Current Events

Dear Alyssa, Please Stop With Your Performative Twitter Social Justice

In January 2017, my blog begin with a critique of the Women’s March, a march that was heavily and primarily attended by White women in knitted pink pussycat hats as if we had forgotten that indeed 53% of White women that voted, voted for Donald Trump. As I watched the march on TV, I struggled to figure out why it was not resonating with me. I am a woman that believes in the liberation of ALL women, but something was amiss. And then the iconic picture of Angela Peoples came across my newsfeed and immediately I knew that was why I felt the way that I did.


Angela Peoples holding sign (Kevin Banatte)

While I support protesting, and marching I felt many of the White women during the November 2016 election were like the three White women in the background of the picture nonchalantly on their phones, taking selfies in their Ugg boots as if the proverbial plane was not on fire.  However, the plane is on fire and has been on fire, but White America treated Black people, particularly Black women as if we were the stewardess giving instructions as the flight takes off for what to do if the plane goes down. We were tuned out, and our shouts ignored as White America went on about its business.

We were just those protestors fighting against racism until it was Heather Heyer. We were only those people complaining about police brutality until it was Alex Wubbels a White nurse being wrongly arrested by a Utah police. We were just overreacting when we screamed about Freddie Gray being given a “rough ride” by the police which aided in his death, and then the President of the United States encouraged police to rough up suspects. We were just those lone dissenters screaming about healthcare until you realized Trump meant your healthcare would be taken away too. We were just standing with a Black woman named Anita Hill that testified about sexual harassment against a man that went on to become a Supreme Court Justice and then it all hell broke loose in Hollywood. We told you we did not live in a post-racial America after the election of President Barack Obama and then 74% of White men and 65% of White women that voted in the Alabama Senate election, voted for a racist alleged pedophile and the world realized we were not post-racial. It seems life would be much less complicated if White America would listen to Black people, particularly Black women when we speak. And not as an afterthought but a forethought.


I started this year on a high note, believing that something that I wrote would shake up the world. Yet here we are just three days from a new year and actress turned activist, Alyssa Milano makes a Twitter post that revealed to me that we have a very long way to go. Alyssa was thrust into the spotlight after she tweeted a phrase “Me Too” to bring awareness to people that have been victims of sexual harassment and assault. However, the “Me Too” movement was actually started by a Black woman named, Tarana Burke over a decade ago. Alyssa later acknowledged this fact however what was done was done and many credit Alyssa with sparking a movement.

Perhaps Alyssa was feeling particularly revolutionary when she took to Twitter early in the morning to post the poem by Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again. In her posting of the poem, she highlights a stanza by Hughes forgetting the central focus of the poem that Hughes places in parentheses, America never was America to me, almost as if he wants to draw particular attention to that part of the poem.


It is as if the ENTIRE meaning of the poem flew just north of Alyssa’s head. Langston Hughes full poem can be found here.

Alyssa’s convenient performative act of justice reminds me of when White people cherry-pick quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. or Muhammad Ali that help them sleep better at night. Do not forget that while Dr. King said, “I have been to the mountaintop” he has also said, “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

While people like Alyssa love to quote Muhammad Ali saying, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,” do not forget that Ali also said, “I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to  Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no  Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.”

For Alyssa to conveniently highlight a part of Langston’s poem that makes her feel good, that will get her some Twitter likes and then have the audacity to come back to Twitter to EXPLAIN what Langston meant in his poem, as if Black people are not the walking living personification of his words is an insult to every Black person on this earth.


Let me educate you, Alyssa beyond your performative Twitter racial justice on what Langston meant. You have failed to highlight the most important part of his poem.Langston is writing about two things in extreme juxtaposition to draw a glaring difference in what America says it is and the reality of what America actually is for Black people.

Black people were brought to this land in chains, suffered some of the worst heinous, atrocious crimes against Black humanity, worked in fields from sun up to sun down expected to pick over 200 pounds of cotton a day, and suffered the whip of the lash if they didn’t meet their quota. When you tweet, “Me Too” remember that it was enslaved Black women that were raped by White men and White people turned a blind eye. It was Black women that had to look into the eyes of their husbands while a slave master stole their humanity. It was Black women that had to birth children by their slave masters. Here in Kentucky where Langston’s paternal great-grandfathers were slave owners, an enslaved Black woman named Lucy was lynched for murdering her slave owner and rapist.   So no, Alyssa, America has never been America to me.

Black people have suffered under the weight of racism just to have civil rights. Black people were arrested, beaten, water hosed, had dogs turned loose on them just for the right to just be. A Black boy named Emmett Till was beaten and killed because he was falsely accused of talking to a White woman. This same White woman had the convenience of admitting that she lied years later. How convenient it must be to take a stand for Black people you have harmed from the comfort of your home. Sound familiar, Alyssa? George Stinney, a 14-year-old Black boy, was sent to the electric chair for murders he did not commit. At just 90 pounds, George was so small that he had to sit on top of a Bible for the helmet of the electric chair to fit him for White America to make an example out of him. So no, Alyssa, America has never been America to me.

And here we are today with the murders of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and countless others. Today of all days for you to make your post, Black people are hurting as we stand in the gap for Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, a 27-year-old Black woman that fought for social justice after the murder of her father, that was declared brain dead after suffering a heart attack.  Yet here you are with a misinterpreted poem from one of the most prolific writers that wrote for radical racial reform. Here we are in 2017 where the weight of racism continues to chip away at our lives daily.   Here we are when a 12-year-old boy named Tamir Rice is gunned down on a playground by the police in less than 2 minutes for playing with a toy gun.  Here we are where an NFL player can be vilified and blackballed for taking a knee to bring awareness to  police brutality. Here we are, Alyssa, where a Black man can be wrongly murdered by the police on camera and America tries to tell us why it is justified. Here we are, Alyssa, where a Black man in Mississippi can be beheaded in 2017. Here we are, Alyssa, where Black people are STILL fighting for the right to just exist in America. So no, Alyssa, America has never been America to me.

