#FreeBree – Bree Newsome and the incredible act of capture the flag.

image1This is yet another really late post and many probably have already heard what happened but I still wanted to write about Bree Newsome – the black woman who scaled a flag pole and removed the confederate flag that was still flying over the South Carolina capitol. She, along with her partner in crime who was on guard below the pole, were both arrested and were charged with “defacing monuments on state capitol grounds”. There has been a petition started to drop the charges that also has more information.

Newsome released a statement to Blue Nation Review, where she wrote about her work regarding racial justice and community organizing and overall, wrote an incredibly powerful statement. She wrote about standing in solidarity with all marginalized and oppressed and being heartbroken over the murders of the nine black Bible study members in Charleston and that #BlackLivesMatter. At one point, she wrote in particular that:

For far too long, white supremacy has dominated the politics of America resulting in the creation of racist laws and cultural practices designed to subjugate non-whites. And the emblem of the confederacy, the stars and bars, in all its manifestations, has long been the most recognizable banner of this political ideology. It’s the banner of racial intimidation and fear whose popularity experiences an uptick whenever black Americans appear to be making gains economically and politically in this country.

It’s a reminder how, for centuries, the oppressive status quo has been undergirded by white supremacist violence with the tacit approval of too many political leaders.

There have also been many amazing art works done in honor of Bree and what she did. All of them are so well done and capture the amazing grace of Bree and her act.

Unfortunately Bree has been getting a lot of death threats and general negative comments because of her amazing act of civil disobedience. So her family has been asking for people to send in encouraging words and love for her to [email protected] I’ve sent in an email with some love and encouragement but again: Bree – you are wonderful and amazing and thank you so much for your act of civil disobedience! The flag needs to go and you scaling that flag pole was tremendous.

Your Faves are Problematic – Joss Whedon.

After watching Avengers: Age of Ultron and finally finishing up season two of Agents of Shield, I’ve been thinking a lot about the problematic man that is Joss Whedon. There is a small, tiny, really minuscule part of me that really does want to love him and his work but there is just so many problematic things that have come from him. So I thought I’d share some of the things that Joss Whedon has done to earn the position of problematic celebrity.

Rather than ramble on and on myself about the man, I’m just going to link to other things that have been critiquing him and his brand of feminism.

  • There’s an entire tumblr called ‘Joss Whedon is not a feminist’
  • Here’s a long list of shitty things he has done with more links, including:
    • Being ableist
    • Being transphobic
    • Racist
    • Whitewashed on more than one occasion in more than one major project
  • There is a tumblr dedicated to collecting receipts on celebrities and has an entire tag devoted to Joss
  • Another list of things he has done with even more links (some in this list have already been covered but wanted to include it anyway)
  • What Joss Whedon gets wrong about the word ‘feminist’

I honestly don’t expect people, celebrities in particular, to be perfect and flawless humans. Making mistakes and messing up is part of humanity and honestly, I don’t think that part of us is ever not going to be a thing. But one of the most awful things you can do regarding mistakes (in my opinion) is to not grow and learn from them. Repeatedly doing the same mistakes and shitty behavior over and over again starts to not be mistakes but reinforced behavior. After a certain point, it won’t be a mistake but instead will be a significant part of the person you are. Or at least, that’s my own opinion.

Learning from your mistakes (and the mistakes of others) and changing your behavior from what you’ve learned should be a key part of feminism – especially for white people. I think it’s important to be vocal about the ways in which people have fucked up and hold others (and yourself) accountable. Liking a problematic person doesn’t make you a bad person but justifying their terrible behavior does. Saccharinescorpine on tumblr wrote a really great post about liking problematic people and states that:

you’re allowed to like something while being loud, vocal, and angry about how much you hate the bad parts. be mean, be unpleasant, but never just be the person who gives a pass to all the bullshit that assholes can get away with in this world just because you don’t want to feel bad for liking a tv show or celebrity

Understanding Race, Racism, and White Supremacy as a White Person.

This is yet another post to not only my fellow white people but to myself as well. As white people, we need to not only acknowledge the history and context of white supremacy and racism within the US that puts us into a position of power but also start to actively destroy the current system and status quo. Acknowledging racism and tearing down the system of white supremacy as white people will be uncomfortable at times but it is completely necessary. Dr. Robin DiAngelo wrote about why it’s so hard to talk to white people about race, highlighting in the beginning that:

Social scientists understand racism as a multidimensional and highly adaptive system — a system that ensures an unequal distribution of resources between racial groups. Because whites built and dominate all significant institutions, (often at the expense of and on the uncompensated labor of other groups), their interests are embedded in the foundation of U.S. society. While individual whites may be against racism, they still benefit from the distribution of resources controlled by their group.

