azealia’s case, the femmephobia is directed at ‘femaleness’ in males.

      YES, Azealia is right to call Perez out for thinking that he was entitled to enter a dispute that was not his to enter — and for actually doing so! But Azealia is not right for doing so using the words that she did.

      YES, her ‘search’ for words seems to indicate that she was looking for the ‘right’ words to use to call him out on his unwarranted intrusion — after the fact; but she failed miserably (which is too bad for a skilled writer like her), resorting to the genderqueer/transgression-negative terms that she did: an indication of precisely how engrained systemic genderqueer/transgression-phobia is, EVEN WITHIN a “hard-ass”, queer femcee.

      * Not sure what I’m referencing? See here: http://gawker.com/5973351/azealia-banks-called-perez-hilton-a-faggot-but-that-doesnt-make-her-a-homophobe

    • Peter January 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM #

      Hey, Ya know – After reading all this I realized: Azealia Banks is part of the problem and bad for Our Culture ( see – http://rapgenius.com/Azealia-banks-212-lyrics) – and Perez Hilton is just a Zit on the A$$ of Society – So I feel dumber now for having spent ant amount of time reading anything to do with Perez Hilton ….. So does it make me a bad person that I just don’t Care?

      • Peter January 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM #

        *** any ***

      • artmoscow January 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM #

        It was worth reading for the enlightening effect of your link. Having read the lyrics (not sure this word applies), I feel like, you know, messy. Like I dipped into something dirty. Let them, her and the hilton hotel boy roll in it as much as they want… I can be made any worse now, I’ve seen cultural hell. )))

      • artmoscow January 15, 2013 at 4:50 PM #

        *** can’t be madeany worse***

    • thabomophiring January 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM #

      Thank you Breeze. the argument does not quite add up. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  2. Perri McCary January 10, 2013 at 9:09 AM #

    It is time we look at the complexities of situations rather than responding with a one-thinking type of anwers. Clearly, Banks knows her reasoning behind the use of the term “messy faggot,” but may not be able to articulate as well as Edward does here. We know that in the end, it is never a simple as we think when considering human relationships.

  3. Bunny January 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM #

    I think a more accurate comparison would be to ask what would have happened if Perez had called her a messy dyke. We’ll never know, but I’m guessing not a damn thing.

    • S. Mandisa Moore January 11, 2013 at 5:54 PM #

      Amen!

    • sociologification January 16, 2013 at 2:18 AM #

      Astute!

  4. mm January 10, 2013 at 10:04 AM #

    Perez Hilton was born Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr… how comfortable should we be in claiming that he is or identifies as white?

    • Ken January 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM #

      and his parents were born in Cuba. I didn’t get the white thing either.

      • Aby Helland January 11, 2013 at 4:17 PM #

        So Ken, are you saying tere is not white people in Cuba? You should check a little bit of colonial history of the Americas.

      • Aby Helland January 11, 2013 at 4:18 PM #

        there is

      • S. Mandisa Moore January 11, 2013 at 5:56 PM #

        1) white people live in Cuba (they colonized and named it that after all) -alot of white Cubans live in the US. Being Latino and being white are not mutually exclusive categories.

        2) He has, and soooo clearly enjoys, white privilege.

  5. homebuying101 January 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM #

    Although I agree that Hilton is in a position of privilege vis-à-vis Banks, I don’t think that this discussion can be divorced from what actually happened.

    I was online at the time and read the exchange, I (a queer black woman and Azealia fan) was disappointed with her. Having a fight on social media is not like having one in your house…people are going to comment and take sides. I thought Banks’ response to Hilton was over the top, it didn’t stop at the “messy faggot” comment. And, I really do not think we should excuse poor behavior that (like women beefing and not supporting each other, using violent negative, disparaging language to each other, etc) perpetuates harm in our community from someone, just because they are in the oppressed group.

    Black women have largely looked the other way at the mysogynistic rap lyrics of male rappers even though it may be harming us, and now many of us are looking the other way and supporting our beloved Azealia even though she sometimes promotes damaging behavior.

    As someone who tries to create community with women and networks of support, I am disappointed when I see women in my community and women who are famous taking pleasure in starting “beef” with other women. Azealia is talented enough not to use tactics that many male rappers use (have you seen some of Chris Brown’s effed up tweets??) that are harmful to us.

    • B January 10, 2013 at 3:20 PM #

      I’m really glad you commented here, especially as a queer black woman (all things that I am not, and as such it’s reassuring to see my opinion voiced from someone who may be more personally affected by these issues). I think this article certainly does an effective job of pointing out who has the privilege in this situation — this certainly goes to Perez. By virtue of better fitting the stereotype for homosexuality, he becomes the voice of what people want their homosexuals to be, and as such he will be vehemently defended. This is, no doubt, a travesty that should be addressed. However, I don’t at all think it is fair to indemnify Azealia from her words simply under the premise that she is the less-privileged in this situation. I wouldn’t ordinarily have too much of a problem with her using the term ‘faggot’, as that to me feels more or less in her right to do so. However, her follow-ups are really troubling: suggesting that a faggot is a man who acts like a woman serves to reinforce the concept of masculinity as a perpetuation of homophobia. Linking ‘masculine traits’ in men to being straight and ‘feminine traits’ in men as being gay continues to use stereotypes to breed a culture of fear towards homosexuality. What’s more, Azealia further follows up by suggesting that she should have replaced to word ‘woman’ with ‘cunt’. This doesn’t help her argument from any side, both likening women and gays [faggots] to cunts. I trust that Azealia doesn’t intend to belittle two groups of people that she is a part of, however I think she certainly should have exhibited more forethought, especially on the very public Twitter.

      • cintellect January 15, 2013 at 3:05 PM #

        You sum up exactly what I think. All in all, Azealia and Perez are two sides of the same cookie. Simply, they both fucked up here.

      • Bev Herscovitch January 15, 2013 at 10:09 PM #

        I’m so happy you wrote this, basically summing up the thoughts I had in relation to this post, but in a much more eloquent way than I could have done. This post just rubbed me the wrong way- I felt as if Edward was basically insinuating that because Azealia is less privileged than Perez, through being part of several marginalized groups, than she is automatically the innocent party and her actions are justified. I felt her comments were highly homophobic, and should not be justified because she also experiences many forms of discrimination. Not to minimize her experiences, and I can’t speak authoritatively on this coming from a straight, white, cis-gendered female perspective, but I feel as if this just should not be excused for this reason.

      • elliotclaire January 16, 2013 at 4:57 AM #

        Yes, I agree to this summation too.

  6. mm January 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM #

    According to the Guardian: “Banks went on to call Hilton ‘dickbreath’, told him to ‘gobble a dick’…”

    These statements indicate homophobia rather than (or on top of) femmephobia, don’t they? I’m thinking Banks is slinging both.

  7. bellaberri January 10, 2013 at 10:53 AM #

    Reblogged this on Rants & Raves and commented:
    My brain-melted reading this (in a good way)!

  8. Simplistic analysis January 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM #

    This is weak logic disguised in academic jargon. Laden with assumptions based on caricatures the writer relies on of the “gay community.”

    More specifically, behavior attributed to “upper middle class non-disabled white gay cis men,” as if dropping any one of those identities automatically removes that person from this hegemonic group that oppresses working class disabled queer trans people of colour. Very poor understanding of how intersectionality works.

    It’s ironic that the writer falls into the binary logic of “right or wrong” that he claims to oppose. In doing so, he missed an opportunity to address the racism of white gay men like Perez Hilton as well as the femmephobia of Azealia Banks’ comments (saying a faggot is not a homosexual, but ANY man who acts like a woman).

    It would also have been useful to sample some of the reactions posted by fans of each to Twitter, showing how the comments were interpreted regardless of their intent. Many, many examples of racism and homophobia.

    I’m no fan of Perez Hilton or his behavior in this situation, but articles such as this discredit anti-racist analysis by falling into the trap of simplistic identity politics hierarchies.

    • Peter Hanink January 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM #

      ^ this

    • Dr. Jose Cemi January 15, 2013 at 8:44 PM #

      ^^ Very well said.

