I was so upset by this, and realised that young people today are living not just with the racism that I faced growing up, but the double burden of racism and Islamaphobia. A world where, if you pick up Asianna or Diya magazine almost all the faces staring back at you belong to white women. When Muslims are mentioned in media, it is the faces of Angry, manical bearded brown men, or women who are heavily veiled with only eyes exposed.
While the response on social media has been overwhelmingly powerful and affirming of our Asian identity. There are a multitude of young Asians who are on their own and struggling with their identity. They are already having to deal with being called "paki/ terrorist/ refugee" and the usual curry related insults.
For many of us (and my generation included) Zayn Malik is the positive public face of Asianess. Growing up I had no real British Asian popular culture role models. In fact I was in my early 20s when I remember seeing M.I.A on TV for the first time. And being blown away by this brown girl who was confident, unapologetic and had hair like mine!!
I grew up as a fan girl to white and black music personalities.
Asians in the mainstream music industry were pretty non-existent. Our subculture desi scene was alive and thriving but for many of us Zayn Malik is the first to be accepted by popular culture.
“Remind him that we’re both in the same boat in this industry as people of colour by reminding him that no matter what you may think of yourself, the world still sees you as ‘other’ as they see me.” -Banks
I'm sure Zayn is fully aware of prejudice and hatred, like many young people who are growing up in world full of racism, islamphobia, Donald Trump and Katie Hopkins rhetoric.
I was fan of Azealia Banks, but after her rant against Zayn Malik and a 14 year old Jackson. I can no longer ignore her hatred. In the same way I cannot stomach Trump or Hopkins.
Her suspension from Twitter today highlights, that we live in a world where white people in power can get away with inciting hatred against an entire people, however, there are consequences for anyone else who tries it.
The real issue is that she is simply pushing the racist stereotypes of a potential presidential candidate and a media personality who is given a lot of airtime. Neither of who have been made to feel powerless, or had a platform taken away from them based on the hatred and racism they have spewed.
Enough said on the topic, Banks will again dissappear into oblivion, until the next twitter spat. Malik will continue to make music.
\nAnd young Asians are left to navigate a through a world where invisibility, racism and Islamaphobia are the norm.