Black Like @KirstieAlley: Twittering About Race with the Fat Actress.

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Two-and-half weeks ago, actor Kirstie Alley, famed of ’80s TV sitcom Cheers, Jenny Craig weight loss ads, and sashaying in her hosiery on Oprah, told me, on Twitter, that African-Americans and Italians are “more free and fun and light hearted” than, I guess, people who aren’t African-American or Italian.

When she said this, I was actually dumbfounded. Twice, it turned out. Figuring out what to say, however, became my own mini-education in talking about race.

First, background….

attachmentI follow Kirstie Alley, right, on Twitter, the popular new social messaging site, and am one of over 65,000 people who do. For those of you who don’t use the service, following someone means you instantly receive the 140-character messages, or tweets, that they send out, these being the essential communicative tool of Twitter.

Any way, irony of ironies, it appears the star of Showtime’s Fat Actress is a big fan, and now a follower, of the obese rap group, the Fat Boys…

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…and, when she saw their tweet, immediately followed them….

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This is where I came into the story, because I looked at TweetDeck right at that moment. TweetDeck is the application I use for accessing Twitter. When it’s running, messages are continuously going through it, from any of the over 840 people I follow who are sending them.

It’s akin to, say, a Quotron, on the stock exchange: I receive new tweets from people I follow, and, as new ones come in, the older ones scroll down. So, it’s a constantly shifting flow of information. As I write this post, though I’m not looking at it, Tweetdeck is receiving new messages in the background, putting up a little flag that says how many and what kind of messages—friends (people I follow), mentions with my Twitter address—@harryallen—in them, or direct messages (private ones). The software is, actually, chirping, to let me know it’s updating the feed.

Anyway, I saw Kirstie’s tweet, and retweeted it, meaning that, since I thought it was interesting, I forwarded it to the over 2,800 people who, at that time, were following me on Twitter. (It’s over 3,600 now.):

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Kirstie Alley doesn’t follow me. However, the way Twitter works, whenever someone retweets something you’ve posted, or even just writes something with your Twitter name/address in it, Twitter captures it as a mention, and you can see you’ve been spoken about. So, when I sent her tweet to my followers, presumably, she saw it, and responded to me directly.

That’s when things got interesting.

Alley sent this message to me:

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I stared at the screen, not quite believing what I was seeing. (This was the first time I was dumbfounded in this episode.)

Stating “I wish I was Black,” or variations thereof, is one of the most common ways white people directly offend Black people, even as, apparently, trying to endear themselves to us. I’ve observed that they usually make these statements after a Black person displays some high or unusual flair, style, or gracefulness, in a way that is popularly associated with Black prowess; e.g., dancing, or making music.

White people, however, typically don’t say this when Black people are being stopped by police, having their job applications turned down, or when they don’t have the money to pay their bills (thanks, in part, to the 10:1 white/Black wealth gap). That sedimentary layer of aggravation, disruption, and exasperation is the dominant one in Black life, but it’s the one from which white people least want to harvest, or whose existence they apparently don’t wish to ponder or acknowledge.

In other words, when it comes to being Black, they just want the fun part.

parent-9780767908085There’s a word for this. It’s called slumming. My colleague and mentor, writer Greg Tate, even alluded to the phenomenon in the title/subtitle of his 2003 book, Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture, right. Though his book is about white people “co-opting Black styles of music, dance, dress, and slang,” that’s merely another aspect of the same construct. (It’s also one I’ve also posted about here, on MEDIA ASSASSIN, and in other places. For example, I spoke about it in my much-commented upon post about Asher Roth, “Fight the White Rap History Rewrite; in “White People and Hip-Hop,” for the “Addicted to Race” podcast; and in “The Unbearable Whiteness of Emceeing: What The Eminence of Eminem Says About Race,” which I wrote for The Source, the latter two of which were also cited in the Roth piece.)

I didn’t even later recall retweeting Alley’s comment, but must have, because tweets started coming in from people who follow me. The first, from a funny, cool sister I mutually follow called kokupuff, seemed to arrive almost instantaneously, her response so elemental it annoyed me.

what is your reaction to that statement?”

It was like a little pin prick. It didn’t briefly annoy me because she was being intrusive or rude in any way. It annoyed me because I didn’t know what to say. I was, again, dumbfounded.