  9. P January 10, 2013 at 11:00 AM #

    All you have to do is watch Louis C.K’s bit on the usage of faggot to realize that Perez Hilton is indeed a faggot

  10. Mike January 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM #

    Your analysis of the ability of gay cis men to adopt black femme mannerism is fascinating. It’s that I, as a straight cis white man, am ashamed to have never considered. Thank you for your insight.

  11. LT January 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM #

    I’m very confused by the mention of WHITE gay cis male privilege. Perez Hilton is Latino. His parents are from Cuba.

    • crunktastic January 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM #

      Latinos can be white. Cameron Diaz and Christina Aguilera are examples.

      • picaresco January 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM #

        Yeah, but in the American context, Hispanic/Latin@ is a racialized identity – we’re going to be treated as a racial group even though we can be white, black, or of indigenous descent.

      • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:17 AM #

        White latinos are white. There may be parts of the US where they are racialized, but not so much. They are cultural white, look white and act white. Ricky Ricardo was married to Lucy in the 1950s on TV. He was a white cuban. Spicy, of course. But that wasn’t viewed as an interacial thing outside of maybe Mississippi. Latin America is full of white people even if they aren’t coming in as day laborers. Watch Univision or Habla on HBO Latino. Maybe crazy racist white inbreds don’t know, but all Latinos do.

      • sks January 11, 2013 at 1:22 AM #

        Yeah, love the CFC and etc, but sisters this is just making us invisible.

        No doubt some latinos – cuban americans specifically – do access some of the privileges of whiteness, but they are not white.

        Even Perez Hilton has been at the receiving end of some nasty racist crap.

        So while the point is well taken – nothing is help by invicibilizing the very real non-whiteness of latino people.

        Cameron Diaz and Christina Aguilera are both half-white and white passing – so they are not good examples. A better example would be Alicia Keys. Is she white? J-Lo is she white?

        Do not make us invisible, please.

      • Mister Zan January 11, 2013 at 3:22 AM #

        Really? Is this your best defense here? Latinos CANNOT be “white” no matter how you like to think so and implying that they can is actually incredibly disrespectful to the history of oppression that brown people have lived through in this country as well as in their own.Cameron Diaz and Christina Aguilera do not represent the majority of Latin women. They barely represent a slim cross section of Latina women. Latin people are people of color, too. Lack of blackness does not whiteness make. Sorry.

      • Bernardo January 14, 2013 at 1:39 AM #

        Of course many Latinos are white. Millions of Europeans immigrated to Latin America and Latin America was colonized by Europeans, how ignorant can some people be? Perez is a white Cuban, many Cubans especially in the United States are white, maybe you should learn the history of why so many Cubans came to the United States? I’ll give you a clue racial/economic tensions between the lower black, mixed race, and pesant whites and the upper/middle class whites.

  12. World Keeps Turning January 10, 2013 at 11:58 AM #

    Some of the most racist white men I’ve encountered have been gay.

    • Invisible Man January 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM #

      preach!

    • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:14 AM #

      Teach!

  13. Sasha January 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM #

    isn’t perez hilton latino?

    • Mister Zan January 11, 2013 at 3:26 AM #

      Yup!

  14. Matthew January 10, 2013 at 12:19 PM #

    1) Frankly, gay or straight, our culture privileges white cisgendered men to access ANY space and culture in an appropriative manner. To specifically call camp culture into question, which is not entirely white (and in many cases the idioms are from ball cultures or earlier), is an unnecessary and arguably false interjection of sexuality as a root cause of his privilege– this is a larger issue than sexuality. My two cents on camp cultural appropriation: the mannerisms appropriated are not contemporary mannerisms, nor entirely black (a lot is from debutante culture, etc. too), and reading camp idioms entirely as black appropriations misreads not only the cultures being used, but also the motivation. A simple point to add on this: the readiness through which (mostly white) gay culture appropriates HoneyBooBoo and such I think shows that the avenues through which camp mannerisms are appropriated is more complex than the argument here lets on.

    2) If Banks calls Hilton’s masculinity into question, she is attacking him for depicting a queer expression of gender. I don’t believe that Hilton likely identifies as masculine, though he likely identifies as male. Banks can hardly be defended in relation to cisgendered privilege when she is shaming the flexibility of a gender spectrum in such a way.

    3) Hilton is rude. I don’t want to defend him, and I think you are correct that the “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument assumes an even playing field. I’m more bothered by Banks’s definition of “faggot” and shaming male effeminacy than I am by her use of the term. Male effeminacy, which is largely linked to camp culture, strives to undo a lot of the male and cisgendered privileges offered by society.

    • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM #

      What is this “cisgendered privilege” people keep talking about? Did I miss the vote where this was supposed to be taken seriously?

      If you think a working woman in this world is privileged because she’s not some “genderqueer” San Francisco trustafarian, you are certifiably insane. Not being “marginal” is not the same as being privileged. It isn’t a privilege to not be handicapped or trans or straight. Have you encountered ACTUAL privilege, like ever?

    • Sarah January 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM #

      Thank you Matthew. This is one of if not the most insightful comment on this article. Glad to be able to take published writing with a grain of salt.

  15. Alexis January 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM #

    I think this is really great, but Perez Hilton is Cuba-American, and I believe he identifies as Latino. He has passing privilege obviously, but I don’t think he’s actually white.

    • Alexis January 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM #

      excuse me, *Cuban-American.

      • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:20 AM #

        Perez Hilton is Latino and white. Notice on the census that Latino is specifically not a racial designation. There are three main racial groups in Cuba, and among Cubans who live in the US: White, like Castro, they are mostly descended from Galicia in Spain. Mulato, which isn’t used in the US but very much is in Cuba where most people are mulato by designation. And Black, meaning of direct African descent.

        My favorite white latino in history is Che Guevara.

      • picaresco January 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM #

        The Census is actually recognizing Latino as a race from here on out, because yeah, it’s become a racial designation (and even if it hadn’t, relying on the U.S. Government to recognize the realities of racial identities is generally waiting for Godot). The whole point is that whatever the racial structures are in Latin America, the racial structures HERE don’t make that distinction, even beyond the “crazy inbred racists” you mention above. The ability to “pass” (so long as no one looks too close or asks your name) does not render one white.

    • crunktastic January 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM #

      Latino is an ethnicity not a race. There are white Latinos. Christina Aguilera, Charlie Sheen, and Cameron Diaz are examples.

      • sks January 11, 2013 at 1:29 AM #

        Wow, I am sorry, but this is some oppressive, invincibilizing assumption – worse than what I responded above.

        Charlie Sheen is not latino – not by any stretch of the word. I already addressed

        Even if we accept your problematic definition of race – problematic because it makes eyeballs and not social relations the measure – and it being in a dichotomy of race, in this case it will be invalid. Perez Hilton is rather outspoken participant in Cuban-America culture and ethnicity and doesnt try to pass. Even the name Perez Hilton implies this.

        Charlie Sheen – unlike his brother Emilio Estevez – actively hides this and try to pass.

        I am deeply saddened to see these regressive assumptions and presumptions in this otherwise fine blog – and to see important points on cis-male privileged being marred by national chauvinists derived from white supremacy about latinos who do not fit certain stereotypes.

      • Mister Zan January 11, 2013 at 3:27 AM #

        So, by this count I suppose everyone is either white, black or asian. How confusing this must be for anyone from the Dominican Republic for example.

      • stevenscga January 12, 2013 at 1:23 AM #

        @sks

        What does not hiding it have to do with anything? You do realize that in an American context, your identity unfortunately is decided by what you look like. I may pass as “black”, I may pass as “mixed” (read: black and white), I can pass as “latino”. At the end of the day, it’s other people who decide what my race is. And let’s clarify race and ethnicity are two separate things. You can be South African and White, you can be Dominican and Asian, you can be French and Indian. The first being the ethnicity and the second being their race.

      • J. January 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM #

        stevenscga, no, other people do not decide what my race is – I decide what my race is. Do not take away a person’s self-identification. By accepting that others should decide one’s race, then we are playing into a dangerous game of accepting stereotypes. Skin color does not just define my race – my mother tongue (Spanish) and familial culture & foods and relatives still living in one of the most impoverished countries in South America (from where we come) define my race. And my mixed blood. I have not seen mention of mixed Spanish-indigenous blood Latinos. Not just black and white…

  16. counterftnoire January 10, 2013 at 12:29 PM #

    Reblogged this on Nerd Noire Undercover.

