I was hoping that being socially distanced this February would let us avoid some of the issues that make me angry every year. While these behaviors are year-round problems they seem to dramatically increase every February because a lot of white people want to take part in Black History Month but don’t get how these behaviors come across. I believe this stems from society not knowing how to talk about race and I have created a quick list from things I’ve clocked on social media this last week. Hopefully, this list helps those of you who are serious about doing better.
- Don’t co-opt phrases like “Black Excellence,” Black Girl Magic,” or “Black Boy Joy,” or anything similar to those phrases. Only Black people get to say what belongs in those categories because it’s awkward to have people tell us what we should be proud of and it’s extremely arrogant of you to think that you get a say.
- Don’t swoop in with your Black trivia facts to try to “outdo us.” We’re actually Black so we don’t see this as the fun competition some of you do and we don’t need you to explain our culture/history to us. It also shows that you’re only stepping into your “work” to be seen as opposed to any of the right reasons. This is gross!
- Don’t claim to be an ally if you’re not an ally for EVERYBODY. Black people can identify in a variety of ways so when you claim to support Black Lives Matter but then are openly homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist against other people of color, and so on it shows us that you’re only a fake ally for the few people that fit into your narrow view of what Blackness is.
- Don’t tone police us. We get to have feelings and you swooping in from your place of privilege to tell us how to behave will never be a good look. Ever. If you disagree with the way a Black person is reacting to current events, politicians, a TV trend, etc. then keep it to yourself.
- Don’t ask Black people to explain things you don’t want to look up. Do the research! Stop asking Black people to explain things to you when the internet is right there. Find a legitimate source and educate yourself. Your laziness shouldn’t ever require us to do labor for you.
- Don’t do that thing where you act like you want to help us by giving us unsolicited advice and then getting mad we don’t want it. This is deeply problematic because it shows us that you believe we are beneath you in some way. When you feel the…