But, in fact, kokupuff had done what I say non-white people should mostly do when speaking, particularly in racial situations: Ask questions.

So, I told her what my reaction would be:

“A question.”

I wrote back to Alley:

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And Alley wrote back the tweet that opened this post, above:

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Right away, people started to respond:

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Also, because my Facebook account receives my Twitter feed, I later learned people were reading parts of the exchange there, too.

Furthermore, Alley then sent me an innocuous direct message, visible only to the two of us. I won’t repost it, of course. But, I’ll note it, as part of the timeline, and say that, in a friendly way, she indicated that she wanted to hear my thoughts.

This, though, was the second time I didn’t know what to say. What should I do?

I talk a fair amount about race, and feel I have a range when speaking about it. I could go really soft, be nice, and perhaps not make my point. I’d go out like a chump, which would be embarassing.

Or, I could go really hard, drop some counter-racist science, and squash Alley, rhetorically, like a bug. If I did this too hard, though, I probably would not be understood by Alley.

Also, because many Black people often feel a need to protect white people when white people are made uncomfortable by a Black person, many Black people would come to her aid, and possibly turn against me.

Neither route was acceptable to me. I wanted to explain to Kirstie Alley why the statement was offensive to many people, in a way that she would comprehend, or at least that I thought she would. At the same time, and even more, I also wanted to demonstrate, for Black people who might be watching the exchange, and that I’ve realized are often looking for examples on how to handle these situations, what to do in these situations.

So, I got my head clear, and wrote this, first:

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There are a few reasons I wrote what I did, this way:

First, I wanted to clear a discussion about Italians from the table, because I’m not credible on the subject. So, I told her I couldn’t address that part of her tweet.

Then, I especially wanted to use the word “stereotype” because I think it’s a word that regular white people not only understand, but can hear without feeling that they are being judged, personally.

This is not to say that white people do not deserve judgement, both personally and collectively. It merely means that, in my experience, judgement, or the appearance of it, merely ends the conversation. After all, the white people who benefit, directly or indirectly, from white supremacy hold the power, and don’t have to discuss this issue if they don’t want to do so, and they typically don’t. Ending the conversation is cool, if that’s what you want to do. However, I didn’t want to do so, here.

As well, I didn’t just want to say it was a stereotype. I also wanted something to modify the word, to heavily weight it. The words “300-year-old” were easy, because, for at least that long, white people have been imagining us, generally, this way.

For example, in 1998, the NAACP was faced with the question of “whether to file a formal complaint with a college over a course that asserts that most slaves were happy in captivity,” as the NY Times reported.

“Crusty” was actually my last call. I wanted to more than say it was an old way of looking at people. I wanted to say it was rotted, with a word that was tactile; that you could feel in your mind as you said it.

That done, I then said this:

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kirstiehouseKirstie Alley has a very nice house that she often uses for entertaining. (I know this, because I saw it on Oprah. That’s her manse, right.) I felt that if I spoke about a situation that any person who opens their home has experienced—dealing with the guests who doggone won’t leave, while having to remain genial—I could let her know that much of what she detects in Black people is also as strategic and false.

Like saying “crusty,” I wanted words that would convey a sensory impression, when reading them, and felt “smiling through their teeth” would do that.

“Navigating” is a word to which many Black people, I think, connect, because being immersed in race means that you often have to plot, in advance, so much of what you’re going to do, say, and how you will react.

Saying “extreme discomfort we suffer under white people” is the only place in the response I mention white people as a generalized group. So, when I did, I wanted it to be connected to something harsh; to what Black people typically will not admit, and what, I believe, white people cannot believe they often cause or engender, just being themselves—extreme discomfort.

To me, this argument lies, literally, on the psychic obverse of Al Sharpton’s statement to Michael Jackson’s children at yesterday’s memorial: “Wa’nt nothin’ strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with.”

It was strange what your daddy had to deal with. It’s so strange, that, when Black people complain, white people typically say that we’re either a) making it up, b) bellyaching, or c) causing racism ourselves.

Finally, saying “But I can’t speak for Italians” was a nice non-sequitr that echoed the opening, and tied the whole thing up.

