By Kelly Langin, Contributor
In a time where social media breaks down the barriers from computer to computer, the personas behind each screen come alive when a controversial topic escalates. Needless to say, things can get really ugly instantly with social issues.
Such is the case when Robert Pattinson was recently seen holding hands with his new girlfriend, a replacement for his failed real-life-”Twilight”-fantasy relationship with Kristen Stewart. Before this reads like a generic tabloid, please note I don’t normally get sucked into celebrity gossip. I was intrigued when I read that his new girlfriend was FKA twigs, an upcoming British pop and R&B singer.
Articles pointed out that FKA twigs was being targeted on Twitter mostly for the color of her skin. A common buzzword was “monkey,” no doubt an insult meant to reach far past her looks and aimed to attack her race. It’s one thing to pin the downfall of a famous celebrity duo on a newcomer, but it becomes absolutely horrifying when hate becomes blatant racism.
FKA twigs, also known as Tahliah Barnett, released her critically-acclaimed debut album, “LP1,” in August. The album has since been surrounded by a lot of buzz, making Barnett one of the best new artists of this year. But her entry into the public eye is sadly overshadowed by being shamed as Pattinson’s “most ugly” girlfriend.
Barnett’s response to the abuse has been fairly quiet but she let the public know that this sort of prejudice should not be tolerated.
“Racism is unacceptable in the real world, and it’s unacceptable online,” she tweeted on Sept. 28.
Her label, Young Turks, also tweeted for support and asked to report any abuse to Twitter. They called the racist remarks “despicable and depressingly archaic.”
It’s terrifying that some feel it’s necessary to attack this woman – not because of her alternative style of music or her quirky fashion sense – but because she’s a black woman dating a white man. This ideology should be practically medieval at this point.
Unfortunately, a false sense of anonymity on the Internet still exists. When faced with a blank screen, it seems alright to project racial slurs as long as none are being spoken. Words don’t seem to carry as much weight when typed into a white box on a phone screen, but the results are public and can still be offensive.