And you come online with your Twitter post as if the world is supposed to be impressed by your performative social justice and ignorance.  I am hardly impressed.  It is easy to overlook Langston’s meaning of his poem when you do not have to live it daily.  It is easy to make a Twitter post and sit back and pat yourself on the back as people like your post and feel as if you have done something for the advancement of race relations in America. In fact, you have done nothing but show me that we still have a long road to travel.

As Langston wrote,
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—

Since you enjoy quoting Black writers, Alyssa, let me quote one for you. In the words of James Baldwin, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

And daily I will criticize America for what it isn’t for Black people and ALL People of Color longing and screaming for JUSTICE! 

Featured Image: Alyssa Milano Lauren/Variety/REX Shutterstock

57 replies »

  1. Ms. Milaon, a true mental lightweight, got on this “Woke” kick when it was revealed that she is a tax cheat. She’s scared that since the rich will be pay less taxes, the IRS will come after her.

  2. This is a brilliant piece of writing. You don’t need me to tell you that, though. Writing it helps demonstrate what I hate about Twitter. It takes writing of this depth to open the eyes of white people, whereas on Twitter we are reduced to brief often negative “call outs” which end up polarizing us, with the wounded party retreating into the echo chamber of those who share their unexamined thoughts. I hope Alyssa is able to read and fully understand your piece in its entirety. We “liberal” white people are slow to learn, but I, at least, am enormously grateful that you still have patience enough to try and teach us.

    • I came to read this piece because Alyssa retweeted it, so I guess she did read it then.
      And yes, I also think it’s a great read. White people, including myself, really need to start listen more.

    • Thank you, Preparam1 for reading. I will agree that Twitter does allow for quick bites of information and people may not get the totality of what someone is saying. Some people have responded to me that said they didn’t read the blog and I wish that they had. I understand though that people are quick to respond out of emotion and that is very surface level to me. I am always curious about what is behind the anger and I believe if people can answer that honestly, they may understand this blog.

      Alyssa did read the blog and shared it and I appreciated that. She could have retreated into an echo chamber and she didn’t neither did many others. And that is how things start to change.

    • PLEASE BE AWARE…it’s not up to black or brown people to fix what white people have broken and continue to break! it’s up to us to find out what we did and fix it~ it’s up to us, now, to ASK how others want to be treated and then, DO IT! It’s PAST time for us to get some lists of books that aren’t whitewashed and READ THOSE DAMNED THINGS. there is a wonderful list on under her ‘materials’ link for you white people to begin your ‘AWAKENING’…don’t wait for black folks to teach you. this was on OUR ANCESTORS back then, it’s on US NOW! IT’S HAPPENING TO OUR COUSINS OF COLOR NOW! IT’S UP TO US TO FIX IT~!!! FOR you who fail to give credit to those who came before us, beware! WE WILL CALL YOU OUT ON YOUR IGNORANCE! keep your mouth shut or be ready to accept the consequences of your ignorance. before you tell me how poorly i type and my choice of caps…wherever…I DON’T CARE!
      FOLKS…especially my faded sisters and brothers (aka: pink), the sooner you embrace the FACT that we are all descendants of the blacks from the central lakes region of Africa and that we all carry the gene for blackness and that when you look into the face of a black person, you are looking at someone who’s related to you from centuries ago…the better off you will be, the sooner you will start treating others like you treat your white friends and family. it’s not love that is going to carry us through this damned movement. it’s the knowledge of truth and the fact that we all embrace that truth!
      now GET BUSY and call out the injustices done to those who are different from yourself when you see it happen!
      GET BUSY READING FROM THAT LIST…there will be a test.
      Sarah Elliott

      • Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate your passion and felt it through the CAPS! LOL! I agree with everything you said, however one thing you said, I would like to highlight. “it’s the knowledge of truth and the fact that we all embrace that truth!” This blog was filled with nothing but truth but people are so focused on me they have ignored the truth. The message is NOT going to change. Hughes wrote his poem in 1935. 82 years ago. THE MESSAGE HAS NOT CHANGED! That should be the EMBARRASSING PART! That should be the part that makes White America PAUSE. Think of ALL the advances that almost 100 years of America and humanity as a whole has made. And STILL in almost 100 years of “growth” a Black man was dragged to death from the back of a truck, the first Black President was met with symbols of him being lynched, his wife was repeatedly called an ape, a Black teen was murdered for simply walking home. The list is ENDLESS but is this blog that has everyone outraged. Why aren’t they outraged that in almost 100 years from the time the poem was written by Hughes I and many others can STILL say, America has never been America to me. They aren’t mad at that. Oh no. They are mad because I held up a mirror.

        Thank you for reading and of course citing Jane Elliot. I LOVE HER and love her in your face, raw, truth! And she GOT IT! She understood some people would NEVER hear the truth from me so she DID THE WORK! That is what it will take!!

  3. Yes, the author clearly understood what suffering means deeper than anyone else ever. I thank the author for so clearly revealing our moral inferiority.

    • Thanks for reading. I understand suffering however, certainly not deeper than anyone else ever. When I think about those that suffered underneath the weight of slavery and Jim Crow, I am simply doing a small part. Have a great day and a Happy New Year!

    • Alyssa doesn’t feel alienated. Perhaps you need to go back to Twitter and read our exchange. Having an exchange that might make someone uncomfortable doesn’t mean they have to be alienated. It can be used as a point for learning and growth. Thank you for reading.

