What Is…Performative Allyship?

In the wake of the wrongful killing of George Floyd by a police officer a few months ago, I’ve increasingly seen the following term online: performative allyship. Given the increased use of that term, I thought I would do a “what is” post on this term, even though it wasn’t in my original plans. It’s another term that may seem like social justice jargon to some but is important to understand.

Performative allyship is, generally speaking, an action or set of actions that do more to show how virtuous someone is than help the cause they say they support. Performative allyship is not a term used as a compliment, but as a criticism of someone’s actions.

But how can you tell that you, or someone else, is engaging in an action of performative allyship?

Based on the reading I have done, it seems like different people have different opinions on the point at which someone’s allyship crosses the line into performative allyship. However, I think there’s probably good agreement that if the action you’re thinking of has a clear benefit for you, but does not have a clear benefit for the cause you say you support (or worse yet, if the action you’re thinking of doing may actually harm the cause), then you may need to reconsider your action (or think through it some more) in order to avoid performative allyship. One thing that I might consider to be an example of performative allyship was when some people were wearing safety pins in the aftermath of Trump’s election to the presidency—while the intention was to show that someone would be a “safe” person on issues ranging from race to LGBTQ+, I recall the pins being widely critiqued for doing more to advertise a person’s self-righteousness than actually address any problems.

Thinking about whether an action of yours might fall into performative allyship is not just important to the cause you support, but also to yourself. After all, if an action you’re thinking of is not actually going to do anything to benefit the cause you say you support, then, in all due honesty, why bother? Why waste your time doing something that does not support the cause you support in some tangible way? First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you actually help the cause you say you support, but you also want to make sure that you make good use of your time—something that would not be the case if you’re using your time with performative allyship.

Ultimately, performative allyship is unhelpful for both you and the cause you support. Instead, try to aim for what I might call supportive allyship—allyship that brings tangible benefits to the cause you support, regardless of whether there are any benefits for you.

The Outstanding Blogger Award!

So I found out recently that I’ve been nominated for another blogging award! This time, I was nominated by the blog Living Everyday for an Outstanding Blogger Award! Being nominated is an honor.

These are the rules for the award:

  1. Provide the link to the creator’s original award post.
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Create 7 unique questions.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator, nor the blogger that nominated you, can be nominated.
  5. At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award!

Here were the questions I got (with my answers in bold):

  1. What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic? I learned that I can be a quicker learner than I often give myself credit for. In just two months or so, I went from knowing nothing about Zoom to giving Zoom tutorials. Wild stuff.
  2. Where is your favorite place to vacation? I’m not a huge vacationer myself, but a vacation to anything historical or cultural is up my alley.
  3. What is your favorite season? Spring. It’s the time of year when the weather is getting warmer (but it’s usually not too hot) and the days are getting longer.
  4. Why did you start blogging and is it the same reason you continue? Honestly, I just wanted to talk about injustices that I and others may be blind to and/or blindly commit. Even though my blog has done other things, such as my COVID update posts and now some blog advice posts, that is the main reason why I continue blogging.
  5. Do you come from a large family? Not particularly. I only have one brother.
  6. What was your best (maybe not favorite) subject in high school? History was my best and my favorite subject in high school.
  7. Which would you rather read, fiction or non-fiction? I have a preference for non-fiction, but I would not turn down a good historical fiction book!

Here are the bloggers I’m nominating, in no particular order:

  1. Whispers of a Womanist
  2. Wheel Life Friends
  3. Indigenous Woman
  4. Food.for.Thoughts
  5. Radical Nurses
  6. Savvy + Sustainable
  7. Invisibly Me
  8. POC Stories
  9. Love Is Stronger
  10. Robby Robin’s Journey

Here are my questions for my award nominees:

  1. What have you learned about yourself during COVID? (I know, same question as one of the ones I was given, but I think it’s a good one.)
  2. What is an interest of yours you don’t think your readers are aware of?
  3. Has the focus of your blog changed over time? If so, how?
  4. Why did you decide to blog on the topic(s) you blog on?
  5. Are there any sports you are into? If so, which sports are you into, and which people or teams do you root for?
  6. What is a place you haven’t visited yet that you would like to visit?
  7. What is the best place you’ve been to? Why?

