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The Amazon-owned Twitch streaming service has blocked several prominent left-wing streamers for using a derogatory term aimed at white people. The word in question – ‘cracker.’

After their latest live streams Hassan Piker and Vaush, both boasting a substantial amount of followers and known for commenting on current events and politics from a liberal point of view, have had their channels blocked for violating Twitch’s community guidelines that prohibit the use of offensive slurs. 

It started when several moderators on Piker's channel received bans from Twitch after using the word ‘cracker.’ The streamer then commented on the matter and also used the word several times. After that his channel received a one-week suspension. 

For Vaush, however, who also used the slur during his stream, the ban is likely permanent, as he has attracted the attention of Twitch several times already and has received a number of bans in the past for some of his inflammatory comments such as ‘Americans deserved 9/11.’ 

Both content creators have since gone on social media to comment on the sudden bans, and many left-wing media outlets have since expressed outrage over what they see as overzealous moderation by Twitch. 

The streamers, as well as those defending them, claim that the platform should focus on racism directed towards people of color, and that the word ‘cracker’ is not as offensive as slurs used against black people, so therefore it should not even constitute a ban. 

“I’ve been called a cracker more times than every single one of you f*****g pasty little cracker bitches in my chat, okay?” said Hassan during the stream in response to a user saying the term was offensive to white people.

He went on to say: “Recognise that the person calling you a f*****g cracker is literally powerless, okay? Sorry, it’s just the truth. The person calling you a f*****g cracker is powerless. They’re doing it as someone who’s been historically oppressed blowing off steam.”

While the use of the term ‘cracker’ can be traced back to Shakespeare, in recent times it’s mainly been used by black people to describe whites. However, some have made the point that while the word has been used as a derogatory term in the past against lower-class white people and immigrants, it still doesn’t carry the same ‘systemic oppression’ that goes into racial slurs like the n-word, which they claim has been used to cause ‘literal harm to people of color.’ 

Prominent liberal games outlet Kotaku wrote: “The problem, of course, is that racism refers to overarching power structures, not if an innocuous word made you feel bad. Nor is ‘cracker’ equivalent to words historically used to subjugate and literally harm BIPOC.” 

For context, ‘racism,’ as defined by the modern left, has less to do with skin color or offensive words and pertains to power dynamics between races. Therefore, by their definition, racial slurs directed at white people cannot be constituted as racism since they are in a dominant and oppressive position within society as opposed to black people. 

While some have come out against the bans, arguing that no one should be banned for speech, others have seen the bans as justified, saying that no derogatory terms should be used by either side, and have pointed out the hypocrisy of liberals calling for bans on ‘hate-speech’ yet being shocked when the same policy is applied to them.