We Used to March; Now, We Twerk—Tiara Mack Demonstrates How Far We've Fallen

AP Photo/File

The Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), one of the key players in the Civil Rights Movement, wrote this about the 1963 March on Washington:

The 1963 March on Washington attracted an estimated 250,000 people for a peaceful demonstration to promote Civil Rights and economic equality for African Americans. Participants walked down Constitution and Independence avenues, then — 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed — gathered before the Lincoln Monument for speeches, songs, and prayer. Televised live to an audience of millions, the march provided dramatic moments, most memorably the Dr. King’s Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech.

Far larger than previous demonstrations for any cause, the march had an obvious impact, both on the passage of civil rights legislation and on nationwide public opinion. It proved the power of mass appeal and inspired imitators in the antiwar, feminist, and environmental movements. But the March on Washington in 1963 was more complex than the iconic images most Americans remember it for. As the high point of the Civil Rights Movement, the march — and the integrationist, nonviolent, liberal form of protest it stood for — was followed by more radical, militant, and race-conscious approaches.


As the Virginia Slims commercial said, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” In this case, it’s not a good look.

Now, instead of marching, we are rioting, burning, and… twerking?!

First we saw it in the abortion rights protests after the overturn of Roe.

And some strippers also decided twerking for their rights was a thing.

But now, pop culture and politics have merged, thanks to Rhode Island State Senator Tiara Mack. I’m quite sure nobody has missed this viral TikTok video, from her official senate account, no less.

Mack received the attention she wanted when the video went viral. She claimed that this was just her way of expressing her body autonomy in the wake of the Dobbs abortion decision, and did a series of posters like “Twerk for Abortion Justice,” and “Twerk for Black Girl Magic,” to reinforce her point.


This got her an op-ed in Newsweek, where she bemoaned the “separate rules” that dictated her actions, and justified why her unacceptable behavior is really perfectly acceptable—because she’s queer and Black.

As a queer, Black woman I am used to this treatment. It doesn’t make it okay, but I realize there are separate rules in society for me. I choose not to follow them, and for many that is liberating and for others it rubs them the wrong way. I lead with empathy, love, compassion, and joy in all that I do.

Always about the different standards. Here’s what puzzles me. Even with these supposed standards, she got elected by a wide margin (or so she claims). So, it seems those different standards didn’t stop Mack from winning a public office, did it? And if these so-called different standards are so horrendous, then as a State Senator Mack should use her elected office to work to change those standards!

Instead, Mack is pushing hard for bills that sexualize children and twerking for votes. Mack, of course, plays the CRT card of, “I don’t have to uphold your standards, because your standards are RACIST!!!!”

girl. I have an Ivy League degree and am a state senator. Hate to break it to you. Their decorum isn’t for us. They can’t respect us in a system designed to oppress us.


The same system that allowed you to run for office, win that office, and then allowed you to make a fool of yourself on Tiktok.

What a slap in the face to Black women who don’t make excuses, don’t see standards as an oppressor/oppressed thing, and hold themselves to those standards out of respect for themselves, and others.

Here’s the rub. In the 1960s, Blacks had a lot to say about injustice, the different standards of Jim Crow, and, oh… little things like bombing churches, being beaten when we tried to vote, and lynching. The nation wasn’t listening, so what did we do? We Marched.

As CORE emphasized, this was groundbreaking in the United States, especially when the juxtaposition of the violent response to these marches and peaceful protests was seen. We won the day with solid policies and solid action.

The same can be said in the fight to end abortion. When Roe became the law of the land in January 1973, Catholics for Life and other groups decided to March peacefully on the anniversary of the decision and they did it for 50 years. With powerful voices, proven advocacy and resources for unborn babies and the women who carried them, and the implementation of solid legislation at the state level, Roe was finally overturned.


But Tiara Mack’s twerking is a bright, shiny object that got people’s attention, and that was it. No intelligent, reasoned or substantive voice. No real policies. No forward direction.

The “Ivy League” education not withstanding, when Mack opened her mouth, she pretty much proved all the pushback and criticism. Mack has said nothing beyond the same tired talking points of the Democrat checkbox class. Mack leads with her race and her sexuality, and any policies she is spouting are about race and sexuality. Just like exposing children to these Drag Queen spectacles, it is an attempt to normalize behavior that is anything but normal.

Much of this criticism and pushback on Mack’s wrecking of standards and decorum is not only coming from conservatives or the right-wing, but from a whole lot of Black people—especially Black women—who have worked hard to not be otherized and sexualized. With one stupid TikTok video, this has been blown to smithereens.

We used to March. Now, we twerk.

Which gets the winning results?

Which changes the course of a nation?


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