I wrote recently about some starting points for myself and other white people, in which I included the PBS production Race – The Power of Illusion. The reason I’ve referenced this twice now over a short span of time is because of the impact the production had on my own understanding of race and racism. PBS has a plethora of online resources to read but everything I’ve found about the actual video seems to indicate that you’d have to order the video straight from PBS in order to see it all. If you ever do get the chance to watch the film, I definitely recommend it.

And it’s important to keep in mind that the way in which we as white people experience the world is completely different than people of color. Maisha Z. Johnson wrote up a list of examples that prove that white privilege protects white people from the police, highlighting the fact that racial profiling and implicit biases impact how police interact with people of color and many other factors.

Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote a letter from Black America about the relationship that many black Americans have with police. Jezebel Delilah X also wrote about four reasons why the US police forces is an extension of slavery and white supremacy. And The Guardian points out that black Americans are significantly more likely to be unarmed when killed by the police than white Americans and people of color are proportionally more likely to be killed by police overall.

RaceCharts11There’s also this belief for many white people that the US is a post racial society after the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964. (Like, for example, the success of some means racism is over.) But Braden Goyette and Alissa Scheller came up with 15 charts and stats that prove that we are far from a post racial society. (One in which is to the left.) Crystal Fleming wrote a piece talking about white supremacy and the killing of Walter Scott, particularly highlighting:

Black precedent reveals that a black president is not enough to halt the onslaught of anti-black violence that has always been routine in our nation. What we continue to need is sustained multiracial activism and political engagement to bring about a more just and compassionate society — the kind of grassroots work being done by organizers and activists pushing for police reform in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland and across the country.

Also reverse racism (racism to white people) is not a thing. Dain Dillingham wrote an article with 5 questions for anyone who thinks they are a victim of ‘reverse racism’. Racism, simply put, is a systemic power + prejudice, something that only white people have within the US.

Lastly, there are a few more articles I wanted to include – most having to do with what we can do as white people. Jamie Utt wrote last November about how Ferguson calls on white people to regain our humanity. Utt also wrote another article about a month ago about how as white people, a big way to end racism is to invest in other white people. This, of course, sounds like the wrong way to go but Utt wrote that:

…the more that I think about it, I realize that White people who wish to work in racial justice solidarity and who strive for allyship need to realize our fundamental responsibility to do more than simply “call out” other White people.

We must take up the long, difficult, often emotionally-exhausting work of calling them in to change.

SpectraSpeaks wrote something similar long before Utt did though – calling for white allies to stop unfriending other white people over Ferguson. Spectra wrote that as an afrofeminist Nigerian advocate, she was not able to do the same things that we as white people are. She particularly calls on white people to step up more, saying:

I need you to step up in a major way, and leverage the connections you DO have to address ignorance with conversation and interrogate white privilege with compassion. Because I will not do this. I cannot do this.

My rage as a black person witnessing yet another moment in the endless cycle of racism in the US prevents me from engaging in “level headed” conversations with people who see this terribly unjust Ferguson ruling as just another news story to banter about at the water cooler.

Feminist Friday: The Erasure of Our Own within the Queer Community.

There is so much that I absolutely love and adore about the queer community – this was a community that was often there for me when it felt like no one else was. I’ve gotten support and love and so much from the community but I also realize how much erasure exists here. I’ve learned about the world and about myself in a large part because of the support and resources I’ve found through the queer community. But I’ve also seen more than my fair share of erasure within this same community.

Women, trans folks, and people of color working at the nation’s largest LGBT rights group say they feel excluded: http://t.co/FyWJpdzQge

— BitchMedia (@BitchMedia) June 16, 2015

It’s interesting to see how incredible white and masculine the queer community can be. A report has found that the largest and most funded “LGBT” group in the US (the Human Rights Campaign) is actually more of a white mens club than anything else.

femme1This comic is the first few panels of a much longer comic about the femmephobia within the queer community and 4 ways in which to support queer femmes. In a related article, Erin Tatum wrote about her own experiences as a bisexual person and the glorification of masculinity in the the queer dating scene. Tatum brings up so many good points in that article, including the bi erasure that often occurs and the invalidation of some identities (like bisexuality and pansexuality).