  4. I personally a few months ago, made a comment on her Twitter page about “You can’t change anything, please stop with the drivel” and I got hate replies back.. It seems as if people get on a bandwagon with a certain person and won’t move outside the bubble and realize that this person is just upset their Candidate didn’t win the election. Big fat hairy deal, it’s over. Move on, find something that you can actually DO to help. George Takei is another one.. Every day.. Just to me gets old.

    • It can be frustrating and sometimes there are days that I need a break but I understand those that work day in and day out trying to bring awareness and do the work for justice. I feel like I have said the same thing a million times but I keep believing one day it will stick. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  5. Maybe 53% of white women voted for the dumbass, Donald Trump. But this 56 year-old white woman, a person who”s entire life and career has been dedicated to social justice, civil rights, and service to the sick did not.

    And neither did 47% of the rest of us, your sisters and allies. To throw us into the same category as the bigoted, callous and uncaring is not only unfair it is bullshit. Because I was born with white skin, no matter how much I align with you I will never be black. But you have no right to accuse me of not having the exact same holes in my heart over the losses, the exact same agony over injustice, and the exact same values about eradicating racism in this country that you have. You may think my life with white skin has been peaches and cream–but it has not, absolutely not. My trauma, the indignities and harm I suffered in my life, combined with the goodness I was taught by my parents and their parents is why I have never been able to not empathize with you.

    I have consistently, with my own hands, done the actual dirty work it takes to make society better. How about you, Hannah? When was the last time you partnered with a person in need to help them escape an abuser, find housing, food and get started on an education? When did you stand in a courtroom to demand protection for a child and his mother, or defend their rights to equal protection in housing? When did you last provide fee medical care and screenings to the parts of your community no one cares about–the poorest, the drug addicted, the undocumented?

    I have worked and spoken out for blacks and people of color, lobbied for their needs with my legislature, administered programs that specifically tailored services to communities of color and minority and powerlessness based on what they told my organization they needed. I saw the need for the BLM movement and police reform decades before the outrageous injustices we saw in the deaths of Trayvon and Tamir and Eric and Sandra and spoke to it in every training, every meeting, every public service interview I had in my line of work. For which I made terrible pay, got no benefits and no retirement in the years I was there–no Ugg boots for me, sweetie. Now I’m a nurse, I can pay my bills, but I am no rich white woman dabbling in do-gooding. I am still literally getting my hands dirty every day. What are you doing, Hannah, besides writing angry diatribes against people who care?

    And lest you flatter yourself to think your lament is a unique characterization, I saw your kind every step of the way. People who lashed out at those around them who were allies because we were the only ones they could safely lash out at, the only ones who would stand there and tolerate it knowing you were in pain. People who were more focused on maintaining victim status and being the center of attention instead of locking arms with the rest of us and fixing things. Which is what you’re doing with this article: wasting precious time and energy being more concerned with yourself and your own entitlement to be pitied right now than you are having someone who is a different skin color than you are being in your corner. I’ve read your column above before. A whine fest littered with angry, guilt-provoking historical accounts that, YES, were horrible and are part of why I fight every day, but NO I had nothing to do with, and neither did you. I mean come on, throwing Emmitt Till in my face right now as if I signed off on what those horrible POS’s did long before I was even born? Seriously, what did you, Hannah, do personally to stop little George Stinney from being wrongly executed?

    Yeah, we need to always remember we are white, we have privilege and we don’t have your history. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to correct the original sin of this country, and to be honest, without us, you won’t have enough bodies to fight the fight.

    • Very, very interested in the continued conversation, regarding this letter. I am a Black woman of 62 years old, and while overall I did appreciate your input, I did have a smh moment on your take “America”.

    • Dolgre, thank you for reading. I appreciate your passion and I understand it. Many people respond in a very similar fashion when they initially read most of my blogs. After an initial response like yours, I always ask them to take some time and then ask themselves why they responded the way that they did? Why did this blog stir up that level of emotion? What is behind that? Because the surface comments are just that for me-surface. Most people respond quickly out of feeling personally attacked which is why, similar to you, they respond with a list of personal things they have done or are doing when it comes to liberation. And without fail, they, similar to you, feel compelled to tell me that they didn’t vote for Trump. And I let them get that out because I know my writing makes many people uncomfortable. So after the initial response, I am always curious, why someone felt uncomfortable?

      If you are doing the work, great. Continue on! If you have access to people I may never reach that aren’t the slight bit interested in justice invite them to work alongside you. I am sure you could always use another hand in the fight.

      • You ask why I “responded” like I did? Why did your post “stir up emotion”? Because in your post you wrote what amounted to an attack on not just the motives but the essential value of white people who work for civil rights and social justice. Which is preposterous, and quite frankly, you only do because you’re apparently too scared to go after the real perpetrators of violence and oppression against minorities and people of color. I mean, really? You went after frigging Alyssa Milano instead of any number of other people who deserve the kind of disdain with which you attack her in this essay above?

        Why did I feel “uncomfortable”? Because you unfairly attacked in a very, very personal way a woman who has done NOTHING to harm you or the causes you purport to be a part of, and by default, people like me. You mocked and bullied her. Yes, you bullied her, because you know she is not allowed in the “rules of the game of white guilt” to fight back or defend herself. She’s suppose to take your rudeness and ugliness, allow you to verbally temper tantrum while she metaphorically holds you in her arms as you wail and beat on her.