For a while, after I sent the tweets, there was no direct response. Then, bit by bit, people started writing to say that they’d appreciated what I’d written to Alley’s comments, which they’d not liked at all.

It’s unfortunate that one of the sad effects of race is that many white people do not get to hear what Black people really think. I don’t always say what I really think. This directness is something of which I think we need more.

Having so clearly offended, many people would apologize for their words. Alley, however, did not apologize, or even respond. The last comment I saw her make on the issue appeared several hours later, after a fellow Twitterer, tweetmeblack, called her out on her statements:

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Alley responded:

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Sigh. Wrong answer, Kirstie.

UPDATE!: Kirstie Alley responds here, as do I.

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45 comments ↓

#1 Koku on 07.08.09 at 6:26 pm

Hilarious!! I only didn’t say more b/c I REALLY wanted to know what you thought. It’s typical of me to keep it “elemental” (lol) when I don’t want to lead the conversation. The statement immediately hit me the same way though. I figured there’d be dog piling, so I never bothered to respond to her. I like how you handled that. Hell I thoroughly enjoyed it!! She never did get it, did she?? lol

#2 Elizabeth on 07.08.09 at 7:09 pm

How she doesn’t realize that “free and fun and light-hearted” gets followed right up by “they’re just like children, really!” is beyond me. This isn’t obscure stuff, people. It’s basic history.

What we white folks might think of as “positive” stereotypes always derive from or relate directly to stereotypes that we would characterize as “negative.” We need to learn that all racial stereotypes are “negative” even if they sound complimentary on the surface, because they have their foundation in racist thinking.

#3 Word on 07.08.09 at 8:44 pm

Entertaining!

I hope to be as diplomatic when racial matters are discussed.

#4 boo on 07.08.09 at 9:07 pm

Stereotyping is wrong. We are all guilty of it and need to be informed when we do it so we can correct the behavior and learn and grow. Nobody likes to give that kind of information though. It never turns out well at first. Oy.

You have a point in here that is a bit disturbing. It is about the asking of questions in racial situations. Whites as well as non-whites should use this practice. And nobody should ever think it will be easy but it is worth the effort. The onus is not only upon the non-white peoples and it disturbs me a little to read that you think it is. But I could just be being picky.

I question whether improving relations is being served when crushing someone like a bug enters into the discussion. Although, I do hear some use that kind of banter between themselves in a friendly way, it was done that way here. In this piece there is much self congratulations via naval gazing at one’s own rhetoric. Couple those and it feels like this is not a serious effort to do anything but point a finger.

That’s not questioning. It clearly was not productive. Next time, cut the self defense and follow your instincts about those questions. You will have a stronger effect and by leaving a real rhetorical question for the reader. The assumed statement you are trying to make will be stronger as it will be owned by the reader. Also, it would leave a window open and a bridge unburned.

And historically speaking, bigger, longer, more intense and far more far reaching than any other hurtful discrimination is the stereotyping of women in general and globally. Therein lies commiseration. And that would be a great olive branch. Just sayin.

#5 boo on 07.08.09 at 9:13 pm

was = wasn’t with being done that way here. I apologize for my typos. (This will be on my grave stone.)

#6 dionne on 07.08.09 at 9:25 pm

hiya harry,
i haven’t checked in for a while and see that it has been too long!
thank you for today’s post and your very helpful instructions on how to address that type of conversation. it has so many applications to me in perth, au.
cheers, dp.

#7 Gloria Brown on 07.08.09 at 9:31 pm

\White people, however, typically don’t say this when Black people are being stopped by police, having their job applications turned down, or when they don’t have the money to pay their bills\

Geee Harry,
your statement sounds like you are an angry individual. I only like to surround myself with positive and happy energy.
My brother was stopped by the police more than I can count and has had numerous job applications turned down and never seems to have enough money to pay his bills each month. But he always manages to stay in good spirits for his family.
Harry, please place a smile on your face and others will smile back at you.
Michael Jackson loved Charlie Chaplin’s song \smile\.

#8 Just An Idea on 07.08.09 at 9:33 pm

Enjoyed this post. Stereotypes need to be examined – they either show what the holder of them is thinking or looking for in groups and/or individuals, and perhaps, to a lesser extent – what that group’s collective experience may have been and how they *may* in some way be responding to it, or perceived to be responding to it, as a result. I think you sort of touch on these points.