The Importance of Crisis Management from a United States President

When we go to vote in November, many of us will vote based on how much we agree with the principles of a particular candidate. Some of us may even decide to vote for a candidate because of a single issue a candidate has a particular stance on (something I strongly advise against because a president will have to deal with not one issue, but many issues). But my guess is that not as many of us will vote for a president based on how well or poorly someone has managed, or would manage, crises. And that should change.

One of the certainties of a sitting president is that the president will need to confront crises. If you’re not convinced of that, look at this list of recent presidents and the incomplete group of crises they each had to confront:

  • Donald Trump: COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane Maria in 2017, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017
  • Barack Obama: Superstorm Sandy in 2012, numerous mass shootings (Pulse, Aurora, and Charleston, to name three), and the Great Recession
  • George W. Bush: The Great Recession, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and 9/11
  • Bill Clinton: Columbine shooting in 1999, Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and Northridge, California earthquake in 1994
  • George H.W. Bush: Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Savings and Loan crisis, and Bay Area Earthquake in 1989
  • Ronald Reagan: Challenger rocket disaster in 1986 and Hurricane Alicia in 1983

And these are only the recent presidents. Going further back in history, presidencies were viewed as among the greatest or among the worst, in large part because of how those presidents handled crises. For example, Abraham Lincoln is considered among the all-time great presidents in large part due to his successful handling of the Civil War, while his predecessor, James Buchannan, is widely regarded as the worst because of his inaction as states seceded from the Union. Herbert Hoover is consistently ranked among the worst presidents due to his relative inaction when the Great Depression started, while his successor Franklin D. Roosevelt is widely regarded as among the greatest because so many thought that he responded to the Depression and World War II in a way that America became arguably the world’s strongest economic power for decades to come. A president’s response to a crisis can define a presidency, and sometimes even the course of the country for decades.

I’m not saying that one has to completely ignore the principles and positions taken up by the candidates. To the contrary, looking at principles and positions is an important part of figuring out who you want in the White House. However, figuring out how well a candidate would handle a crisis if elected is vastly underrated.

Barriers to Evacuating From a Weather Disaster

Before every hurricane, we hear elected officials to tell people to “get out of harm’s way.” They say that “if you don’t leave, you are putting your own life at risk.” Or even more dire—I’ve heard elected officials say that “death is certain” if you don’t evacuate. People in parts of Louisiana and Texas heard all of this as Hurricane Laura was approaching last week.

Now don’t get me wrong—I appreciate the strong language. I think that when a major hurricane is heading straight at you, particularly if you’re in an area vulnerable to storm surge from the hurricane, you need to evacuate, if at all possible.

However, I beg people, including any government officials, to take notice of that final clause in my previous sentence: if at all possible.

I say that because, for some people, evacuating is not possible. And the results of this are catastrophic, even deadly.

But how could this be the case, when governments like to give a face of taking these storms seriously? Well…here are just a few major barriers to evacuating from a weather disaster:

Not enough shelters are pet-friendly.

A Reuters article some time ago put it best—pet owners often think of their pets first when natural disasters strike.[1] Now some of that is because people are that emotionally attached to their pets (and that is valid), but we also have to keep in mind that, in some cases, people literally can’t function without their pets. From people who rely on animals as a form of therapy for physical and/or mental health issues, to blind individuals who rely on guide dogs to get them around, there is a whole population of people who can’t function without their pets. Therefore, it is unacceptable for governments to either be short on shelters (as was the case with Florida before Hurricane Irma in 2017, according to the aforementioned Reuters article) or lack pet-friendly shelters in the first place (as was the case with South Carolina with Hurricane Florence a few years ago[2]). If governments want people to evacuate, they need to have evacuation shelters that allow people to be with their pets, for both people who are attached to their pets and for people who can’t function without pets.

Governments also do not provide adequate transportation for people with disabilities.

I was only eleven years old when Hurricane Katrina hit, but one of the things I remember from Katrina was how the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana did not adequately provide transportation for the disabled to get to a safe place. Depending on the disability, one may not be able to get to higher ground on their own; therefore, there needs to be help. With Hurricane Katrina, government didn’t help adequately, and the death toll was probably much higher than it should’ve been because of that lack of help.

I will end this section with a quote from a report issued by the National Council on Disability in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005: “For example, during the Katrina evacuation, many people with disabilities could not evacuate because to do so would require them to abandon support services and personnel. Moreover, since emergency transportation and shelters could not care for them, many people with disabilities were forced to stay behind.”[3]

Employee rights are inadequate.