  17. whites educating whites January 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM #

    Reblogged this on whites educating whites.

  18. popa January 10, 2013 at 1:46 PM #

    The fact of the matter is, even though there are indeed many complex societal implications coming together that could explain Azealia Banks’ behaviour, those societal implications don’t really give her the leeway to inflict mental harm on another human being. She deliberately set up a scenario in which she turns another person away by degrading their sexual preference. The fact that she herself claims to be a ‘queer woman’, and one of influence to boot, makes the scathing comment even more damaging….especially since she seems to lack the knowledge of what ‘faggot’ means etymologically. I mean obviously this is getting into “celebrity morals”, but i suppose what i’m saying is if you’re the torch holder you can’t burn down the forest with it and hope you will still survive after that. Whatever she says may now spread through a very level and dynamic audience, who are themselves well-educated and fully capable of understanding truth and morality.
    Yes, Perez Hilton may not be the most savory of characters, but artists as themselves make their own choices on how to react.
    Obviously Azealia chooses whether or not she believes her comments are as far reaching as they can be, with negative impacts or positive ones. But I would, personally, hope that a person of her stature, intelligence range and ability to outreach would give a thought to what their messages actually bring to people, not just how they are intended to be seen.
    To quote some of the brilliant comments of this conversation:

    – “2) If Banks calls Hilton’s masculinity into question, she is attacking him for depicting a queer expression of gender. I don’t believe that Hilton likely identifies as masculine, though he likely identifies as male. Banks can hardly be defended in relation to cisgendered privilege when she is shaming the flexibility of a gender spectrum in such a way.”

    – “It’s ironic that the writer falls into the binary logic of “right or wrong” that he claims to oppose. In doing so, he missed an opportunity to address the racism of white gay men like Perez Hilton as well as the femmephobia of Azealia Banks’ comments (saying a faggot is not a homosexual, but ANY man who acts like a woman).”

    – “As someone who tries to create community with women and networks of support, I am disappointed when I see women in my community and women who are famous taking pleasure in starting “beef” with other women. Azealia is talented enough not to use tactics that many male rappers use (have you seen some of Chris Brown’s effed up tweets??) that are harmful to us.”

  19. Randall Jenson January 10, 2013 at 2:47 PM #

    The author, Edward, makes some really great points. Thank you for pointing out the intricacies of sexism, misogyny, femmephobia, the fear of faggots, the love of bitches, the disregard to certain identities/words and scapegoting/finger pointing to others. But, as someone else already pointed out, there’s also a rather problemtic assumption that Perez Hilton is white. He’s not – even if he took on and reshaped his branding name from a snobby white girl. One of my friends just shared, “I think people have a hard time talking about racial politics when they are not black/white.” It’s difficult to see and address all the layers of what’s happening…and easy to assume that because there are levels of passing or cultural assimilation (I would argue on both sides of the Banks/Perez feud)….I have issues with the title of this piece.

  20. burrjohnson January 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM #

    Isn’t calling someone a “faggot”, insinuating that they are feminine as an insult, pointing out their lack of masculinity…actually femmephobic? I agree with many points in this writing, just to be clear. We all just need to be nicer to each other.

  21. Amit Bagga January 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM #

    I think this whole situation is the result of world-at-large being not quite ready for black girl who went to an arts school in Manhattan who’s lived a “queer” life (in the most socio-sexual encompassing sense of the word) to be as comfortably appropriational as she is. Young queer people employ “bitch,” “faggot,” “dyke,” “cocksucker,” and many other otherwise offensive terms to refer to each other quite frequently – and quite often for the purpose of contextualizing their judgment of someone’s else words or behavior within the “queer” world versus the world beyond.

    • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:21 AM #

      Truth!

  22. alagarconniere January 10, 2013 at 4:07 PM #

    really well-written food for thought. thanks for this insightful analysis.

  23. Invisible Man January 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM #

    Damn yall Crunkers was found low on this one! Exposing and grappling with “the mess” like real artists are suppose to do!, As Samuel Beckett would say

    Yummie stuff yall yummie stuff!

    Black folks don’t get much in this world. So maybe the only “reparation” we get is being able to “go there” like Azealia Banks did.

    For Black folk especially the Black poor and true Black intellectuals, its a war out there and we need to grab all the “intellectual weaponry” that we stumble upon.

    I say things about white folk in a way that they cannot say it about Black folk, simply because THEY have the power and with power there are some minor limitations.

    Azealia Banks, after being set upon by the white boy( who has the Privilege to just step right on in, like they always do,) kicked that Mofo in the his private parts.

    Was it a dirty kick?

    Hell yea, but that’s what you get when you roll up with a bat on a Sista in a dark alley, and all she got is her Mind and her “feetz”

    Shiiiiiiiiiiit, She trained under Sista SoulJah!

    Funny in Chicago we have Pride Parade, the biggest in America and every body loves it except for radicals and progressives who understand that it’s just another celebration of white male supremacy brought to you by B.P. Amoco, G.E. Com Ed, Citi Bank etc, etc and they (Gay white males) are the most dangerous, because they never get called out on their racists and sexists behavior!

    So like L.L. Cool Jay said, “Don’t Call It a Come Back!

    • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:13 AM #

      I live in Chicago most of the time and know exactly what you are talking about. Chicago has the most racist boy bars ever. Shit is straight up. Almost refreshing after all the passive aggro “queer normativity” in the Bay.

  24. Lorenzo HerrerayLozano January 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM #

    Right on. Thank you for illustrating the relationship between the uses of “faggot” and “bitch.” And you’re right for calling out Perez Hilton for accessing his white privilege.

    • C. Sings January 10, 2013 at 11:15 PM #

      He’s Cuban

    • Mister Zan January 11, 2013 at 3:43 AM #

      Latin people don’t possess white privilege.

      • stevenscga January 12, 2013 at 1:15 AM #

        Latin@s are not a race. It’s an ethnicity. You must be on some colonial kool-aid if you think that white latin@s don’t have white privilege.

      • J. January 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM #

        White Latino privilege is NOT the same as white privilege. It goes beyond skin color. English-as-a-second-language challenges, economic & cultural first-generation anything (first generation American, first generation college student) challenges and so on. Please do not be so limited in your scope.

      • Bernardo January 14, 2013 at 1:46 AM #

        Yes, they do. Latin first of all refers to European people. Latino or Latin American people may or may not have white privilege. White Latinos who are descendants of European immigrants and colonizers? They have white privilege and are white (not just pass). Perez Hilton is white. Just like many Cubans.

        @J, racial privilege is not the same thing as language, economic, cultural privilege. It’s based on race alone, he is racially white.. and that is why he has white privilege. White Latin Americans have white privilege, many of them may not have language, economic, birth, cultural privileges but the same goes for the many recent European immigrants from areas in Eastern Europe for example.. so why does a white Cuban not have privilege but a Russian immigrant does?,, even though many Russians came and come to the US with no money while many Cuban Americans left Cuba wealthy.

  25. AMY KING January 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM #

    Her career ‘hangs in the balance’? Not her sales:

    Azealia Banks sees sales surge after Angel Haze Twitter spat
    Rapper sees small spike in sales after dubbing Perez Hilton a ‘messy faggot’

    http://www.nme.com/news/azealia-banks/68096

  26. AMY KING January 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM #

    She also apologizes – a not so common response:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jan/07/azealia-banks-perez-hilton

  27. schmaltz lundquist January 10, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

    Reblogged this on things i'm keeping in mind and commented:
    “Azealia Banks’ career allegedly hangs in the balance and Perez Hilton’s remains firmly intact. She’s now regarded as the ratchet, violently homophobic black woman. …This isn’t two wrongs make a right, but rather, one wrong is minimized, and the other, pathologized.”

    BOOM.

    • Invisible Man January 10, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

      Shhhhhhhhhhh*iiiiiiiiiiit white folks pull ways and reasons out the thin air to marginalize progressive Black folk while elevating Black folk like our President who panders and fawns all over them. If it wasn’t this, then it would be something else. It’s easy to lower the BOOM on revolutionary Black voices when you get to set and dictate the rules, especially rules that benefit you wether you access them now or access them later.