But a stereotype is a false generalization, a created reality, not authentic. A romanticized (or negative) view of a segment of population instead of a willingness to see individuals.

Alley id’s herself as an Irish American. Not reknowned for huge political or financial power, largely ghettoized, and even historically in Europe, not really considered “white”.

There were signs in England which read “no dogs or Irishmen allowed on premises” for example.

Subject to many stereoptypes – drinkers, singers, poets, melancholy, bad-tempered…and these stereotypes may be useful if you say, “hm what may have made Irish people this way? ridicule, mockery, abuses, foreign takeover, extreme poverty, and/or mass starvation?”

So she may, if you try to approach her from her own historical ancestral experience rather than one that is clearly foreign to her – be more savvy/aware/sympathetic than you can imagine.

Or maybe I’m wrong on that completely and she’s just an entitled white American Hollywood woman.

But I’m thinking she’s more sensitive than you think. Which is why she blocked your ass after you wrote this blog.

Dialogues need to happen, but so far we’ve just got monologues. Dialogues require empathy and relationship and an attempt to engage, not alienate. Good luck all. Cuz I need it myself.

#9 Brad on 07.08.09 at 9:44 pm

I like Kirstie, but I think she was being a little ‘manic’ that night. Trying too hard to please can make anyone seem a bit shallow. I say no harm, no foul.

#10 Claudia on 07.08.09 at 9:59 pm

I had a terrible episode with an african-american in NY(I´m mexican) I was walking in st. and he pushed a guy next to me yelling:Fuc**ng Mexican!. Even though I didn´t know them, of course I felt offended.
The guy next to me (who wore a Viva Mexico T-shirt) was so afraid and confused by him but I wasn´t. I just SNAPPED! & told him very “Uncool” things…He realized I was Mexican too, he could not confront my yelling & just ran away. Part of what I told him: Mexicans are also victims of racism but never thought two races that are commonly targeted could fight between them.

#11 Alle on 07.08.09 at 10:01 pm

Harry,

I discovered you after Kirstie Alley’s comments on Twitter. I wanted to find out who you were and why she was so expressive.

So I read your article and, you and I twittered for a bit. My strongest point was that you used the “Fat Actress” in your headline. I feel, still, it’s disparaging, because your blog isn’t about Kirsty being Fat, thin, purple or tall, it’s about her generalized (as twitter makes us do) comment about, and in fairness I do agree, her experience and observation with African American and Italian people. Sure not all are as she describes.

But I have to admit, in my experience, and maybe it’s entirely related to history, but people of Black Origin, and even Asian Origin, and European Origin, tend to be a lot more fun in life, but also work very hard for their achievements, in comparison to the majority of others, in my experience.

I had come to believed that Black and White was not longer a pendulum issue. In the last few months, I have learned it certainly is. This disappoints me. Michael Jackson since “It don’t matter if your black or white”, some 30 years after Martin Luthor King had a Dream. It seems both, were on the bleeding edge of reality.

I counted my ‘black’ origin friends, and my ‘white’ friends recently. I have black ancestry, ‘Stolen Generation’. I was surprised to find that most of the people I like most, and get on with most, are my more colourful, not just in their skin, but their dress, their makeup their hair styles, their command of language, their voices.

Yes there are a few ‘black’ people who hold the nasty stereotype in the race issue. But there are equally as many white people too.

I do beleive though, well I’d like to, that most respectful, responsible and intelligent people care less about Race, Religion, Disability, Mental Illness (Horrible inaccurate term), Age, Gender, or Sexuality when it comes to day to day life. I know I relish all the people I meet and work with across all of these groups.

I don’t enjoy seeing people attacking each other, simply because they are different.

Even I get ‘hate crime’ issues a few times a month, and would you beleive it’s from young white males!

Ohhh now I play the race card! But not in a negative or disparaging way. The reality is, these people are afraid, they are naive about the world they live in and so feel threatened by someone who is different.

Some ‘Black’ ancestry has suffered for centuries, but so too have some ‘White’ in the inverse conditions. I really don’t feel its so much a ‘black or white’ thing any more.