How inadequate are employee rights? So inadequate that people can, and have, been fired because of evacuating from hurricanes. For example, a woman in North Carolina claimed that she was fired for not showing up to work after losing power during Hurricane Florence in 2018—that’s very possible because North Carolina is what’s called an “at-will employment state,” or a state where “private-sector employees can be fired for any reason – or no reason at all.”[4] There were also stories galore before, during, and after Hurricane Irma asking whether an employee can be fired for fleeing from the hurricane (by the way, the consensus answer was “yes”). Until governments have better protections keeping people from being fired for not showing up to work during or immediately after a hurricane as part of an evacuation plan, people will hesitate to evacuate for fear of missing work and being fired.


When a disaster such as a hurricane is on the way, the barriers to evacuating should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. However, that does not happen, and that likely results in preventable deaths.

Please note that I will not publish a post next Monday, as next Monday is Labor Day.


[1] This article talked about how, even for those who need companion animals, pet-friendly shelters were difficult to find: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-elderly-evacuation-pets/florida-needs-more-pet-friendly-hurricane-shelters-for-the-elderly-idUSKBN1CM2Q4

[2] https://weather.com/safety/hurricane/news/2018-09-11-where-to-take-pets-south-carolina-shelters

[3] https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED496270.pdf

[4] https://www.nbc26.com/news/national/employers-can-fire-employees-who-evacuated-for-hurricane-in-north-carolina

Should Bloggers Blog About Politics?

As my readers, particularly my readers in the United States, would know, we have a presidential election this year.

With the election coming up, some are shamelessly blogging about politics. But many are grappling with how much to blog about politics, or whether to blog about politics at all.

If you are one such person who’s grappling, this blog post is designed for you.

Before going further, let me start by saying that if you don’t think you can handle adversarial comments resulting from what you express in your blog post, it is wisest to not publish your post on politics. Given the divisive nature of American politics (and politics in some other parts of the world), you should be prepared to handle some vitriol in the comments section of your post. It’s not guaranteed to happen, but you should be prepared for it to happen. As I’ve known bloggers brought to their knees (or even quit their blogs) over just a couple nasty comments directed at them, and as I’ve known bloggers whose mental health was negatively affected by vitriolic comments to posts, it is important to honestly assess whether you can handle sharp criticism of your political post before publishing a post on politics.

As to how to assess whether you can handle any level of challenging response to your political post, what I would recommend is this: think about how you’ve handled situations where you were in a contentious discussion online, assuming you’ve been in such a situation before (whether it be your blog, social media, or something else). If you didn’t respond well in other online situations where there was a contentious discussion, then you likely won’t respond well to it from strangers on the internet upon publishing a political post.

If you think you can handle difficult comments on a political blog post you publish, then you might be okay with publishing blog posts about politics. However, before determining for sure whether you should blog about politics, there’s one more question you must answer for yourself: What do you hope to achieve with your blog posts about politics?

If your goal is simply to vent about the current political affairs or to make your readers know where you stand on an election race, then all you need to do is write and then hit the “publish” button. Once you publish, you have achieved your goal.

If your goal is to educate people on an election issue or contest, you need to think about whether your potential post accomplishes this. If so, you can publish. If not, you shouldn’t hit the “publish” button. This is a judgement call you would have to make, and a judgement call I frequently have to make.

If your goal is to sway people to “your side,” you will likely walk away disappointed if you weigh into a race or issue where very few people are undecided. If few people are undecided about how to vote to begin with, for example, then you have few people to sway. However, I must add that if you weigh in on a political issue or race where a lot of people are undecided, then people reading your rationale for voting for a candidate or supporting an issue may be helpful to your readers.

If your goal is to grow your blog’s following through writing about politics, a blog post on politics may actually be one of the last things you want to do. Readers can, and have, unfollowed blogs because of a post on politics that one took issue with. In fact, when considering whether to publish a post on politics, you should ask yourself whether it’s a post you’d be willing to lose a couple or even a few of your readers over (and if not, don’t publish).

To sum things up, when considering whether to publish a blog post on politics, the following should be taken into consideration:

  • Whether you can handle the potential vitriol that comes from responses to the post
  • What you hope to achieve through your blog posts on politics, and whether that hope is attainable through publishing your blog post
  • Whether you would be willing to lose a couple or even a few of your readers over the political post you make

If you’ve published blog posts on politics, and have other things you’d like to add to what I said here, please comment below! I’m more than happy to hear tips from others, as well as questions from people who are unsure of whether to blog about politics.