  28. Tally January 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

    Just personally, no offense or nothing, I can’t deal with words like *-normative, “binary,” and “narrative.” I don’t like the “linguistic turn” in philosophy that suggests that everything understandable can be understood through a “textual analysis” of real life. I’m not a fan of deconstructionism, postmodernism, or deconstructionist postmodern feminism. I don’t like the Frankfurt school of critical theory, or Habermas, or Derrida, or Foucault.

    It’s a way of looking at things, so whatever, I’m just not into all that. I think it sometimes obfuscates real simple things.

    So when I was in third grade, my (still) best friend hit me or made fun of my height (I’m still short) or something, and I pulled back my eyes at him (he’s Chinese).

    I did not pull back my eyes at him to emphasize his “Other-ness,” I did not do it to re-establish our “power dynamic,” I did not do it to “exploit the historicity of psychosocial Sino-phobia.” I did it to hurt his feelings, because I knew that it was mean, even if I didn’t understand the context.

    So dag, sometimes a jab is just a jab, you see?

    • Invisible Man January 10, 2013 at 9:53 PM #

      Yea, Tally, why aint I surprised that your list of stuff you “can’t deal with” just happens to be the vocabulary of the marginazlied/ Oppressed people to explain what they have to deal with? Sounds just as the anti politically correct movement that arose when oppressed people started calling out the white boys in power on their exclusionist and oppressive behavior. And no offense but your third grade simplistic story sounds awfully Reagan-esque. I know, Americans like it simple which is normal for a race and class living in denial.

      • Tally January 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM #

        No worries, my third grade story took place at the end of the Reagan administration.

    • Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:10 AM #

      thank you so much for commenting. People use whatever tools they can to bully people, especially those of us who seek out solidarity after lifetimes of abuse. what you call a “linguistic turn” is how college-trained trustafarians tell us how they are “oppressed” because somebody “looked at me wrong.”

      Read Foucault. Don’t trust people who name drop him without dealing with some of the real insights he had. I’m not all about him. But the way in which our lives are written in our bodies, not simply in language choices — that’s real. Regulative societies, the idea of “normativity.” All that stuff is real. If we don’t deal with it, we can’t move forward. Otherwise we just change the names while the game remains the same.

    • Dobbajay January 11, 2013 at 2:09 AM #

      Perfect analysis of an overblown and Verbose article. Most of the commentary evidences better insight to the topic than Edward’s article. Next time put the thesaurus away and get to the point.

  29. Daniel January 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM #

    Perez needs to stop acting so high and mighty, a few years ago he used to out celebrities on his blog, draw dicks on celebrity pictures…he was a certified bully! Now he’s out butting into “twitter-feuds” (which are kind of dumb but wtv)?

    I love this part of the article:

    “Ironically, many gay men who are up in arms over Azealia’s use of the word faggot are the same men who render femme-identified men invisible and undesirable.”

    Azealia Banks is rapper, her lyrics are crass, and you either love her or hate her ( I love her)..love her or hate her as a bisexual women she is PART of “our” gay community so I DOUBT that she’s a “homophobic black woman” as people are accusing her of.

    I don’t like the word “faggot” at all, but if someone is gonna say it I rather it be her (a bi woman) that from someone else

  30. Ricky Rachet January 11, 2013 at 12:06 AM #

    is it just me, or is all this “anti-oppression” semantics gaming a pale shadow of liberation politics? I’m not anti-oppression, after hearing that talk for years I still have no fucking idea what they are talking about. I’m pro-liberation, pro-people.

    Also, there is no such thing as “cis” and there is no “privilege” to being born a man or woman, or a heterosexual. Otherwise the word just stops meaning anything. Having two legs is not a privilege even if there are real difficulties to have none. Inheriting a mansion? THAT is privilege. Having an exclusive right to vote? THAT is privilege.

    Every difference in capacity or how people treat you is not “oppression.” Equating all of this is just paralyzing. We seriously need to grow up if we wish to have communities that develop instead of stew in identarian oppression olympics. I am so thankful I left the Bay Area and moved back to where people don’t confuse their costumes with a worldview. Also, people are so damned mean with that shit. Try treating people decently on general principle. Because it’s hard not to notice who gets “called out” and who gets a pass, which has everything to do with your position in the “community” and almost nothing to do with what one actually does. If that’s what you want, to impose all your Bay Area/elite college vocabularies on whoever will put up with it, enjoy. It beats dealing with real problems. (Housing, health, sanity, peace. The shit you have to fight for and that has nothing to do with the shade dispensaries that dress up like all radical and shit.

    • caro-the-fish-o (@theevilhour) January 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

      I wholeheartedly agree. Vocabulary games is nothing more than a cover for one’s insecurity. Throw in a few fad words like handicapped, oppression, privileged, and you get a hit with the rest of the posers. Nothing wrong with posing, but with real style, please.

      Victim mentality forever plaques my community; it’s frustrating.

    • Mendieta'sNieta January 12, 2013 at 12:58 AM #

      Yes, you’re so very right. Let’s pretend there is no such thing as transphobia, homophobia, and ableism. Y’know, all the axes of oppression that create very real barriers to access to the “real” problems we should be thinking about like, oh say… HOUSING and HEALTH. Because surely no trans person, LGBTQI2 person or dis/abled person (or someone who is all of the above) was denied housing or health justice based on them being trans, Queer, or dis/abled. That never happens.
      If you’re “pro-liberation” and “pro-people”… perhaps you should consider how hypocritical it is to dismiss the lived experiences of oppression of trans, Queer and dis/abled people. As an able-bodied cis woman, I don’t have to face some of those challenges. That’s called privilege.

      Signed, A lokita from East LA who never went to college to learn elitist vocab but has enough sense to call some bullsh!t when she sees it.

      • Jeanine January 14, 2013 at 10:30 AM #

        Preach!

      • caro-the-fish-o (@theevilhour) January 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM #

        You mean, you don’t know what it’s like to be trans, colored, disabled. And you pretend you know. Well I’m trans, colored, and many of the listed things including some disabilities, and I’ve not run into much problem with housing and health care. None. The real day to day problems are stuff like bathroom issues which you’ll never understand. And I’m insulted that you think we trans people are all uneducated, jobless, and can’t take care of ourselves.

  31. lala January 11, 2013 at 1:22 AM #

    Good points.

  32. Natalie January 11, 2013 at 2:06 AM #

    Oh… cool… whitewashing a latino queer, ignoring the cissexism of “male who acts like a female”, ignoring the OTHER homophobic statements, treating American racial tensions as simply a black/white dynamic, as though there’s no OTHER racial identities or forms of racial tension, leaving out the context of Angel Haze and Azealia Banks’ own problematic histories in their lyrics (I don’t know Banks all that well, but I’m a fan of Haze, and some seriously ableist and seriously misogynistic shit pops to mind), acting like queer women are someone excused from or above homophobia, mentioning femphobia then totally failing to explore the dimension existing in one aspect of the exchange, claiming it’s not about “sides” and then CLEARLY choosing a side (BASED on whitewashing, no less!), etc.

    WOW.

    How many failures of intersectionality can POSSIBLY exist in a single incident?

    This article is hilarious in how it takes a situation where a group of people all balancing various privileges and oppressions all fucked-up at intersectional awareness, and then adds even MORE fuck-ups of intersectional awareness on top of it.

    Yeah, Hilton is scum. And represents a lot of the absolute worst in contemporary cis gay male culture. And he’s wielding the bulk of the privilege in the altercation. But he isn’t white, and he isn’t “the bad guy” here.

  33. Natalie January 11, 2013 at 2:10 AM #

    P.S. light-skinned =/= “white”.

    • Invisible Man January 11, 2013 at 1:02 PM #

      Natalie,

      It’s not about white washing a Latino queer, but when a Latino queer whitewashes himself, he should get treated that way. Latinos like gay white men, like white women, often are direct threats to the Black community as they use their “minority” status( that becomes a privilege) against Black interests. The last two challenges against affirmative action in the Supreme Court came from white women, who benefit from it more than Black people.Hispanics frequently choose white over Black. In Chicago iit happens all the time . I know this is an academic conversation for many of you, but for some of us issues of race mean life and death. I love me some Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and Lula in Brazil, because they express, and operate in solidarity with the Black community/ Diaspora. But that is not so for a lot of Latino’s.

      For your community, they might be just another oppressed minority awaiting your noblesse oblige, but for us they operate often as white, look at George Zimmerman, he describes himself as Hispanic.