I think it’s social standards, education and using these six strands of discrimination as a means of sensationalizing or finding reason to be offended.

As a species we are always quick to find the negative and get angry, but most are very slow to think about the intent in a happily made statement, and whether it’s really a compliment.

We need labels to identify things. That won’t change. You are Black, I am, somewhere on the scale to white. (around 75%!) You are male. I am female.

You know the only thing we have in common! Language and a desire to express ourselves!

It’s been great meeting you tonight!

You have been been sensible and articulate and put your case forward, fairly.

I just feel a lean away from Kuko’s position, but that just means we can learn from each other by sharing our thoughts and adapting!

*hugs*

#12 Varneer on 07.08.09 at 10:30 pm

Science. This is one of the best blog posts of any kind I’ve ever read. You are an extremely thorough thinker and writer.

#13 JL on 07.09.09 at 12:33 am

Her comment just doesn’t make any sense on its face. She doesn’t know any cranky black people? Or obnoxious Italians? Let’s not even talk about those stubborn Irish.*

*I am of Irish descent.

#14 Badda on 07.09.09 at 2:22 am

Ugh… some of these responses are really making my head hurt.

The condescending advice to a person of color on how to conduct oneself. The “You must be angry” response. The “can’t we all just get along” response. The “my group gets discriminated against too so that cancels your Black issues out” response. The “Black people do bad stuff too” response. And God-help-me the invocations of MLK (and now MJ too, it would seem).

I won’t even get into the other exchanges on Twitter – one of which stopped just short of “How dare this negro…” and another who sounded like they felt qualified to teach Harry Allen a class in Journalism 101. Agree or disagree with his points, I’m NOT gonna try to school this man in his area of expertise. (I wikipedia’d Harry & his history and bio came up. I wikipedia’d his would-be educator and it referred me to Allen Spaghetti. True story.)

Typical, typical, typical crap. And the common thread through all of those responses (aside from the obvious) is the aversion to just taking what’s being explained as a lesson learned, adding it to their mental rolodex and keeping it moving.

Elizabeth’s response above –> How she doesn’t realize that “free and fun and light-hearted” gets followed right up by “they’re just like children, really!” is beyond me. This isn’t obscure stuff, people. It’s basic history.

Amen. And that’s all there is to it.

Harry, you’re better than me. This was a situation brilliantly handled despite what your detractors say. Hopefully when faced with similar situations I’ll handle them as cleverly and diplomatically as you have here.

#15 SW on 07.09.09 at 4:39 am

I agree with Boo. The point was *nearly* lost in the mud of \naval gazing at one’s own rhetoric\ and self congratulation, describing why you’d used almost every word, etc…

#16 Koku on 07.09.09 at 5:56 am

@Alle, “Fat Actress” was a television series Kirstie had on Showtime. It was italicized to indicate that. C’mon.

& LOL @ the rest of that shiny, happy, script. You would.

#17 Koku on 07.09.09 at 6:11 am

@Claudia Wow. You’re an amazing woman & should be applauded for your strength & courage. On that historic day, the revolution went untelevised.

@Just An Idea LOL @ the historical Irish reference. That one’s always fun. I can guarantee you Kirstie Alley has never been subjugated by anything or anyone outside of her own appetite.

@Brad I think you’re white.

@Gloria Brown See my comment to Brad, & my first sentence to Claudia.

@Boo LOL.

#18 @WilliamsonDavid on 07.09.09 at 10:43 am

Very thoughtful reaction/response.

#19 kent williams on 07.09.09 at 10:52 am

Kirstie Alley is kinda nuts. Unfortunately, that’s where this discussion has to start. I don’t think she means black folks any ill will, but I’m not sure how meaningful any dialog with her could be — I’ve seen her on talk shows and her answers barely waved hello to the question that were asked. You might try to have a useful dialog with her, but I don’t know how far you’d get.

Be that as it may, I think it’s hard for white folks in the US — even open-hearted, well-meaning white folks — to discuss race constructively. Not knowing black culture and history as well as we should, we don’t even know what we don’t know.

There’s a best seller in there somewhere: “Black Folks For Complete Dummies” or something like that.

