How to be Cool AND White…

I’ve seen it way too many times. White people who are not used to being around black people who try their best to be cool and end up making huge asses out of themselves. It’s a horrid sight to see really. Sad for all parties involved. Why does this phenomenon occur so frequently? Is there anything that can be done to counteract it?

Well my pale skinned friends, I have some good news for you. I am willing to help. If you follow the rules I am about to set out, you are much more likely to avoid anymore of these awkward moments with black people. You know those moments when you get this look…

seriously
“Oh no he didn’t! Is this whitey serious right now?”

Dave’s Guide to Being Cool Around Black People

Rule #1: Don’t Try to be Black – This is of the utmost importance! We are not going to like you based on the fact that you make horrid attempts at speaking “ebonics”, or that you all of a sudden disown John Mayer for John Legend. Be yourself damnit! (Which brings me to rule # 2…)

Rule #2: Don’t Try to Tone Down Your Whiteness – Embrace your whiteness. Own it. This is not to say you should run around screaming white power or anything (not a good idea at all). I just mean you should feel comfortable in your own skin, no matter what setting you are in. If we (black people) feel like you are acting different just because black people are around, we are going to lose respect for you. I assure you, we have much more respect for the guy who admits he always thought Vanilla Ice invented rap music.

Plus white people are hilarious to us in their natural state. Why would you want to deprive your black friends of all that unintentional comedy?

Rule #3: Don’t be Cheap – Nothing makes you look cooler than the phrase “this one’s on me guys.” It may not be reparations, but it’s a good start.

Rule #4: You Don’t Understand Black People – So don’t try to. I don’t care how well you think you know, you don’t know. I have seen so many awkward moments arise out of people violating this rule. Let me make this explicitly clear. Having a bunch of black friends does not mean you understand. Being good at basketball does not mean you understand. Being raised in a black neighborhood does not mean you understand. MOST IMPORTANTLY, BEING POOR DOES NOT MEAN YOU UNDERSTAND! 

Rule #5: Never, Ever, Say the “N” Word – No matter how “in” you think you are, no matter how long you’ve known your black friends, no matter how many of them are saying it around you, just don’t do it. This is a sure way to get booted. (And in this case booted can either mean dropped as a friend, or getting stomped out by a bunch of dudes wearing Timberlands.)

Well friends, there you have it. The basic foundation for being cool around those who have darker pigmentation than you. I hope this helps in some small way.

Note: Asians can be substituted for “white people” in many of these instances, just as “Latinos” can be substituted for “black people.”

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82 comments

  1. “Rule #3: Don’t be Cheap – Nothing makes you look cooler than the phrase “this one’s on me guys.” It may not be reparations, but it’s a good start.”ROFL..

  2. Actually, my black friends from San Jose are always asking me for the best N-word jokes I know…but I think that’s because I’m a wop from the east, so they know I know dozens.And then we tell Jew jokes. The way god intended it.

  3. @vanedave – It’s true. I lived with dealers and I’d say the most horrible offensive stuff to their friends/clients and it was down. I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure I could have gotten myself shot a dozen times over…but fuck it, like I’m gonna hold back.

  4. my best friend is black.  we go to school with this one white girl that acts extra white around certain people, but as soon as she gets around black people, she starts trying way too hard.  she came up to my best friend, dropped the “n” word, and almost got killed. It didn’t stop her from trying though.  Good advice. 

  5. lol. This reminds me of men who, when they’re trying to get along with women, start talking out of the blue about sexism and the progression of women or whatever. It almost always come across as insincere.But Caucasians should always reserve the right to hide the Barry Manilow and Air Supply albums when Black and Latino friends come over. There are some humiliations that are just unnecessary.

  6. Uuuugh. This reminds me of my mom, she’s white as they come, but when she talks about, or is around, black people, she starts using the ‘black accent’. It’s so dang embarassing, I usually come up with some witticism along the lines of, “Oh what horrible timing! She’s manifesting her African ancestry, she does this every week or so. Just wait a few minutes and it should pass.”*headdesk*

  7. You damn scrait. Ain’t nothin make me wanna bus’ a cap in some white ass than hearing one of them say “Nebulizer”.

  8. @Undercover_Librarian – Do you have alot of pull with the Nobel Peace Prize committee?@Schristian – yeah. Right away.@edlives – Kool-Aid and Sweet Tea are always delicious. That’s the rule.@NoPenniesHere – That girl sounds like a real winner.@ModernBunny – No. Don’t hide them. It is our right to make fun of you for them. Barry Manilow is actually a pretty smooth dude.@Peridot21 – You really should make it a rule never to quote anything from a guy name Flo’Rida.

  9. @dadj_21 – I have a friend who inspired this post. I had to break it down for her over the weekend.@TalithaKum88 – Yes they are. At least to us they are. Case in point, I have a friend who uses the word “joshing”. Like “quit joshing around Dave.” See. Hilarious.@TheLoquaciousLady – Isn’t that the thing for kids who have asthma?@saintvi – Well. That rule really applies more to adults.

  10. also, don’t compare your skin color with mine, because no matter how much sun you get, i tan in 5 minutes.  i’m always darker; learn to love it.well-done, Dave.  i see a trip to Norway in your near future.