It’s so important to acknowledge the erasure within the queer community, especially for all the identities that are not the LG of LGBTQ+. Josh A. Goodman wrote his experiences as a bisexual man and the barriers that come with non-monosexual identities. Eliel Cruz has written about bisexual erasure before – in particular highlighting how 2014 was the year of bisexual invisibility.

I personally really relate to some of the experiences Michal Jones wrote about in their article on coming out as genderqueer and nonbinary in and out of the queer community. One of the things I particularly relate to was this:

The queer community was one of the first places that I felt free to explore the sides of myself that my childhood tormentors attempted to beat out of me, and still remains a primary source of strength, community, and voice for me.

But as I learned more about the messiness of gender and intersecting identities, I noticed and internalized gender roles and dynamics within queer communities that were reflective of values held by greater,heteronormative society.

everdayfem11-e1425317677882It’s also interesting to see how misogyny shows up within the queer community. Ryan O’Connell wrote about gay men and their not so cute misogyny problem, highlighting some of the misogynistic aspects some gay men have perpetrated.

Transphobia is yet another thing that stays within the queer community and alienates the transgender, gender nonconforming, non binary, and overall trans siblings that exist in the queer community. Laverne Cox says it all so much better than I ever could in the below interview:

(Transcript found here)

And of course, there’s the racism that’s so embedded within so many aspects of US society, including many parts of the queer community at large. Rev. Patricl S. Cheng, Ph.D wrote about his own experiences and other stories of racism against Asian queer people a few years ago, particularly highlighting the racist nature of many planned queer parties.

Like many things I’ve written about in the past, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg about this issue. The exclusionary nature of the mainstream queer community isn’t limited to people who are bisexual or transgender or to people of color. There seems to be a severe lack of intersectionality in the mainstream queer culture (as often highlighted and perpetuated by the Human Rights Campaign, which remains one of the largest and most funded LGBT organizations in the US).


1535508_1025294764161969_3193991848114266923_nLast night, a white man joined a bible study in the historic Charleston, South Carolina Emmanuel AME church and ended the night by shooting and killing 9 black men and women (6 of the victims were black women). Of course, the coverage surrounding the (white male) killer is incredibly influenced by white supremacy and privilege and so many on Twitter are calling for the shooter to be called what he rightly is – a terrorist. It’s important to see this as a act of violent white supremacy.

I’m utterly and completely heartbroken for the families impacted by last night’s shooting, for all of those who pay the price of white supremacy with their lives. The violent nature of white supremacy and racism within the US has claimed far too many lives – even just one is not acceptable. To all of those mourning today and every other day, I’m so sorry for your loss.


*Addition: if you can, donate to the church impacted by last night’s shooting.

Some Tips and a Few Starting Points. (For Other White People)

So this one goes out to all my fellow whitey tighties, to all the other white people trying to be better, and ultimately, to myself. I am writing this from the experience and position as a white person so a lot of what I have to say is just references to people (usually people of color) who have said it before and said it better. None of the ideas or tips below are inherently mine – all come from reading through many many articles and narratives or conversations I have had in the past.

And more than anything else, this is a note to myself, a reminder of what I personally have to do as a white person to be better.

A few starting places and lists of things to do as an ally:

  • So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All Allies Need to Know by Jamie Utt
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Being A Good Ally by Karnythia
  • 10 Simple Ways White People Can Step Up to Fight Everyday Racism by Derrick Clifton
  • Becoming a White Ally by Jessica Alzen

One of the most important things to do to act as an ally? Educate yourself. Read articles about race, the history and social construction of race, racism, a history book that describes actual history and not the whitewashed/vague history we are often given in high school. Watch videos and films and learn as much as you can. Read and pay attention to the narratives that people of color put out in the world (because there are plenty of those narratives already available.)

This part will of course take work on your own account. Take responsibility for yourself – use Google, find sites like Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism, etc that have countless articles and narratives about race (and often include intersectionality of race and other identities). I often try to have a collection of resources about social justice issues so this can be a starting point to finding other resources.