#20 ssstrutt on 07.09.09 at 10:55 am

interesting read. the only part i couldn’t quite get with was this -

“Also, because many Black people often feel a need to protect white people when white people are made uncomfortable by a Black person, many Black people would come to her aid, and possibly turn against me.”

I guess it just isn’t what I generally witness. Perhaps it happens, but “many” and “often”? Pretty general words…

#21 Ray Winbush on 07.09.09 at 2:17 pm

IMHO, the *best* blog you’ve ever done!

#22 gretchen on 07.09.09 at 4:03 pm

we all say stupid and offensive things, but the true character indicator is that we apologize. you pointed out how she offended, with grace and respect, and she said nothing.

shame on kirstie alley.

#23 Heather on 07.09.09 at 4:52 pm

Kirstie Alley is kooky and has zero credibility for starters. What she probably meant is that she has met many cool and interesting black people, which she could just say, instead of blurting out “I wish I were black.” There are no funny and free white people? I don’t get it.

I grew up with a black step-family and often wished I was black growing up. However, I’ve never said that out loud, and it was really just to fit in with the rest of my family that I had that wish. So I neither fit in with black people nor white people per se, but value my unique perspective.

That being said, I am still always learning about people and race and it’s something most of us have to work on every day. Ms. Alley’s not responding to you was not ok, she really owed it to her Twitter followers to take part in and learn from the discussion.

#24 Sue on 07.09.09 at 4:55 pm

I think you are being way too sensitive about her statement. She’s a curvy women and we all know that many black men love curves & have a big juicy botty on a women. Some of it may be a little too much, but they love it-many(not all).
There are many woman in this world who feel like they were born in the wrong skin. Do some research, you would be suprised.

#25 dina on 07.09.09 at 4:57 pm

Wann’t nothing strange about Black people, what’s strange is the way they mis-interpert things.

#26 Elizabeth on 07.09.09 at 5:34 pm

Oh lord, save me from the persecuted Irish.

Yes, Irish people were discriminated against. Note the use of the past tense there. See any Irish kids getting kicked out of swimming pools lately?

Also pretty sure there isn’t any history of enslaving, lynching, or systematically denying all opportunities to Irish people. They did suffer from prejudice, but the effects were neither as severe nor as long-lasting as those of racism against black people.

I’m part Irish. Does that cause me the same problems as it would were I part black? Oh hell no.

#27 Shelia on 07.09.09 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for sharing. This is a great subject and I enjoyed reading what you and others had to say. I couldn’t help but share the whole thing with my colleague and husband (I read it aloud) as we often do when interesting topics cross our desk. The explanation of your choice of words… was the highlight to me. I will share with my network.

#28 @shaggieshapiro on 07.09.09 at 8:36 pm

Wow, this is funny. It’s nice to see that you can have a running dialogue with @kirstiealley, because she blocked my black ass. Maybe, you can ask her if she wants to be Black, why did she block my black ass

#29 Sojourner4Truth on 07.09.09 at 10:51 pm

Harry, this is a brilliant response to a complex issue. Not only was your exegesis masterful but so is your acumen at deciphering the complexities racism. Unfortunately, your article proves once again that the onus for teaching, schooling, communicating, mediating or “navigating” any conversation about racism is the “responsibility” of people of color, in general, and African Americans, specifically.

I am beyond offended, but not surprised, when told to “lighten up for golly sake,” or, when whites hide behind the subterfuge of “I didn’t mean any harm.” Intention does not equal impact. Impact equals impact.

Onward & Upward…

#30 ssstrutt on 07.10.09 at 12:36 pm

elizabeth, i think you missed the irony.

#31 ssstrutt on 07.10.09 at 12:41 pm

Oops Elizabeth, forget what I said. I thought you were responding to JL, now I see you were responding to Just An Idea. (I hope?)

#32 Michele on 07.10.09 at 1:44 pm

Once again, I am embarrassed to be a white person. On the other hand, at least I’m not a Scientologist.

PS: I didn’t know you could customize Captcha this way. Interesting.

#33 Max on 07.10.09 at 1:56 pm

very thoughtful response to her, h, really impressive. if it helps: as soon as you say “everything but the burden” – the cover of hte book helped, too – I get it. that made a huge impression on me, four words sort of summed up a whole attitude and i began to understand something, at least a little bit.