        Why did your writing strike a nerve with me? Because you seem to think that because you are black, you get to critique, to criticize, to lecture to bully those of us who are in your corner but have the random decision of the universe to have been born not black, as if WE are the enemy. And have the arrogance to assume we have no wounds or injustices, we have no pain or scars equal to yours.
        And demand that we apologize and beg for your forgiveness for not being ‘worthy enough”.

        You wonder why I listed my “things I have done”? Because my work informs and validates my opinion and my history is what genuine work for equality and decency actually looks like. That you have never heard of me or seen me standing next to an “important person” on a stage somewhere is exactly how this kind of work is done: day to day, month by month, year by year by the nobodies of the world. Me being a white person makes absolutely no difference, except, perhaps, because I can use and shove my privilege right back in it’s own face on behalf of those who don’t have it.

        And it is also why I have lost patience with people like you: When you literally are stomping through a filthy muddy pig pen to get to the $500 a month trailer with no electricity or running water where your client and her three little ones live, you find that all the anger and outrage in the world won’t matter if you don’t get busy and get the practical things done to get her to a better life. A spoken word poem literally won’t pay the rent or keep her from getting deported by the Border Patrol.

        I have spent my entire life standing up for others to bullies and tormentors and exploiters of weakness. And while you may think you have a special right to do so, you bullied someone and mocked her, accused her of having what is exactly the same kind of privilege and insularity YOU have from what the real substance of life is “for Black people and ALL People of Color longing and screaming for JUSTICE!”

        I just want you to know, not everyone will put up with it. I’m sorry to tell you this but you do not own the poetry of Langston Hughes, the teachings of Martin Luther King, quotes by Mohammed Ali or James Baldwin. You don’t get to invalidate Alyssa’s sexual harassment and her “Me Too” status by one-upping her with your blackness. Lack of humility, sense of entitlement, and arrogance is dangerous, Hannah. It’s what brings us to a moral and spiritual fall. Being humble, being kind, being open to and seeing our stories in the stories of others, regardless of their walk of life, is what keeps us on the path to truth and justice.

    • You are missing the point regarding white privilege and the critique of the entire system. Being so sensitive to critiques of white americas moral failure doesn’t do you any good.

      • Sometimes people have read my blog 2-3 times before they get it and I’m okay with that. I understand for some people reading a truth that hurts is difficult. What I hope is that they read it, get pissed off, get angry, get emotional and then PAUSE ask themselves WHY they felt that way and then deal with the WHY. Often the why resides in a bed of “I don’t want to face the truth.” Thank you for reading, Cody! Have a Happy New Year and Stay in the Fight!

  6. wow. reading the comments..just wow. I have no words and too many words at the same time so I’ll just say this. Hannah, I deeply understand your frustration; I can feel the passion in your words.

    • Thank you. I am very used it and truthfully, it doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is when people read to respond because they have felt personally attacked and do not read for understanding, knowledge and growth. So I always let them voice their first thought because I get that however, I always challenge them to go a little bit deeper. That is where the real change comes in. Sometimes you have get off the shore and go out in the water if you want to see change. Thank you so much for reading and understanding.

  7. So I agree with dolgre. What are u doing? I read ur response back to her and still u said nothing. If you dont want to answer – what u are doing? What do u wish others to do based on ur writing? I would rather have people working towards change than discouraging others from doing so.

    • Thank you for reading, Ro. My profession is community work and I know that and do not feel it is necessary to run down a list of things I do in the community for my job and as a citizen. It is what I do every single day. Thank you.

      What do I wish you to do? Do something. That is what I ask you to do and while you are doing that something, speak to women that perhaps look like you that I may never reach. Alyssa passed the mic and it brought forth a wealth of conversation.

      Have a great evening and a Happy New Year!

  8. Dolgre and Hannah or Hannah and Dolgre,

    I used to be one of those people who felt the need to list my achievements as a caring human being. I performed the great American music called Jazz under the supervision of great black men and still do. Often the only white person in a room I have learned many lessons from the guidance of African Americans who are truly able to teach anout bigotry and so much more. I’m blessed and honored for this experience. For this experience reminds me that edification is on you or on me. Dig deep into it expose yourself to the experiences as much as possible. Racism will never be eradicated just as fear and ignorance will never depart. Exposure and the willingness to walk in another’s shoe can be a moment of truth. But to live the truth your entire life is a place only reserved for those who are that unique recipient of prejudice. I do not list my experiences or achievements anymore but I do practice my tolerance and compassion each day just as I study the sounds of Jazz everyday. And what I hear from Great Black men and women who invented and still breathe this liberating form of expression is…its in the groove. The groove can only be felt by those who have been grooving for years. The rest of us are just temporary visitors in a room where injustice lives.

    • Bingo! There is no benefit of listing all of the things I have done. The question was not asked in a spirit of desiring to know for knowledge but in a way to be like “got ya” if I did not do anything in my community. In fact that is not the case but I do not feel a need to run down a list of all the good I do in the community. That isn’t the point of the blog and I am well aware of what I do that I don’t feel a need to prove anything to anyone. This is the work that I do and will do until I can’t anymore.

      What you have said, Gust is very well written and very true. It is going to take the digging deep as much as possible to have any type of change. If we make a list of things we have done what does that do? Okay. We have lists. And? This isn’t a blog about look what I do in the community someone hand me a cookie and a glass of milk. This is a blog about challenging a narrative that many people are comfortable projecting because its safe and comfortable and makes them feel good. That is why I was impressed that Alyssa shared it. She could have been like, “F*ck this woman.” But she said, No, I’m going amplify your voice. I am going to pass the mic because you have said something I believe people need to hear. And I hear you. Amazing what can happen when you don’t make a list but pass the mic.