Some places to start however:

  • Race – the Power of an Illusion
    • PBS worked on a series and incredible amount of resources regarding race and this ended up the final product. There are resources, background readings (included below), questions and answers, and so much more.
  • Scientific Background Readings on Race from PBS, including:
    • 10 things everyone should know about race
    • Interview with Joseph Graves, Jr (evolutionary biologist)
  • Historical Background Readings on Race from PBS, including:
    • The Historical Origins and Development of Racism
    • Origin of the Idea of Race
  • Societal Background Readings on Race from PBS
  • A Sociological Definition of Race

Another thing to keep in mind while acting as an ally is to realize that not only is it a constant set of behaviors but it’s also not about you/us/whiteness. Do not make things about you; do not center yourself. Take the sidelines and center marginalized people when they speak. Mia Mckenzie says it better than I ever could and wrote on Black Girl Dangerous that:

It’s not supposed to be about you. It’s not supposed to be about your feelings. It’s not supposed to be a way of glorifying yourself at the expense of the folks you claim to be an ally to. It’s not supposed to be a performance. It’s supposed to be a way of living your life that doesn’t reinforce the same oppressive behaviors you’re claiming to be against. (source)

Of course, all of this is just the tip of an iceberg, the beginning of a journey. There is so much more information and context and history out there to learn and understand. So for now and like many other posts I have written, consider this just step one of many and not an ending point in any regard.

Beauty Norms.

Through years and generations and centuries of violent colonialism, white supremacy, and imperialism, the US has gotten really great at whitewashing beauty norms and normalizing beauty norms to mean a specific set of physical traits. I, personally, can really only talk about beauty from the stance as someone who has lived almost entirely within the US as a white, fat, queer person. So my own experiences with beauty are warped but also extremely privileged in many ways.

A couple years ago, Dove came out with this video that was supposed to be empowering to women and talked about “real beauty”. (Ya know, the one titled “you’re more beautiful than you think” and basically said that women are our own harshest critics or something.) There have been plenty of critiques of this video, primarily because the video still focuses on women who fit into the conventional beauty norms of the US (white, skinny, young, etc). Golda Poretsky wrote about five different critiques of the video, which I definitely recommend reading through. Similarly, Jazz (last name unknown) wrote a critique about the video and also brings up so many great points, including the fact that there are only a few people of color in the video for only a few seconds. (If you’re at a computer reading this, hover over the text with your mouse and for me at least, it got a little easier to read.)

The sense of beauty within the US (and some other ways) is very dependent on whiteness – having white skin is seen as the default, the “norm”. Lindsay Kite brought up many amazing points about the whitewashing of beauty, specifically talking about how the current beauty ideals uphold whiteness and exclude women of color. Kite also addresses some of the ways in which the massive beauty corporations have repeatedly lightened the skin of many women (such as Gabourey Sidibe in the photos below):

Companies like Loreal and Clairol have come under fire for digitally lightening both the skin color and hair color of black women featured in their advertising…

gabourey-sidibe-photoshop-450-thumb-450x300-764251The fashion and modeling world has also come under attack (for a good reason) about the rampant racism that exists within that industry and the fact that the industry (especially Fashion Week) is getting whiter and whiter. Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn have both come forward with the incredibly racist encounters they have experienced in the fashion industry as models. Chanel Iman opened up about some of the problems that the fashion industry has with race and some of the things she has faced, saying specifically:

“… A few times I got excused by designers who told me ‘we already found one black girl. We don’t need you anymore.’ I felt very discouraged. When someone tells you, ‘we don’t want you because we already have one of your kind, it’s really sad.”

And something that also continues to be a problem regarding beauty norms within the US is the fatphobia and the monetary gain from fat shaming and weight loss. A few months ago, I wrote about my own sense of worth living as a fat queer and unemployed person in a capitalistic society. And that continues to be true because of the way corporations reap the monetary benefits from fat people hating our bodies. US News reported that people in the US spend upwards of $60 billion every single year trying to lose weight.

The Militant Baker has a really great post about the model Tess Munster and how as a society, we have gravitated towards fat shaming and hating fat people who are fat with themselves. Plus sized models are almost nonexistant, especially in the context of actually being realistically plus sized. Most plus sized models rarely wear something larger than a size 16/18 and usually are tall as well. Which is why the 5ft5in and size 22 Tess Munster is getting such an outcry – she doesn’t fit into that plus sized narrative that we as a society have accepted.