#34 Roxane on 07.10.09 at 2:23 pm

Alle, it is common journalistic practice, when referring to a actor, to reference their last movie or TV series. Alley’s last work was in Fat Actress. As such, until she gets a new job, she will be Fat Actress star Kirstie Alley. I can’t even begin to address the rest of your commentary.

#35 Virtue on 07.10.09 at 2:49 pm

you could have tweeted: i love women. i wish i was a woman. i love the idea of staying home, cooking and hanging out with kids all day.

maybe then she would have seen how her comments manifested as a slap in the face.

#36 steve-o on 07.10.09 at 9:08 pm

hahaha multipart tweets

slow down the wall of text, harry

#37 bigshorty on 07.11.09 at 1:58 am

Many people who would like to downplay Harry’s response will counter that he’s being too sensitive, lighten up, etc. White people ( generally speaking) become uncomfortable when confronted about behaviors that are considered offensive and derisive to many Black people. It goes much deeper than putting “them” in the equation ie. using the discrimination of the Irish in Europe (sometimes called “the niggers of Europe), the prejudice of Italians for being ” too dark and swarthy; ” anything south of Rome is Africa” the northern Italy vs. southern Italy debate, you get the point.

The point is white global supremacy and the still strong belief that people of African descent are less intelligent, moral, human, capable, civilized, etc. This permeates the world’s relationship with the African Diaspora, and just because you are not aware of it does not lessen it’s damaging effects. Historically and culturally conscious people of ALL ethnic persuasions are aware of this reality as has been stated by several white respondents to this thread. In essence this goes deeper than some feel good, we are the world, can’t we all get along rhetoric. Harry, when they attack, you know you’re on the right track.

#38 Christine on 07.12.09 at 12:27 pm

Harry, you need a life!!!!

#39 blair on 07.16.09 at 11:01 pm

Quit whining. Kirstie Alley is an idiot and so are you. You’re both stereotypes of the most annoying kind.

#40 White Linda on 07.17.09 at 12:53 pm

Of course we, as a white race, don’t get it. We weren’t there when Blacks were persecuted. All we see now is how we are being held accountable for everything Blacks suffered in the past. We all look at things from our own experiences and perspectives, black and white, or whatever. The racial tension is getting worse over time and you, Mr. Allen, are part of the problem. Don’t you see what you are doing? I realize you are trying to get us “whiteys” to see your point, but honestly, it just makes things worse. Most of us want to live in a world of equality, but because of people like you we either try too hard or just give up and say it’s no use. Personally, this just makes me more determined to “stick with my own kind” because it doesn’t seem to matter what we (whites) do or say, it’s wrong. Please, lighten up! (started to remove that last line as I realized how it could be taken, but why should I, I didn’t mean it that way when I wrote it. Although I’m sure it will be used to discredit me)

You know, we all feel like we’re victims, all of us.

#41 Donna T on 07.17.09 at 1:56 pm

Ahhh … since we are all whining today I want to whine too. I am unemployed – late night comedians are always making fun of my plight. Being a female – Yikes! Much more degradation in the media for being that as well. Raising kids in a single parent home – look to the conservative right wing to hear more stereotyping of my ilk. *sigh* Life is not fair. Kiss and make up, willya? : D

#42 Donna T on 07.17.09 at 1:59 pm

Oh yeah, I need some help paying bills, anyone starting their holiday shopping yet? Only 5 months until “that” Holiday that might also offend some. Apologies in advance. Keep smiling!

#43 J Robinson on 07.25.09 at 11:03 pm

I love Harry Allen- not only 4 speaking the truth, but because when he does so many listen. So many ppl auto-dismiss black ppl’s claims of racism, but jump to protect the feelings of an offended white. That’s a ‘crusty’ attitude that needs to end. Kirstie Allen untentionally offended many, yet more ppl will jump on Harry Allen 4 calling it out than will say “hey kirstie, that’s actually not cool.” Why is that, America?

#44 Camden on 07.28.09 at 6:32 am

Could somebody tell me why “black” is capitalized but “white” isn’t?

#45 Susan Toysindler on 01.16.11 at 6:36 am

Stereotyping is completely wrong. Hopefully the majority of society changes their mindset on how they stereotype certain things in life

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