With all the talk of #BlackLivesMatter, white privilege, and microaggressions against people of color, it’s easy to believe that it’s not worth the effort of trying to be a decent human being to black Americans. After all, it’s easy for the average white person to believe “y’all are brutalizing me“ as minorities are increasingly voicing their displeasure against the slights received by the majority of society.
But hold on! You can treat a black person as a PERSON, AND there’s little effort needed on your part! How, you ask? Here are some easy ways to not be a racist dick.
- Don’t call something “ghetto.” — This lazy way of describing a poor-quality, inferior or degraded product has ties in slamming the impoverished conditions many black people live in. Calling something “ghetto” is basically comparing something you find inadequate to a black person, and you’re therefore saying that blacks are inferior. Stop doing that.
- Let black people speak. — Whether online or offline, dismissing the concerns of black people as “outrage culture,” “whining,” or “not news” is again compartmentalizing the voices of a slighted people as an inferior concern, and you’re therefore saying that blacks are inferior. (SEE THE THEME?) Stop doing that. Let people have their platform. You don’t have to police everyone’s opinions, as that makes you as bad as government officials policing women’s bodies and the bedroom habits of non-straight people.
- Don’t call your black friend(s) “one of the good ones.” — Saying that someone is “one of the good ones” does several things: It separates people into two categories, makes the assumption that most people of that race or ethnicity are not of good quality, and makes you look like a horse’s ass. People of all colors are various shades of grey regarding personality and actions, and painting a race or ethnicity in black-and-white broad strokes shows your monochrome, monolithic thinking. Stop doing that, you horse’s ass.
- Realize that you’re a bit racist. — Most of us have had unfortunate moments where we prejudged someone to be of suspect motivations – whether it is clutching one’s purse, crossing the street to avoid someone, or clamming up as someone walks past. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but admitting to yourself that maybe you’re a little prejudiced is the start of confronting your attitudes and changing your ways. Self-reflection is a positive thing, and it separates us from the animals. Knowing that MAYBE that kid in the hoodie will probably NOT rob or rape you is a healthy outlook, and if you still believe that when all is said and done, stop doing that.
- Don’t stand for racist shit. — If someone is telling off-color jokes about people of color, spouting off Fox News stats not grounded in reality, or waxing nostalgic about the good-ol’ days before blacks ruined everything, don’t tolerate it. Make a quiet scene: Say “I don’t agree”; walk away; roll your eyes; or make a passive-aggressive social media post after the fact. You don’t have to stand idly by while someone makes a modern equivalent of a verbal burning cross. Silence is as damning as being aggressively racist, as both extend the illogical, ignorant beliefs. Stop doing that.