  11. My black friends request stories or examples of my whiteness. I can’t be on the skins team because I’ll blind them, that sort of thing. It’s fun.They all get a good laugh when I make it through Biggie or the Geto Boys word for word. Hell, they admit that I started as the designated white friend. I’ve been in those situations where the cop show up and I have to be the one to talk.Hey, Tyree, you want some watermelon?”What?! Cracka, do I look like Jimmy Crow to you?”Shut the hell up Tyree, you KNOW watermelon is delicious.

  12. You have some good points here, but I disagree with #5. If black people feel they can use that slur exclusively, then how can they expect whites to respect them?

  13. So, I’m one of those who never quite fits…. Growing up, my friends would introduce me as, “This is my friend V–she’s mixed” I guess to explain why I looked different. When I went out to visit my all black extended family on my mom’s side, they would introduce me to neighborhood kids as “This is my cousin V–she’s white.” In one sense, I can go wherever and I really never feel uncomfortable. In another, I never feel completely comfortable anywhere. I’m like a superhero.~V(I never try ebonics because that is not who I am, but I definitely inherited the attitude. My white-boy hubby cracks jokes about it all the time, ha.)

  14. You’ve got it almost all right. Most blacks just want to know if you’re all right and will ask –  while at the same time stating that they are all right with the statement: “All Right”. It’s a statement and a question. You will be greeted and have a greeting replied to with it. Next If you don’t understand what they are saying then don’t ask them to repeat themselves. You’ll understand in a little while after having given it some thought. The black gals just want you to think they are pretty, which if you really take a look you will find they are. Don’t try to find out if a black person is as handsome or pretty as the whites, It doesn’t work. You will find if you try to see them as just like you then you will find they are just like you – wanting to be a friend. As far as not being cheap – a black guy I know tells me it’s a “whatever you feel comfortable with” thing with money.

  15. it’s funny.  i don’t ghetto talk around black people, but i do when i’m playing party board games.  like when i’m kicking serious ass in taboo or scattergories, i become a wigger… that’s asian…

  16. Hmmm, my mom was from Puerto Rico, and my dad is Irish, so I’m trying to figure out where I fit in coolness-wise! 🙂

  17. ROFL.  Hilarous!  I guess this would be like an American going to Australia and calling everybody “mate.” annoying as hell#3 hah! hah! hah!  they’re all funny, but that one is v.v.v.v.v funnywhose John Legend?  Never liked john meyer, can’t swear him off….hey! you’re black?  lol, seriously, I had no real idea from you photo what your race might be, I guess  I never really thought about it

  18. Hahahaha.I actually live in a predominately black/hispanic neighbourhood.This was probably one of the funniest posts. E . V . E . R. (:

  19. I wonder if I posted a xanga piece on how “To be cool AND black”, if I would hailed as a hard core racist, have my name and comment torn down, and have my house raided by the Government on account of me being neo-nazi? Its kinda cliche. I’m somewhat tired of the whole race commentary in general, but no lie, when i’m around black friends, asian friends, white friends and so forth we all act as we act. 

  20. Also, never, ever get in the middle of a fight, there is one brewing amongst blacks about the use of the n-word.  It will probably get real ugly before it gets better.  In the end the N-word is going down.  For more on Black America and the N-word, check out:

  21. Hehehe! Fantastic list. I’m proud to say I do all those things, and being Canadian, I have that extra hilarious factor to entertain everyone else just by being me! 🙂

  22. I grew up in a black neighborhood, though the only way people know is if I tell them.  I’m pretty white.  Never claimed to be cool nor do I try to act it.  At least I don’t think I do.  Currently I live in a predominately white state, and have met some lovely people bearing confederate flags who thought it would be cool to “discuss” race.  I let them talk a little bit, but you should see the expression on their face when I open my mouth, give them my 2 cents, and they find out where I grew up.  Shuts them up right quick.  They didn’t think the little white chick would have a problem with the convo.Anyway.Rule 3 compromises Rule 2.  In embracing the true me, I embrace my cheapness. 

  23. I hope most of this would become painfully obvious within a short amount of time.The most puzzling phenomenon to me is folks (of all ages) turning to me at some point and saying, “You know what, Moody? You black.” They say this in a matter-of-fact tone and nod their heads, like they’re including me in some honorary club. I guess in that case, they are “inviting me into the fold” but I’m not sure if that’s the right way to say it.I usually just laugh it off and say, “Yeah, right.” or “No, I am certainly not! But you call me what you want.”This is the reverse phenomenon from what you’re describing. I am a white man who is comfortable in my own skin, making no attempts to be black, not bringing race and stereotypes in where they don’t belong, but the confusions still happen.Any thoughts on that?

  24. … you seem to think that whiteys are the same as Asians- wrong. I’m sitting across from two asian girls right now- and everytime I catch one’s eyes I feel like I’m going to die from discomfort… …. Boy am I glad women can’t read minds…. :{

  25. Can you tell me why black guys always hit on me in college and white guys never seemed to notice me? Is it because white guys are more afraid of girls or because I have a bountiful butt? lol haha don’t slap me for that one please!!

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