      Practicing tolerance, and compassion as you said and love and understanding and just taking a moment to listen or read can go a very long way. I understand why people react that way, with the list and “not me” or “not all”. I get it. But reacting that way immediately puts up a wall. I have had people come back to me 2-3 days later and say, “I sat and thought about what you said and thought about why I reacted why I did.” And when they do that I say, “Now let’s have a conversation.”

      Stay in the groove!! ❤️

  9. Hannah, you have a rather reasoned article however some of your statements don’t help the cause. Such as the first paragraph about the white women that marched yet the reminder that 53% of white women voted for trump. I completely agree that I don’t understand why any woman would ever vote for trump, however the women in that march – no way to say with any certainty that they voted for trump, it’s much more likely that a good number of them didn’t. So when you make a statement like that which is not supportable, it detracts from your overall message.
    While Alyssa Milano may not be alienated by your mention of her, calling her out specifically and so many times throughout the article makes it appear as though she’s the face of what you describe to be the problem. Also when you use descriptors such “Dear Alyssa, Please Stop With Your Performative Twitter Social Justice” even more to make it the title of your article, that makes an assumption, that she has some social justice agenda, it also puts the slant on the article as if this person is the focus of why things are wrong. It’s not, she’s not. Stating that she didn’t start the Me Too movement which you admit she acknowledged once she was made aware of it and she even points out Tarana Burke’s movement yet it’s somehow her fault that people credit her for the movement, that is not her fault, so here again writing the article in that way creates a divisive taint to it.

    The other comparisons you draw such as the people who protested didn’t garner any interest until Heather Heyer, police brutality and Alex Wubbels, and even somehow trying to make a connection to Freddie Gray.
    Here’s the thing, all of those things were wrong, including Freddie Gray. Race doesn’t have to factor in to something being wrong. The media of course does a great job of factoring it in for us perpetuating the race divide because it sells their product and we unfortunately play along. But if we keep standing on separate shores saying the other race is at fault instead of standing together and addressing the wrong itself, we aren’t going to get anywhere.
    To truly present a strong awareness of the issue, it would be far better to not call out a specific person, and especially not make attacks, because in much of your article you are basically shaming someone else as a way to somehow show the issue of racism. All that does is perpetuate the divide. Of course and absolutely, you can and will write how you wish and that is perfectly ok. All I’m saying is, there is a better way and one that brings alignment instead of furthering a divide that should have ended decades ago. But until we stop making it as though all whites think and act the way you describe and instead make it about those that those who actually think and act regardless of race, then we are stuck.

    • Brian, thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I try to take the time to respond to anyone that takes a moment to comment because I believe if people actually take the time there is something they want me to know and understand. I read your message and the only thing I can say is what is quoted above in the blog from Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

      • And thank you for your reply. That’s not what I’m saying however, I’m not putting a timetable on anyone else’s freedom. The Letter from Birmingham Jail was Dr. King’s response to a critic calling his “…present activities “unwise and untimely.”…” I’m saying neither of those things regarding your blog post.
        I’m saying that in order to eradicate racism we have to stand together, but using negative phrasing, words, and specific callouts to a person who is not responsible for what you are associating her with, that is only going to perpetuate the divide. I fully recognize there’s a race problem, there’s complete agreement there.
        Me saying to use a collaborative approach is not the same as asking anyone to wait for a more convenient season. I’m not saying wait for anything.
        It’s easily possible to raise the issues you saw without it being about making negative, an attack, or an assumption.
        The quote you used is one paragraph from a much longer letter, so you have done what you accused Alyssa and other white people of doing, and cherry picked words that fit your narrative.
        Lastly, I do not pretend to have read everything that Dr. King has written, however I have read enough and seen enough of his speeches to know that he preached togetherness, encouraged unity through love. From the Stride Toward Freedom chapter 6 Dr. King says “…At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. The nonviolent resister would contend that in the struggle for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives…”
        I’m definitely not saying you hate Alyssa Milano, but I am saying that the negativity you are using in painting her as the face if injustice, and the other negative comments, are not conducive to stamping out stereotypes, racial injustice, and racism. That’s all I’m suggesting, is there’s a better way to achieve your stated desired goal. I do appreciate your willingness to engage in discussion with your readers. Many people would not even do that, and I do appreciate the dialog.

      • Brian the quote I used was to show two opposing things and that King didn’t always speak of roses and sunshine like many people try to make it appear. Some of the very words you said to me were almost the exact words Dr. King said which is why I quoted it back to you but I am sure you did not see that.

        What way would work for you, Brian since there is a better way according to you for ME to fight for liberation?

      • Again thank you Hannah for your reply and thank you for being willing to discus with me listen to my point of view.
        You are correct, I did not see that because to begin to answer your last question I’ll explain why. When you replied with – the only thing I can say is what is quoted above in the blog from Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. – and then reposted the quote from the blog, to me that reads as your reasoning for the format of your post.