      • Natalie January 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM #

        Yeah, I want to be open to your perspective here, but when you’re saying stuff like “minority status as a privilege”, and going ahead and just straight up, again, calling latin@s white, yeah… I’m having a hard time trusting where you’re coming from.

        Black people can be light-skinned and “pass” for white too, and black people can ALSO internalize white-supremacism, and black people can ALSO become part of white-supremacist consciousness and oppression of other PoC. There’s no reason to single out light-skinned latin@ people here. This shit gets internalized by ALL PoC, just like oppression gets internalized by ALL persecuted groups everywhere ever (“I’m a str8-acting gay man, I only date REAL men, not these fags and queens”, “I’m a woman-born-transsexual, I have Harry Benjamin Syndrome, I’m REALLY a woman, not like these perverts and trans-trenders”, or…say…”tough” women saying tons of misogynistic shit in their lyrics).

        There are forms of privilege and forms of oppression and forms of internalized oppression that aren’t about black vs. white.

      • Natalie January 11, 2013 at 1:15 PM #

        P.S. I’m also gonna bow out, because I’m a bit worried about falling into whitesplaining (i.e. “here, let me explain to all you PoC what race is REALLY like”). But I was seriously grossed out by the whitewashing, and the hypocrisy regarding the screw-ups on intersectionality in, like, EVERY direction of this. This is a situation where there’s lots of different prviileges working in lots of different directions, but EVERY stupid thing someone on some side has said has been a product of that, with no clearly definable “privileged party”. Like the “messy faggot” comments were ALSO about privilege, not regarding “homophobia”, but regarding femphobia, and the social dichotomy of Butch > Femme.

      • picaresco January 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM #

        But who gets to determine who “whitewashes” himself? Hilton’s birth name and penname both evince his identity and, by all accounts, he identifies as Latino. The whole point is that “Latino” has become its own race through social construction, it’s distinct from white.

        I’m not sure that making assumptions about what experiences people have had with their identity – I’m a light-skinned Latino who can pass so long as no one looks too close or asks my name, but this has been an issue of life or death for me too in very real ways.

      • Invisible Man January 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM #

        Well looks like we’re even steven Natalie, cause I damn sure don’t trust were you’re coming from as I’ve seen it all too often, which is why I mistrust liberal whites.

        Look what you’re doing. So now I’m Anti Hispanic even though I mentioned Chavez, and Castro and Lula. None of that resonated with you? Course not, cause you didn’t even read what I wrote cause you’re so much smarter than I so why wast the time right?

        This is what “you” do divide and conquer. So once again YES a when Other Minorities like liberal white women, and gay white men and hispanics harm my community and then hide beside their “otherness” their minority status, I call them out, just like I did Zimmerman when he shot that Black boy down in the street and all of a sudden he’s not racist because he’s Latino.

        But I’m done here. See this is why I’d rather deal with white republicans and the tea party, because at least there honest about their B.S. So at least you know where they”re coming from and where they stand. And thanks for the lecture on other forms of oppression including Black people passing for white because clearly I’m too ignorant to understand that or read Fanon. That’s why we need yall to teach us. Man I miss Cynthia Mckinney

      • picaresco January 11, 2013 at 1:53 PM #

        I’m not sure that making assumptions about what experiences people have had with their identity *is productive*, rather.

      • Natalie January 11, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

        Invisible Man:

        I understand your reaction, because I was definitely doing some whitesplaining in my first response. I’ll own up to that, and apologize.

        But please don’t make assumptions about what I was getting at. I sure as fuck don’t think it’s my job to “teach” you, through my “objective” perspective, or whatever-the-fuck. It was definitely a mistake on my part to come in here and be all “let me explain how internalized oppression and light-skinned privileged works”.

        That said, though, the shitty way I approached the interaction here doesn’t mean the underlying points aren’t worth thinking about. I don’t blame you for just being like “fuck this” and bowing out, but I would appreciate if people here just took a moment to think about the problematic nature of white-washing.

        Also: wrote a couple things below, including an important disclaimer that I am not even REMOTELY interested in defending or excusing Perez Hilton for ANYTHING.

      • Natalie January 11, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

        P.S.

        Race isn’t purely an academic issue for me (though I’m positioned to be able to treat it as such). I also live with the reality of race every day, I’m just on the privileged side of those realities. That grants me the luxury of being able to take it for granted (which is an essential part of privilege: you get to take it for granted), and it takes deliberate, constant attention and effort to make sure I perceive those realities, but they’re still there. As I’m sure you already know, white is ALSO a race, not “normal”, “default”, or “neutral”. Privileged identities are still identities within the social contexts surrounding them. Just like “cis” and “man” are still realties of gender, “straight” is still a reality of sexuality, etc.

        Just because I’m privileged to ignore the realities of race doesn’t mean they don’t effect me.

        I know you already know this, I’m just making a (kind of minor) point.

        P.P.S.

        In a sense, I probably shouldn’t have said anything here. Since it technically doesn’t matter if I’m “right”, it’s still not my role to say anything on the matter of the racial dynamics here. So apologies for that as well.

        I’m, apparently, ALSO a part of the big gigantic pile-up of fuck-ups and hypocrisy surrounding this.

        Light-skinned PoC, or PoC who can “pass” for white, are in a WAY better position to talk about these issues than I am.

        And I’m not being sarcastic, for the record.

        P.P.P.S.

        But I certainly AM in a perfectly good position to call out the explicit femphobia and cissexism in Banks’ statements, and point out how fucked up it is to mention “cis privilege” in the title as an empty nod to that problematic element of queer politics and then not actually say a damn thing about that dimension of the exchange, or follow though on it. Knowing “cis privilege” is a thing, and a problem in the queer community, is not enough. Knowing what it means, and recognizing it, and cissexism, and femphobia, when THEY’RE STARING YOU IN THE FACE, is what matters.

      • J. January 12, 2013 at 5:18 PM #

        Invisible Man, you essentially accused Natalie of labeling your post as “anti-Hispanic” and are appalled by it? Please own your own words. You did just make a sweeping generalization about Latinos. In your own words: “…Latinos like gay white men, like white women, often are direct threats to the Black community as they use their ‘minority’ status…” You are creating the divide-and-conquer with your own words.

      • Jeanine January 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM #

        J, I totally agree you!
        Invisible Man, you need to check your own words and stop acting like a victim when you are the one doing the attacking.
        Natalie, everyone has a voice and everyone has a right to use it. You were bringing good points to the table.

    • Bernardo January 14, 2013 at 1:24 AM #

      Please do yourself a favor and educate yourself before you look foolish posting on the internet. Starting with reading something about Latin America; specifically Cuba:

      There are many white Cubans especially in the United States:
      “The majority of the ancestry of White Cubans comes from Spaniards. During the 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th century especially, large waves of Canary Islanders, Galicians, Asturians, and Catalans emigrated from Spain to Cuba. Other European nationalities which immigrated include: English, Scots, Russians, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Italians, Greeks, French, Germans and Irish. There is a small remnant of a Jewish community.”

      Not to mention Afro Cubans.

      Are you telling that Perez Hilton is just a darker version of Arsenio Rodríguez (famous Afro Cuban musician search him). He is clearly a white man, and has white privilege, like many Cuban Americans. LATINO-IS-NOT-A-RACE.

      Listen, I know you Americans are not very knowledgeable about the world outside of your four corners, but if you want to fight for a cause how about you inform yourself on the issue first?

      I’m from Latin America and my father is of German descent while my mother is of Hungarian, So does the fact that my parents families immigrated to Uruguay instead of the United States negate their race? Think deep and hard there.

      Oh and let me repeat, just because someone embraces their heritage doesn’t mean they embrace such terms as Latino or Hispanic. I fully embrace my nation, but reject those terms. Even if they do identify as Hispanic or Latino, again, that is not a race, it doesn’t cancel out their race. And white Latinos have the same white privilege as any other whites in the United States. They may not have language, social economic, birth privileges but neither do European immigrants who immigrated here in the last 20 to 10 years from such places as the Eastern Bloc.

  34. Mecca January 11, 2013 at 2:40 AM #

    Thank you.

