Navigating different social circles can be tricky, especially when they’re made up of people from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds.
Janae Price wrote an article for VICE, talking about the experience of being the only person of colour in a room when “the white woman you’ve heard greet everyone before you with a pleasant and simple “Hi” or “Hello” drops a “Yo, whattup girrrrrl!?” on you.
Because in many ways, “well-intentioned white people are still low-key racist”.
There are other examples of this, and they usually involve white people trying to be woke, while stereotyping the people that they’re talking too.
“The way to avoid having these attempts fall flat”, writes Price, “is simply by adopting an attitude that puts people first instead of colour or culture”.
Price asked some black friends and relatives to describe the “times even well-intentioned white people have made a mess of an interaction so readers may learn from their examples”. A few of their stories are included below. You can read the full article here.
“I worked a job that sometimes had me greet people at the door. My supervisor once asked me why I wasn’t dancing. I responded that I typically don’t. He said, ‘I thought all black people danced?’ Aren’t you all born with rhythm?’” – George, 28
“I worked with a Trump supporter and once, after a black boy was shot and killed by the police, she asked me ‘Why do blacks run from the police and then get mad when they’re killed? I hope you’ve learned that lesson because I would hate for you to die. Who would help me close deals?'” – Tia, 24
“I grew up in a super white town, so naturally, my close friends were white. When I went to college and finally got to be around more black people, one of my white friends from back home said ‘Oh, you must be happy to have new friends that are black. You guys can talk about your hair and stuff.'” – Felicia, 22
“A janitor who was cleaning my classroom once said ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but black people age really well.’ My response was a confused thank you. He followed that by saying ‘I’m convinced you guys age so well because you have to lotion all the time.’ I explained to him that dry skin is a people problem, not a black problem.” – Jasmine, 29
To round off, here’s what your black friend wants you to know, according to filmmakers Ben Passmore, Alex Krokus and Krystal Downs:
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