In that same article, Jes Baker talks about the concept of body currency – or the idea that if we get to the ideal body size, then we will also obtain love, happiness, worthiness. Baker does highlight the problem with body currency, stating that:

The obvious problem with Body Currency is that thinness doesn’t necessarily equal happiness. It just equals money in the pockets of companies who sell us insecurity to make sure that we’re repeat customers. It’s a real shitty move on their part and leaves anyone who believes in the scam SOL which then makes them angry without really knowing why. So they direct all their angry feels towards those who cheated the system and found the pot of gold without doing any of the goddamn work.

Looking back, it’s easy (for me at least) to see how beauty norms and the concept of beautiful has been rigged to show a small set of physical traits that privilege being thin and being white. There are of course so many other factors that go into beauty norms – including age, class, gender, sexuality, and so many others. It’s important to be critical of the messages we are given through the media and society as a whole because more often than not, those messages are laced with racism, hatred, and overall problematic natures.

And of course, there’s much more that goes into this – particularly regarding race. Because whiteness is valued, put into a position of power, and that’s something that we as white people must be critical of.

Spoiler Alert: white people can’t become people of color.

Recently, Twitter exploded in a flurry over the fact that the current Spokane NAACP chapter president wasn’t in fact a black woman like she had been portraying for years but in fact a white woman in blackface. The news that Rachel Dolezal, a white woman, was called out by her own parents recently for portraying herself as black.

This story, of course, opened a massive can of worms about race and interestingly enough, gender. There have been some arguing that if you can be transgender (and not identify with the gender you were assigned at birth), then you can also be transracial (and thus, identify as a race/ethnicity that you are not). This mindset is completely false however, especially considering that’s not what transracial means. But, as a white person, I’ll never ever be able to truly articulate everything that wrong in regards to identifying as a race you are not so here are so tweets and articles to read through.

tumblr_npur9wGlIR1qbuju8o1_540 [Image of a Facebook post from Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey saying: Another point that was brought up on Tumblr that’s worth sharing… As a black woman I can’t just decide to be white and enjoy the privileges of being white. And no, not even having a white husband let’s me buy into white privilege. So no, Rachel cannot just decide to change her race and call it a day. When it comes to POC passing as white, it’s not comparable because they are not actively changing themselves to look white (and even if they are changing their appearance) they are still POC, even if people code them as white in their daily lives. Not to mention YEARS of institutional racism and society telling POC that whiteness is the standard, which accounts for internalized racism is not comparable. At all. Please don’t bring up Michael Jackson, cause ya’ll clowned him endlessly and we still knew he was black. Finally, in the past, for black people passing was in some ways a means of survival ut also incredibly dangerous and at one time illegal. Rachel’s low budget blackface jaunt doesn’t compare in any way shape or form. Please stop caping for this woman and please stop using her behavior to demean trans people who’s [sic] lives are in danger and rights are dismissed because of their gender.] (For a better quality photo and the tumblr post where I found this: click here)
Tumblr posts and responses:
  • Dolezal going to and getting a full ride to Howard University
  • Marfmellow – transgender v. transracial
  • NewWaveFeminism – Dolezal pretending to be black


  • The White Skinned Elephant in the Room
  • Rachel Dolezal is Nothing like Caitlyn Jenner and Here’s Why
  • Rachel Dolezal and the Trouble with White Womanhood
    • From this article:
    • First and foremost, the trouble with Rachel Dolezal passing as a black woman is that by doing this she’s taken resources away from another person who is structurally situated as black (in addition to having phenotype that goes with that structural position). So, just looking back at her resume that we know of from 2007 – she got a full ride scholarship at historically black Howard University — an education that would have gone to an otherwise black person.

  • Why Comparing Rachel Dolezal to Caitlyn Jenner is Detrimental to Both Trans and Racial Progress
    • From this article:
    • Transracial identity is a concept that allows white people to indulge in blackness as a commodity, without having to actually engage with every facet of what being black entails — discrimination, marginalization, oppression, and so on. It plays into racial stereotypes, and perpetuates the false idea that it is possible to “feel” a race. As a white woman, Dolezal retains her privilege; she can take out the box braids and strip off the self-tanner and navigate the world without the stigma tied to actually being black. Her connection to racial oppression is something she has complete control over, a costume she can put on — and take off — as she pleases.