  35. Kareem January 11, 2013 at 7:25 AM #

    As a cis black gay man I really appreciated this read. I know a few other cis gay black men that also thought this A vs P controversy seemed heavy with hypocrisy, and I know they will appreciate this as much as I did; so I’m sharing it with them as much as I can.

    Can’t wait to read more.

  36. Brrryce January 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM #

    What the hell is “Cis”?

    • caro-the-fish-o (@theevilhour) January 11, 2013 at 8:26 PM #

      CIS: A word thrown into unrelated word stew to make one sound hip and progressive.

    • Natalie January 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM #

      “Cis” = “Not Trans”

      Not much excuse, in 2013, for still not knowing this. ‘Specially if you read articles about feminism, gender and queer issues.

      • J. January 12, 2013 at 5:02 PM #

        A self-righteous approach to “teaching” is never going to help anyone…

      • caro-the-fish-o (@theevilhour) January 13, 2013 at 1:05 PM #

        Natalie, Wow. Does it make you feel good about yourself when you insult people for not knowing your terms? Please don’t call yourself an activist if you intend to exclude people. I’m trans and I learned this only a year ago from a trans rights activist “CIS” person who had no idea what it’s like to be trans.

  37. S. Mandisa Moore January 11, 2013 at 6:29 PM #

    Natalie,

    I love how you make this a black/white binary and not-so-implicitly blame black people for this black/white binary.

    Let’s be clear: black people did NOT invent this binary, white supremacy did. And we dont deconstruct white supremacy by ignoring this.

    Invisible Man: I see you, brother, and whole-heartedly agree.

    • Natalie January 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM #

      Yeah, I know it’s a byproduct of white-supremacy. I’m definitely NOT “blaming black people” for the existence of the problem. White people created the problem, definitely. My talking about it doesn’t mean I’m assigning responsibility to black people to “fix it”. If its anyone’s responsibility to “fix”, it’s ours (white people), since we both created the problem AND have greater power/privilege to get listened to by our institutions of power.

      But it’s also a somewhat Americo-centric view to position blackness as inherently a more targeted racial identity than others. And even regionally specific WITHIN the United States. What anti-black sentiment means relative to anti-hispanic sentiment is different between, say, the Eastern Seaboard and the Southwest.

      And in Canada, First Nations people are “public enemy number one” in terms of the racial dynamic (and regional shit can exist too: anti-filipino sentiment in Vancouver, anti-indian sentiment in Toronto, etc.)

      Yeah, I know I’m walking on REAL thin ice here re: whitesplaining, and I’m doing my best to not end up ADDING to the big pile of fuck-ups surrounding this whole thing (though I think I already did, above, in my initial response to the person criticizing me). But I think, at the very least, it deserves to be acknowledged that straight-up calling this an instance of “white gay privilege” is problematic. As is invoking femphobia and cis privilege and then failing to follow that shit through, in terms of what was wrong with Banks’ statements.

      Again: I LOATHE Perez Hilton, and TOTALLY agree he represents most everything wrong with contemporary gay culture. And while I think both Banks and Haze have a lot of problematic shit in their music, and Banks said some seriously problematic shit, I *respect* them both, where I *don’t* respect Hilton. But NONE of that means it’s cool to act like whitewashing is a non-issue.

      • Invisible Man January 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM #

        Thank you for your reply above, but unfortunately again you are far far off the mark, and indeed your comment

        “it’s also a somewhat Americo-centric view to position blackness as inherently a more targeted racial identity than others”,

        IS basically what conservative to liberal white people (as oppose to a progressive white people like Barbara Ehrenreich and others who’ve studied these issues with the socratic care in which they deserve ) tell Black folk all the time, i.e.;

        we complain too much,

        every body has suffered,

        we don’t have a monopoly on suffering,

        at one point in history every body was slaves, etc,etc,etc,

        What they and You assume ( maybe from a common stereo type) that WE are an emotion people, making an emotional argument, void of statistics and well reached facts, comparing Latinos, white gay men, white women, straight white, etc against Black women and men in America.

        Facts and statistic concerning social and economic well-being. Facts and statistic that measure murder rates, poverty rates, standardized testing, drop out rates, prison incarceration rates, employment hiring, rates etc against other minorities and the majority in America.

        Further you are saying we have no understanding of historic and present coalitions between minorities groups( including Jews) were that that succeeded and failed.

        You are assuming that we don’t know what Hispanic groups tend to enter coalitions with Blacks and which don’t.

        And seriously you’re bringing in Canada to the table, why? to make a point you can’t even make in America about something that happening in America?

        But still I’m in a good mood, well not enough do do this over going out for a drink. But I will say this with authority Canada’s treatment of minorities is apples and oranges compared Americas treatment of Black People and First Nation people. It’s why Black people escaped to Canada. It’s why they have a better healthcare system, etc.

        Finally I have had my “beefs” with the women of Crunk, but I never entered an argument with the proposition that I have more formal or a superior educating than them, but then again generally I can tell some one’s general level of education by their writing, I guess we are just not cutting for you according to your responses. There was a reason why I brought Zimmerman to the table because I understand the local and national politics of race, gender and class, And there is a reason why I brought Fidel, Lula and Chavez to the table because I know them on an international level. I’m not the the most knowledgeable, but I can cite respected resources to make my case.

        Peace and Justice to you,

        I.M

      • S. Mandisa Moore January 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM #

        Once again, Natalie:

        YOU are bringing these assumptions about centering blackness. How does a conversation about Perez Hilton being white (because it is possible to be white and Cuban-after all, who colonized the island and named it Cuba?) mean that black people are making this about us?

        Like, YOU have decided something about blackness and seem to be projecting that.

        And I just love how you continue to white-splain while constantly saying “Im on thin ice” or “I dont mean to”..honestly, that just makes it worse to me.

        Perez Hilton aint ish to me-never have been, never will be. What concerns me is how much attention we are giving to Banks-where were folks to call out Charlie Sheen’s latest homophobic remark or his refusal to apologize? We have to hold her responsible for what she said AND be honest that black female bodies are both under hyper-scrutiny and dehumanized on the regular. Does talking about black women mean we don’t see the importance/organize around Indigenous sovereignty issues, xenophobia-of course not? There is enough problematic behavior for us to give attention to all of them.

      • Natalie January 12, 2013 at 4:27 PM #

        P.S.

        I COMPLETELY agree with you that the amount of attention being paid to Banks remark, and the amount of forgiveness we give people like Charlie Sheen (incidentally ALSO LATINO, btw), is fucked-up and a really really important aspect of all this. The fact that Banks’ career is suffering so much for a remark that, while problematic, isn’t MORE problematic than shit that white entertainers say all the fucking time without any real consequences.

        Reminds me of people who say shit like “I don’t listen to rap because it’s so sexist!” and then put on a fucking Rolling Stones tape.

        Also connects with issues like the bigoted, false ideas that “the black community has a homophobia problem!, the way that “feeling safe” is used as a cudgel by wealthy cis gay men to gentrify neighbourhoods and push out economically disadvantaged PoC populations, etc.

        I don’t for even a second believe that stuff like that isn’t a form of white-supremacism, or a form of white-supremacism that’s gained a whole lot of traction within contemporary white cis gay male culture, and the ultra-consumerist, ultra-assimilationist form it’s taken.

    • Invisible Man January 11, 2013 at 9:18 PM #

      Namaste, My Sista yoor intellectual and cultural capital and weaponry gives me hope, in the midnight hour of the American Empire! Hotep!

    • Natalie January 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM #

      No, S. Mandista, that’s not what I meant. Wasn’t about “y’all complain too much”. Was about that how shit works in one place isn’t necessarily how it works in another place. Absolutely blackness IS a specifically targeted racial identity in the United States, and fighting it tooth and nail is something we all need to be doing. But applying specific aspects of racial tension in the States to the global realities of racism is americo-centric. That is ALL I meant with that point.

      Please give me at least a little of the benefit of the doubt here. You don’t HAVE to, and you don’t really have any reason to trust me, but I’m asking, in good faith.