        I recognize the possibility that in the vein of the quote you used, you used the negative theme of your post to create a visual/emotional tension to spark a larger discussion. I can’t know if that was your intent, and as I said in my first comment – freedom of speech – it is of course your right and your prerogative to write however you want. Based on what you’ve written, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I read your intent is to end racism. In that case then yes what you wrote will elicit a response, however it immediately alienates a lot of people. You may get people talking but they will not hear the message and many won’t even bother to read/respond/discuss and will walk away with a negative image instead of drawing people into discussion, awareness, understanding.
        If you are going to use a quote from someone, especially Dr. King, and in doing so use it to prove a point that White people cherry pick quotes from authors, then it’s important to not use a quote out of context because the overall letter is a little different than what just that paragraph says, you could have shown example of how White people use Dr. King’s quotes out of context which would have strongly proved the point you started with in your paragraph. We can’t pick and choose which parts of Dr. King’s teachings to follow, if you are going to use his quotes to support your narrative then you need to use all of his principles and that’s why I quoted the parts of his teaching that spoke of acting from a place of love. Also when you start that paragraph with “Alyssa’s convenient performative act of justice reminds me of when White people cherry-pick quotes”, that’s very passive aggressive, it assumes she’s doing it on purpose, and is a direct accusation, where instead you could have asked her and then operated from a place of knowledge – which is another thing Dr. King taught as the first step of nonviolent action, from the Letter From a Birmingham Jail “…In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. …” We can’t assume Alyssa Milano highlighted only part of the poem to intentionally ignore it’s true message because we didn’t ask her.
        Before making the post about any perceived “…Performative Twitter Social Justice…” I would have responded to her tweet and asked if she understood the true meaning of the poem, could have said “I wonder if you understand the true meaning of that poem?” That would have started your discussion with her on a positive foundation of seeking understanding. And then based on response you could point out why using that poem in that way can be seen as offensive.
        Titling your post with “Dear Alyssa, Please Stop With Your Performative Twitter Social Justice” Again, assumes she has some social justice agenda. I’ve been following Alyssa Milano for many years, and while I don’t read everything she posts every day, I have seen enough posts to get the sense that she’s a positive person, she has good intent, and supports many social issues we face today. So again with the information gathering fact finding, first find out what her opinion is on what you accuse her of, then you can use that discussion in your blog post, and you gain an ally or you uncover an injustice. While she may have capitulated with you in the end, why start negative, why not start from a place of seeking understanding and solidarity?

        In your first paragraph where you mention the women’s march that was heavily and primarily attended by White women while 53% of White women voted for Trump.
        I completely agree, I cannot in any way understand why any woman, or any person actually, would vote for Trump. It’s absolutely worth calling out for discussion.
        However what you wrote creates many assumptions in that one first sentence. It assumes that the women in the march voted for Trump, it assumes that it’s those White women’s fault that the march had low attendance of other races. Neither of those things can be known. Angela Peoples can’t know that any of those women voted for Trump. Since the march was in opposition to Trump, it’s highly unlikely that any of those women in that march voted for Trump. That statement alienates the women that didn’t want Trump as president, so nothing is gained from such a statement.

        After rereading the section where you mention Heather Heyer and Freddie Gray, I think I understand you were drawing contrast and comparison to how injustice happens to Black people and doesn’t cause outrage the same as it does when those same things happen to White people. The reason it felt negative to me initially was the article up to that point and after, was written negatively so the message was lost, again to my point of using factual statements and avoiding accusations unless you have fact to support it.

        I think it’s absolutely right to call out the Alabama Senate vote, it’s so many things, unbelievable, unacceptable, appalling, outrageous, that anyone would vote for Moore knowing what was/is known. It was incredibly heartbreaking to hear White people especially White women on TV explaining away Moore’s behavior, some saying it would have been flattering to receive the attention of an older man such as Moore, it’s sick. It was sickening to hear some of these same people say that he may be guilty but they are still voting for him because they didn’t want to lose a Senate seat to the Democrats. That’s something that should never be about politics, it should be about not having a pedophile in any public or other office.

        And then to the “MeToo” comment, you acknowledge that Alyssa Milano acknowledged she wasn’t the first person to start MeToo, but then go right back to blaming her because people still associated her with starting the movement. Instead you could keep it to using your post to reinforce that Tarana Burke started it. And by going positive, you gain further support an fan the flame of this movement – while yes it should have gained this much attention when Tarana Burke started it, however since it is happening now, you can both capitalize on the momentum AND draw attention to Tarana Burke’s efforts.

        None of this has to be an either or. it doesn’t need to be what comes off as a competition of who’s pain is worse, who’s injustice is worse. Instead with a factual and positive approach, it can be, yes that is wrong, it’s been happening to Black people for years, we need to recognize that and push forward at the same time. It’s that mutual effort of people from all races working together to finally end racism and injustice. I hope this explains what I was trying to say initially in a better way. Thank you again as always for your time.

      • Did you see my question where I asked what do you suggest since there are better ways? I hear this often from people and I am always curious what are their better ways? Perhaps it is something that hasn’t been done in the last almost 400 years so I am very curious. What would you suggest that would work or as you said are the better ways?

      • I did see and appreciated your question.

        My “better way” is in my last reply. I gave examples of better options, and reason for why I believe those options are better. I suggested that my suggestion follows what Dr. King taught. That’s all I have without belaboring the point.
        If you want to take the time to discuss or respond to anything specific to what I said, I welcome whatever you might have to say to me.
        I will also say that the way in which you are interacting with me, by being willing to discuss with me, even if we disagree, and by doing so by discussing the topic and you have not attacked me in any way, this is what is conducive to a good discussion, and understanding.

      • You have pointed out several times that you have welcomed this discussion and I agree with you and believe that is how change starts. How did you come to find me to start this discussion?

      • Also I did read your comments and I was looking for some things that were specific which I didn’t see so that is why I asked again. I agree when you said, “it’s that mutual effort of people from all races working together to finally end racism and injustice.” How do we get to that mutual effort? I am always interested in this because I hear so often about better ways for doing things when it comes to fighting for justice and I am always curious what that looks like for people, what are the steps to end racism and injustice that are a better way?

