Terry Crews faced backlash on Twitter for warning his followers about a potential slide into "Black Supremacy." The actor was reprimanded by other celebrities, as well as activists and pundits for drawing a false equivalence and spreading what some saw as misinformation. Crews accepted some of these critiques in what turned out to be a relatively productive online discussion.
For once, a misstep on Twitter led to a learning experience after Terry Crews posted about "Black Supremacy" on Sunday night. The actor told his followers that cooperation with non-racist white people is essential to "defeating White supremacy," otherwise the tables will simply be turned. Many people pointed out that the U.S. is unlikely to ever fall under "Black Supremacy" in the same sense that it spend hundreds of years under white supremacy, but they did so in an engaging way that seemed to resonate with Crews in some cases.
So, brother: here's why your tweet is a problem:
1. Black supremacy isnt possible unless we rewrite the last millennium.
2. Who's doing this without whites? Plenty of allies
3. Your voice is too big to tweet so inaccurately,— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) June 8, 2020
unproductively & provide cover for white supremacy
Crews did defend his tweet to some extent — or at least the point underlying it. He maintained that cooperation with white allies is essential to activism for African American interests, which his detractors agreed with. The argument quickly became semantic, with many suggesting that Crews should be more precise in his terminology.
"I was not saying Black supremacy exists, because it doesn't," he wrote to actor Tyler James Williams later on in the night. "I am saying that if both Black and Whites don't continue to work together — bad attitudes and resentments can creat a dangerous self-righteousness. That's all."
Critics said that this point was undeniable — so much so that it was barely worth expressing. Some argued that Crews merely implied that the hard-working activists out there did not already know this by saying cooperation was essential. Moreover, they thought his tweet was meant more to appease his white followers than to resonate with his African American followers.
I believe it is important we not suffer from groupthink, and we keep minds of our own, and be allowed to ask difficult questions to each other. I believe this dialogue is important as we get through this trauma together. I love you.— terry crews (@terrycrews) June 8, 2020
Some also said that they have come to expect more from Crews after he spoke out during the Me Too movement in 2017. The actor was one of the first men to come forward and speak out about his experience being sexually assaulted. Crews continued talking to other prominent voices on Twitter throughout the night, and on Monday morning he seemed to book-end the conversation.
"Please know that everything I've said comes from a spirit of love and reconciliation, for the Black community first, then the world as a whole, in hopes to see a better future for Black people," he wrote. "I believe it is important we not suffer from groupthink, and we keep minds of our own, and be allowed to ask difficult questions to each other. I believe this dialogue is important as we get through this trauma together. I love you."
While many people accepted and valued Crews' input in the discourse, others thought that he should do more reading and listening before speaking out. Here is a breakdown of the responses Crews got for his "Black Supremacy" tweet.
Who is HONESTLY arguing for blacks vs whites OTHER than white supremacists?
Cautioning against black supremacy WHEN IT DOESN'T EXIST only plays into the white supremacist narrative of being "concerned" about the protests— Nealer 🇨🇦 (@MadCanuk) June 8, 2020
what were you saying then, terry? pic.twitter.com/ulwTeiJ1x3— ❄️WhereIsMyDamnNose❄️ (@NeptunianPlanet) June 8, 2020
Quite While You're Ahead
Nah, bruh. This ain’t that. You came out bogus and you need to atone for that.— Corey Richardson (@vexedinthecity) June 8, 2020
Please log off. I beg you. pic.twitter.com/An0HMADSy8— Shana V. White (@ShanaVWhite) June 8, 2020
And we wind up sounding like apologists for White supremacy, and become easy prey for right-wingers who zone in on posts like yours to use against Black folks over and over again. Black Supremacy is trending because of you, sir, and White racists, not Black people.— Kevin Powell (@kevin_powell) June 8, 2020
The problem, Terry, is that your definition of equality is rooted in white supremacy and you either are unaware of it or engaging in bad-faith for your own agenda.— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) June 8, 2020
u wildin right now— Desus Nice (@desusnice) June 8, 2020
Our people are tired of white people who put on a good face a claim they “arnt racist” while operating and benefiting from the privilege of a clearly racist system.
We’re not trying to do this alone. We KNOW we can’t. But we refuse to have allies who won’t go the distance.— Tyler James Williams (@TylerJamesWill) June 8, 2020
Terry don’t you find it worrying that 99% of the people agreeing with you are white?? I think I understand the point behind your tweet but I don’t think you’re really thinking about what you’re saying before you say it.— ѕkччѕkrαpєr вlm☽☼☽ (@LegsandBread) June 8, 2020
Terry, are you okay? Seriously. Millions are in the street protesting for equality. YOU are the only person talking about black supremacy. It’s okay to log off and take a nap. Swear!!!— call gunna if you want you a birkin (@KiaSpeaks) June 8, 2020