      I’m not going to say “I’m an ally!” or “I’m not a racist!” or even “my perspectives aren’t conditioned by white privilege!”, because it doesn’t fucking matter what I think I think, I’m still affected by white privilege privilege and all the biases that go along with that. However, I’m definitely not coming in here with the intent of shutting down or belittling any racial discourse. I just saw some shit that creeped me out in this article (the whitewashing, the femphobic and cissexist aspects getting ignored, etc.) and was creeped out by how much people were failing in regards to the complexity of the intersectionality stuff. And I, somewhat recklessly / stupidly, parachuted into the conversation here. I probs should have kept my point about the whitewashing to simply agreeing with commenters above that it’s an issue worth looking at, and focused more on the cissexism/femphobia stuff. But still, NONE of this was in defense of HIlton, or about dismissing / belittling the concerns OP and you and others were making.

      Anyway, I’m not going to pursue any further “debate” here, because I definitely DID fuck-up, re: whitesplaining etc. Just wanted to clarify where I was coming from. You don’t have any obligation to believe me, trust me, or even really give a fuck, I’m just offering an attempt at understanding. For my part, I do understand why you think I’m coming from a shitty place with everything, and why you don’t want to bother trying to read my comments in a “positive light” or whatever.

  38. caro-the-fish-o (@theevilhour) January 11, 2013 at 7:59 PM #

    Which headline would you choose?

    #1: Hard ass black femcee career in hot water after tweet war in response to oppression from white-homonormaltive-non-disabled-ciz-male previliged Perez Hilton,

    Or,

    #2: Rap artist saw sales increase by 18% after calling Perez Hilton “messy faggot,” “dickbreath,” and told him to “gobble a dick” and “kill himself.”

    If I were her, I would have just owned the mistake and tweeted, “I’m sorry about the insensitive comments, I just lost it and wanted to hurt Perez’s feelings.” And that would have been blown over in 5 seconds. But that’d be too much for a hard-ass-black-femcee who raps like Madonna. I’m speaking as a transgendered, colored, nobody ever called normal, and living in the SF Bay Area person. Thank goodness my brain is still intact.

  39. prolifictunes January 12, 2013 at 2:42 AM #

    I feel it is unfortunate that Azelia Bank’s label dropped her, however, I feel it is wrong for her to call Perez Hilton a “messy faggot”. I believe that is homophobic and a form of internalized homophobia. And Perez Hilton is hispanic of Cuban descent so this isn’t about him being white. He has light features and what not, but you are not taking into account his full identity as a hispanic person. I am not siding with either person. Perez Hilton has had his share of trash talking many people. I would rather hear folks speak well of others. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your perspective.

    • Invisible Man January 12, 2013 at 5:41 PM #

      I happen to use the “N” word and consider it might right as a radically progressive Black male, to rather hear folks speak well to me sounds like civility over justice, which is the problem of white liberals, no disrespect to you.

    • Bernardo January 14, 2013 at 1:32 AM #

      How do you know he identifies as Latino or Hispanic? Many Cuban Americans identify only as Cuban, Hispanic and Latino are American conceptions. Just because he calls himself Cuban and embraces Cuban culture that doesn’t mean he embraces being called Latino or Hispanic. Even if he did call himself Latino or Hispanic that does not cancel out being white, neither Latino or Hispanic are racial cateogries, and Latin Americans come in all races. Light features is one thing, but he’s white, he is Caucasian,he looks like man from Europe, that is not just light features there are light skinned Mestizos and Mulatos, but he is just white. A light skinned Mestizo (non-white) Latino would be Mario Lopez, compare the two.

  40. Miss Cistene Chapel January 12, 2013 at 6:36 AM #

    Do she look like a girl going to school?

  41. thines16 January 12, 2013 at 8:05 AM #

    Reblogged this on afro-REBELista and commented:
    Great article analyzing an issue rarely talked about.

  42. frizzle January 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM #

    Reblogged this on QueerWes.

  43. Serene January 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM #

    Someone else posted that HER ALBUMS SALES SPIKED after the incident with Perez Hilton. So, it did help her in a way to get more exposure. She was still wrong though. I was brought up that faggot was a very harsh word to say. Also, my brother is gay, so I feel a certain way about what she said. Perez blogs about celebrity spats that’s how he makes money. So, both of them are being paid for what happened here. No matter if one of them has more privilege or not. Both Perez Hilton and Azealia Banks are more privilege than us common folks.

  44. Jahunka January 12, 2013 at 2:24 PM #

    How does cis privilege play into this? They’re both cis individuals. And sorry, when did “gay” privilege become a thing? If anything, Azaelia’s the one who yields both straight privilege most of the time in her public relationships, but being able to queer herself whenever she wants to seem edgy and contemporary.

    I don’t understand how the white appropriation of “black femininities” even plays into this discussion? First off, gay men HAVE NOT appropriated black female identities. Most of it was created by GAY MEN themselves via house cullture and the ballroom scenes. Of course it was gay people of colour, mainly latino and black gay men. So sorry but your idea that (white) gay men being sassy is an “ontological mockery” of black female identities is completely absurd.

    And how does a gay man calling a straight man a faggot compare to this? How are you drawing up these stupid comparisons? Also, a masculine of center queer gay man appropriating the word ‘bitch’ isn’t really the same thing if you look at the fact that gay men, masculine or not, are often called bitches because of their gay identity.

    Azaelia has a long history of homophobic remarks against gay men. Suggesting anal rape as punishment, telling him to gobble up some dicks, and others that directly degrade and insult gay men for engaging in gay sex. She has a lot of issues.

    It’s extremely frustrating to see people sticking up for her just because she’s a black and female. Sorry, black women are just as homophobic as the rest of the world and that doesn’t excuse or negate her homophobia. This post reeks of derailing 101. I am done with her.

    • glikethis January 13, 2013 at 3:46 AM #

      true true. this article and all other cis whatever long ass college essay posts like this are um, redundant and just not true.

    • DNC January 14, 2013 at 3:43 AM #

      I agree with some of what you are saying, but where you are completely and utterly wrong is in the history/creation of black femininity. It was NOT created by gay men. It was created by BLACK WOMEN. That’s why it’s called BLACK FEMININITY. Are you kidding me? Black female identities existed waaaay before the house and ballroom scenes. Those scenes have only existed for what? The past few decades? The black feminine identity that is being referred to is based on CENTURIES of history and how black womyn are treated and they respond to that treatment. All gay men did was take common characteristics of black womyn and exaggerated them for the sake of performance (whether that performance was social or theatrical), which is appropriation.

      And cis-privilege has EVERYTHING to do with this. The fact is male-bodied people have privilege over female-bodied people. Whether they are gay,straight, bi, whatever. It doesn’t matter. They will ALWAYS have privilege over female-bodied people when it comes to certain (not all) situations, especially when the male-bodied person is cis. This is definitely one of those situations. So even though they are both cis, Hilton’s cis-identity undoubtedly has more power in this situation over Banks’ cis-identity.

      And when it comes to the word “bitch,” gay men also appropriate that, even though it is a word commonly used against gay men. I also believe that it is a word appropriated by womyn. The reason being that the word is an attack on feminine identity, whether that identity belongs to a womyn, man, and anyone else. To take that word and cater its purpose to your situation is an appropriation. No matter who you are.

      Do I think Banks is oppressive towards womyn and queer people? Fuck yes. Despite the fact that she is a womyn and is queer, she says a lot of fucked up shit. So does Hilton. Do I think this article did a good job of portraying that? No. But you definitely need to be corrected in your attempt to correct this article.

    • Natalie January 14, 2013 at 4:50 PM #

      Cis privilege plays into it regarding the “male acting like a female” part, and the dimension of femphobia with “butch” positioned as tough, real, legit with “feminine” positioned as shallow, superficial, weak.

      Misogyny, cissexism, trans-misogyny, homophobia, femphobia… these things are completely intertwined. You can’t really talk about one without at least acknowledging the others.

  45. pachajota January 12, 2013 at 3:54 PM #

    “imma read, imma read, imma read.” -zebra katz

  46. glikethis January 13, 2013 at 3:42 AM #

    perez passes as white. so that’s why he’s being called white, if u look white u have a white experience.
    he’s an asshole, but all this bullshit is windbaggin i remember college fuck everyone i see what cis means it all seems so masturbatory, this language and the length of article(s). i guess everyone’s just trynna figure out their own shit.

  47. Samuel Taylor Howard January 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM #

    …or maybe Azaelia Banks is just an asshole? I stopped following her on twitter over the summer after she made a rape joke, and I guess no one else seems to have remembered that. How’s that for context? I’m not disagreeing about racism/sexism in cis-gender white male homosexual culture, but there is such a thing as projecting ideals onto another person, and the internalization of ideals of the oppressors.