      • The specifics I gave are specific to the writing of the article – that is half the battle. We need to be drawing sides together. I think your blog is important, just again, if you want to bring people together then the specifics I gave which are Dr. King based are important. Like I said, when using examples, they have to be factual, not assumptions like the first section that talks about the women’s march otherwise you lose a large section of your audience right there. You’ll get people who agree with you because they want to blame also, but it’s the rest of the people who might read your article that you lose and we need everyone to play a part.
        It also takes other people speaking up when they see or hear something that is wrong or racial to speak for what is right and against what is not, be it a stereotype, a racial slur, hate speech, etc. You ask what we can do different that hasn’t been done in the last 400 years, I say the more I read and learn about Dr. King and what his guidance was, the more I realize how brilliant he was, the more I admire him, and the more I see that many marches, demonstrations, speeches, fall short of his vision. Peaceful nonviolent marches/demonstrations, speeches are very useful but of course it takes everyone in that activity to be of the same guiding mindset, and if violence breaks out then the message is immediately lost because anyone watching just goes to “see, that’s what always happens” and nothing is gained.

        I don’t have any revolutionary answer. I only think going back to the basic fundamental principles Dr. King taught is what is going to move things forward. I believe there is no better way than what Dr. King taught, it’s just – that has not been used with any consistency since he’s been gone, certainly not in more recent years.

      • We will agree to disagree. MLK was peaceful. He was murdered. Colin Kaepernick has for the most part been silent. He was blackballed and vilified. Others have been vocal and they were murdered. It seems there is no winning with some people when it comes to how to fight for liberation. MLK is a great example. Still killed no matter what he did or how peaceful he did it.

        My job isn’t to catch everyone. Who it is for it will catch. This blog brought you here. And we’ve had a conversation for 3 days. And I have had many others because of this blog. Perhaps this was a seed for some people to think, ponder, expand their thinking and grow. That is what many writers desire. My writing isn’t for everyone and I never said it was. My way of writing is my way of writing and I will never change it. Before I take anything back I will add more to it. Because there is a lot more that can be added since time was time until today. If someone reads my blog and decides they are offended, that is fine with me. However some people will read it and think Damn she’s right. Let me work on that or how can I change that? You plant the seed and allow it to take root. Will every seed you plant yield fruit? No. Does that mean you stop planting? No. Because you still can get a harvest. This blog has been read almost 20000 times. Will all 20000 people like it? No. But for those that get it and share that knowledge, I have done my part. That is all I can do. Everyone has a role to play. All I ask is that people do their part. And if I see something as I did with Alyssa’s initial post I am going to say something. The same way people have said things to me about my writing. What I appreciate is that Alyssa didn’t stop where most people do, she didn’t tell me there was a better way, she didn’t offer me any excuses. She offered to pass the mic and share her platform for my message.

        I am glad we have had this conversation and like I said some things we will agree to disagree about. And that is okay.

      • And I considered that you would not necessarily agree with me. I hoped you would see the reasoning behind what I was saying but I had no expectation or agenda of you to agree or disagree, that is of course your choice. My base and only point again is, yes you can write how you have been, but you will alienate a lot more people that way, you will get plenty who do agree with you, however those fewer numbers are far smaller than overall what could be gained with a foundational approach. I say foundational because again, the assumptions you make and the examples you give are not supportable. If your true desire is to get people thinking, in numbers that will actually affect a change, using an antagonistic approach will not get you there.

        Also I am in no way saying or suggesting to be all roses and unicorns and present everything in a nice neat bow so that you offend no one. I am saying don’t go out of your way to offend people when there’s no reason to. Use truth in your examples, and you’ll gain far more support if you don’t accuse people without knowing the facts first.

        Just because Dr. King was murdered doesn’t change the value of the principles that he taught. You asked me – what would I do different that hasn’t been done the last 400 years. I ask you, what has been done since Dr. King died that has been better than what he embodied?
        I will say again, do however you want to do, but when you complain in your article about white people cherry picking Dr. King quotes but the quote you chose to show a difference in what he said to the rosy ones white people use, then you’re contradicting yourself, and now you’re saying it doesn’t matter because he was killed anyway. That’s where and why I am saying the approach you’re using isn’t going to get you what you say you want.

        Colin Kaepernick was not blackballed. His production as a quarterback had dropped 2 years before he started protesting. 2015 season he had 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 9 games. That is not good. And it wasn’t for lack of trying, before the 2015 season he worked with Kurt Warner and did a lot of extra work to improve his skill which I admired him for challenging himself after the previous year when he didn’t play so well, but unfortunately it didn’t translate to his play on the field. 2016 was better but not near to the level that earned him his 100 plus million dollar contract. Is he good enough to be a backup somewhere? Possibly, but he’s not been able to produce the same high quality play that he had the first few years in the game and that’s what it comes down to. There are other players who have had the same thing happen, Robert Griffin III, amazing play his first couple of years, unfortunately he got injured and has never been the same since. Another example, Michael Bennett, he’s been just as vocal and visible about kneeling or sitting during the national anthem at games arguably more so, yet he’s not being benched, he’s not being fired. It’s all about level of play, and in the NFL it’s what have you done for me lately.

        Who it is for it will catch. Yes. True. Which will be no more people than who you already have reading your blog. Again, if you want true change, the status quo of antagonistic won’t get it done. You talk about the last 400 years, negative and divisive has been there, and that hasn’t fixed anything.

        “My writing isn’t for everyone and I never said it was. My way of writing is my way of writing and I will never change it.”
        Again, your prerogative, but when you say you will never change then you are saying you aren’t even open to the possibility that you could be wrong. I always at least consider that there could be new information that I’m presented with that may change my view. You even ask and expect people to somehow do that from the negative laden post you made, but now you’re saying you have no intention of even considering that you might have a bad approach, you aren’t willing to even do the same yourself. And that is exactly what creates and perpetuates division. I’m right no matter what, deal with it. That’s not how you win people to a cause.