  • The Huge Problem With the Rachel Dolezal Scandal that Everyone Needs to Know
  • One Tweet Perfectly Shows Everything Wrong With What Rachel Dolezal Did – In Her Own Words
  • Transgender vs. Transracial: Caitlyn Jenner & Rachel Dolezal
    • From this article:
    • The concept of race as we understand it today developed as an extension of colonialism in tandem with the scientific revolution, where science was used to definitively classify people, rank them along variables such as beauty and intelligence, and solidify whiteness as the ideal in each category.  The scientific community “objectively” placing white people at the top was a way to justify the maltreatment of non-white people further down the list, because white is the pinnacle of humanity and the further you differentiate away from that, the closer you are to beasts.  That is where race comes from.  Race isn’t even 400 years old and it’s a flexible standard by which to judge people.

    • One last strike against anyone claiming to be transracial:  It only works one way.  Only white people can claim to be another race on the inside and then “perform” that race because race operates with white as the default.  Racial classifications are based on deviations FROM whiteness.  Rachel could pay a Black woman to do her hair and then pick up some NARS bronzer and say “Look!  I’m not white!”  I can’t straighten my hair and put chalk on my face while saying “Look!  I’m not Black!”  Transracial as a concept is another extension of white privilege, with those people – firmly situated at the top of society – experiencing an overwhelming need to identify with some other culture to validate their misplaced feelings of oppression because of their affinity for said culture.

  • 8 Things White People Need to Understand about Race

#McKinney protests

By now, you might have heard the incredibly racist interaction between police officers and black teenagers at a pool party in McKinney, Texas a few days ago. One officer in particular pulled his gun out on several unarmed and swimsuit clad black teenagers and ended up dragging a black girl down by her hair and sat on her. I’m not going to link to the video that was taken by a white teenage bystander or the photos that have surfaced for a couple reasons but I did want to share some of the articles, photos, and videos that have come out of the protests following the interaction.

Mic has a list of 23 incredible photos from the protests.

Black People are Not a Reason to Call the Police – this article does have the video of what happened, just as a warning

What McKinney truly exposed for the mainstream is a deep and dangerous white fear of black bodies – this article also has photos from that afternoon

The ‘Invisible’ White Man Holding the Camera in McKinney – again includes photos and videos of that afternoon but highlights the safety and privilege of whiteness. A good quote from this includes:

Privilege means being invisible when the police sense trouble. It means feeling like the bullets and batons will never be used against you. It means feeling safe.

McKinney Pool Party Fight Started by Racist Whites Says Teen

Media Monday: Aloha (the movie)

Okay so full disclosure: I haven’t seen this movie and actively plan to avoid watching it for so many different reasons. Rather than reviewing then, I wanted to share the many criticisms that have been thrown at the movie over the past few weeks. These criticisms are incredibly important because many highlight the whitewashing nature of Hollywood and the tendency of the US to use the Hawaiian islands as some white person tourist spot.

One of the biggest criticisms to come out of the movie is the fact that one of the main characters is multiracial (Chinese/Hawaiian/Swedish if I remember correctly?) but is played by the very white actress Emma Stone. This is of course a huge problem because it helps to erase Asian Americans from the big screens, a diversity problem that repeatedly occurs for many people of color. There have been many critiques of Emma Stone’s casting, not because she is a terrible actress or anything like that but that people of color are regularly overlooked and underrepresented in the media (even in stories that are supposed to include/be about them). Some of the critiques include:

  • Emma Stone plays a part Asian character in ‘Aloha’ and that’s not okay
  • WTF ‘Aloha’: Why is Emma Stone Asian and Other Problems
  • I’m not buying Emma Stone as an Asian American in ‘Aloha’
  • ‘Aloha’ draws Accusations of Whitewashing Hawaii

There are more criticisms following the movie, including the fact that there are some native Hawaiians who disapprove of the movie’s title:

The concerns are based largely on a trailer that depicts a military-themed love-story that appears devoid of a genuine connection to Hawaiian culture.

“If you have a romantic comedy about the military in Hawaii … but a title that says ‘Aloha,’ I can only guess that they’ll bastardize the word,” said Walter Ritte, a Native Hawaiian activist on the island of Molokai. “They’re taking our sacred word … and they’re going to make a lot of money off of it.”

And it’s not just the casting and complete whitewashing of Hawaii that draw criticisms. One review from the Associated Press wrote about the incoherent story line, saying that even with a star studded cast:

…in execution, “Aloha” is a meandering, needlessly confusing cacophony of story, performance, and spiritual blather. Not only does it feel inauthentic, it’s often downright alien.

Overall, I haven’t heard any good things about this movie. And the reactions from Sony regarding the criticisms have also been really problematic. I’m definitely planning to avoid seeing the movie.