    “Azealia calling Perez a ‘messy faggot’ suggests an attempt to assert her status as a no-nonsense, hard ass femcee in a largely masculine of center dominated hip-hop industry.” – And this is something we’re supposed to admire? Wanting to make a name for yourself in an industry that systematically degrades you? Once again, it sounds to me like internalizing the ideals of the oppressors here. If you’ve been mistreated, mistreating others should never be considered “empowering” or permissible.

    This article has me fuming.

    • eatingthepages January 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM #

      Well written Samuel: “If you’ve been mistreated, mistreating others should never be considered “empowering” or permissible.”

  48. marcela January 13, 2013 at 7:36 PM #

    Mario Armando Lavandeira, or Perez Hilton, is not white, he’s Cuban. He’s light skinned but if we are going to complicate and sophisticate such understandings as sexuality and privilege should we not complicate and sophisticate our notions of race as well?

    • Bernardo January 14, 2013 at 1:34 AM #

      Cuban is not a race, there are many white Cubans and many Black Cubans and many Cubans who are a mixture of Black and White. There is no Latino race, I would expect someone with the name Marcela to know that.

    • Jeanine January 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM #

      I’ve read through most of this thread and the majority of the critiques were right on point. CFC should acknowledge the critiques and have the author (or someone) write a revision of this blog post in response to the major shortfalls. CFC is an amazing blog and I fear that if the ‘white-washing’ of Perez Hilton goes unacknowledged it might alienate alot of readers. Although Azealia is suffering unequal repercussions for her actions she does not deserve a pass, we can go further with this analysis. Lets ensure we are building a community that respects the experiences of all people of color. This article does a disservice to the multiple intersectionalities it is trying to uncover by boiling this down to black/white. Isn’t this community supposed to be about learning, supporting each other and growing? How can we do that if we dont acknowledge missteps and make an effort to correct?

  49. DNC January 14, 2013 at 3:06 AM #

    Though you say some valid things in this article, there is no possible way that Azealia Banks is NOT part of the population that is the target of the word “faggot.” First off, she is queer, therefore she is a part of that population. As a black womyn that also identifies as bisexual, I have, in fact, been a target of that word. Second off, there are many people that aren’t queer that still remain targets of the word. It is not just used against queer people, it is used against anyone that does not follow a particular norm or status quo. My point is you don’t know her story, therefore you cannot say (with truth) what she doesn’t experience. Despite having a partial understanding of what she does experience.

  50. ON THE WIRE JOURNAL January 15, 2013 at 1:09 PM #

    Reblogged this on ON THE WIRE.

  51. eatingthepages January 15, 2013 at 1:23 PM #

    I am soooo not throwing my $.02 in this discussion; rather, I would like to write that beyond the bandying about of definitions of race, class, gender, I am impressed with this blog post simply for its enlightening and academic treatment of pop culture. Also, I have just realized how long it has been since I’ve read gender/queer theory, because I don’t know what “cis” is. :-) So for me, this has been enlightening. Thanks!

  52. alienredqueen January 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM #

    You begin the article claiming you are not taking sides, yet the very next sentence positions you on Bank’s side, as does the rest of the article, inferring a partisan view on behalf of Banks, in this case, making her seem like a “victim” of society for being called out on her choice of words.
    You touch on an important point though when you mention that some words are “entrenched” in oppression. As a (reasonably) straight, white female, I am and always have been perplexed by the way members of a minority group,( be it a racial group or a non gender-normative group, etc) have disdain for these pejorative terms, yet use them on one another. I sincerely am not trying to offend anyone, but in my opinion, it’s a complicated dynamic when a black person can use the N-word to another, or one gay person can call another a “queer” (which I have been told is not necessarily pejorative, but where I live now, if a man calls another man queer, it’s CERTAINLY not a compliment) and it’s okay in some situations but not in others. I think the bottom line is, when you insult another person, no matter what words you use, your intent to insult is clear, and both of them should have known better than to engage in a very public adolescent-type feud.

  53. eunachaw January 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM #

    This has been the most interesting article I ever read on freshly pressed with people pouring out freely their thoughts. The beauty of writing is incredible. However, I want to point out that in the bible it is written God created one race which is the human race and he only used variations to beautify the earth. Three years ago I watched a documentary from BBC Channel 4 titled: How we became whites? Those who did the research they believed everyone came out of Africa million of years ago. No wonder if there is a cross breed between a white and black, the black genes dominates because that’s the original colour and the results are seen on the produce. Facts are facts and they are stubborn.

    • Justine Monikue January 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM #

      I Googled the BBC Channel 4 documentary you mentioned, but came up with nothing. Where can I find more info on this? I’m super curious!

  54. Twan January 15, 2013 at 10:33 PM #

    I’m curious as to why they author chose to call Perez Hilton white. Racially/ethnically he is Latino. Culturally, I can see how he can be considered white. That distinction needs to be made clear. Otherwise, interesting read.

  55. sicerely21 January 15, 2013 at 11:07 PM #

    Reblogged this on undertheeinfluence and commented:
    interesting facts of the week…is this fair or no?

  56. wynhaven January 15, 2013 at 11:52 PM #

    I honestly think that they both were quite ignorant but for Azealia to be hanged for what she said is shocking because what she said isn’t as harsh as what is said in todays music. which is accepted and applauded in our society.

  57. melanielynngriffin January 15, 2013 at 11:55 PM #

    I’m wondering why anyone would expect cultural sensitivity or civility from either a rapper or a gossip columnist. Not to stereotype, but it’s hardly surprising to hear such language from these quarters.

  58. ChopstickChunks January 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM #

    Reblogged this on Chopstick & Chunks and commented:
    You can’t get much cooler than crunk and feminism. The articles are very thoughtful on this page!

  59. Greg Probst January 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM #

    Insanely well written argument. I appreciate how logically your broke down the situation and analyzed key aspects. I particularly like your comments here: “Masculine of center queer men, notwithstanding race, appropriate the word bitch. Very often, they use it pejoratively, and with impunity. They’re seldom called out on the ubiquity of their misguided misogyny.” Great points made. Thank you for sharing.

  60. Justine Monikue January 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM #

    I don’t co-sign what Azealia Banks said in the least, but I’m not surprised, seeing as she’s made a reputation for going at people via Twitter. I’m not sure the issue is as deep as White gay-male privilege; it’s more about staying in your lane. Perez had no business inserting himself into a “fight” that wasn’t his, though Azealia needs to learn that sometimes silence is more powerful than words with weight.

  61. kelseysilbert January 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM #

    Follow me!

  62. primalnights January 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM #

    I was very impressed with the way to took this on with such an objective voice. I care nothing about the subject btu ha d to read the whole post because I was so interested in your ability to dissect the thing and remain on target without being sucked in.

    As the topic goes this is as important to me as a War Ostrich or Swan-of War, or twinkies protest.

  63. Lam The Mogul January 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

    Interesting

  64. Mafia Hairdresser January 18, 2013 at 4:58 AM #

    Great writing. Posted to twitter.

  65. Khürt Williams January 20, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

    “White gay cis men have cultural access to the bodies of black women and black femmes, cultural access that black women and black femmes do not have in relation to white gay cis male bodies.”

    I don’t know what “white gay cis male” means but your statement is put forward as fact but I think it is just your opinion.

  66. treesandtofu January 22, 2013 at 11:46 PM #

    Reblogged this on Trees and Tofu.

  67. Angel Villagomez February 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM #

    I don’t condone what she called Hilton, but I agree with you and have seen the privilege gay makes have, specifically with Dan Savage’s treatment of lesbians and bisexuals yet seen as a gay icon despite his bigotry.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Favorites from this week | Feminist Midwife - January 13, 2013

    [...] On Azealia Banks and White Gay Cis Male Privilege – Edward Ndopu at Crunk Feminist Collective [...]

  2. On The Observer’s transphobic bullying: This is what the war on trans women … | Dream Something - January 15, 2013

    [...] as a white, cisgender-male-looking person. I need to speak up when I see oppression happening, or as Perez Hilton experienced, stay out of spaces I needn’t occupy and check my privilege. I need to be mindful of when my [...]

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