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…
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.”