        Yes you saw Alyssa Milano’s post and you said something, but you said something before you gathered any facts. You made an assumption. If you had asked her if she realized by highlighting that section of the poem – did she understand the true meaning of the poem, you would have found out that she wasn’t trying to cherry pick, and if you took any time or paid any attention to the theme of her tweets you would have known that. Then you would have that many less people focusing on wrong assumptions and ignoring the message you’re trying to convey.

        “What I appreciate is that Alyssa didn’t stop where most people do, she didn’t tell me there was a better way, she didn’t offer me any excuses. She offered to pass the mic and share her platform for my message.”
        Yes I’ve seen you use this excuse in other comments as well, as if because she was kind enough to not call you on your assumptions, that she instead chose to link to your article here, that this somehow proves your method works. She may not want to go into it in that way and that’s completely ok, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t make assumptions, at least half of your blog is assumptions.
        That is not being unapologetic, as I saw another poster say, that’s just perpetuating stereotypes and untruth, and that helps no one.
        I’ll keep saying just so it remains clear, it is entirely your prerogative to keep doing what you’re doing. I’m only trying to get you to see that approach won’t achieve what you want. You agreed with me that it will take people from all races working together, if you want people working together, negative isn’t how to do it.

      • My way is my way. I will not change it to make people feel good. If people do not like my writing they have a choice not to read it and read someone that resonates with them. X and King had two very different styles with freedom and liberation as the goal. Some followed Martin. Some followed X. All were on a path to freedom.

        While I appreciate dialogue, I appreciate dialogue that is advancing. A repetition of our points does nothing which is why I said we will agree to disagree and that is okay for me.

        With this same passion perhaps share it with racist people and ask them to change their approach. It seems we are always asked to change our way to accommodate people. I invite you to ask them to change theirs with the same vigor you have asked me to change mine. The answer may be the same. But perhaps it will not be. Perhaps with this passion you can convince them to stop writing about marginalizing and/or killing people of color. Have you ever done that and if so, I would love to read the blog and your comments and see the approach you gave them. The last 12 months have been saturated with people writing blogs about many racial and political things so I would love to read any where you have asked anyone that is divisive towards people of color to change their writing style or behavior.

      • You are still missing the point. I never said to change to make other people feel good, I even said that in my last reply. When you state that you will never change, this is how you miss what I’m saying because you are not even open to a dialogue of exchange. I’ve said from the beginning, unless you speak from a position of truth and not from baseless accusation and assumption then your message is lost.

        I will leave it there because you are right, we are not getting anywhere, and I’ll leave you to it. Responding further would be pointless.

  10. I am listening to you. I am grateful that you and anyone else who has the bravery to be honest when honesty isn’t rewarded. The only way white people can fix our racism problem is to continue to hear about it until it finally penetrates the years of false narratives, defensiveness and selfish lack of motivation that has built up for centuries. Obviously we still have a long way to go, and I know it’s a lot to ask because this isn’t your problem to fix, it’s ours, but — please keep talking and telling us. I will do my best to have your back while you do it. Don’t give up on us — your spark can light a fire.

    • Thank you, Susie. I always tell writers, it is okay to be afraid, just write it afraid. This wasn’t a blog that I was afraid to write, I stand by every single word and before I take anything back, I will add more to it. However, there have been some blogs that I was afraid to hit the publish button. To know that you will spend the next several days getting hate mail, tweets and messages, isn’t comforting. To know that people will threaten you and your family for your stance, isn’t pleasant. However, I am CLEAR on what I am tasked to do. And when I am moved to write something, I do it because I know it is for a bigger purpose outside of me. Several people messaged me and said, don’t follow Alyssa if you don’t like what she says. I never did follow her. Her post came across my feed. (I follow her now as well as her following me) because we have a mutual respect for one another. I don’t follow people SEARCHING for something they might say that I can blog about. If something strikes me and it is this feeling I get, I write about it and this struck me because MANY White people do this. They do it with Martin and Ali and 40-50 years from now they will do it with Kaepernick. The totality of the message will be lost and the message in the poem was that America has NEVER been what America says it is and can be to Black people or any People of Color. To support a platform that says, “Make America Great Again” yet cannot answer when was America “great” for Black people, you have a problem. To run down a list of things that you do in the community while all your friends are racist, you have a problem. People would rather have a problem with me instead of looking in the mirror. And I get that because it is PAINFUL to look into the mirror. No one likes doing it. It doesn’t feel good. But to deal with an issue it MUST be done. So either you do it or you don’t. For people to come on my blog or tweet me or message me and tell me they are not “those people” means nothing to me. GREAT! How are you trying to reach “those people”? If you stand with me as you claim, then what are you doing to reach “those people”? If you answer is nothing, then there is work to be done. Many White people underestimate their influence. On the SHEER FACT that they are White they will reach people that will NEVER stop to talk to me. Instead of wasting time focused on me since “we are fighting together” GO TO THEM. I did my part with this blog. Alyssa did HER part by sharing it. Alyssa took a minute to PAUSE and say, “Let me listen to her.” She didn’t give me a list of her community work. She didn’t tell me all lives matter. She didn’t say well I’m not like “those people.” She said let me pass the mic and AMPLIFY your message. Because she saw VALUE in the message. Yet people STILL cannot understand what she did. So they would rather fight with me online instead of saying let me pause and read this and reflect on WHY Alyssa would share this message.

      We still have a LONG road to go because even in this people still cannot see.

    • Amen and Amen. Thank you. I cannot water it down to make people feel better. It is what it is. Sometimes the medicine doesn’t taste good going down but it is working to heal you.

  11. so much dumb shit written here, reinforcing the data that black women are the dumbest demographic of the 4.

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