10 tips for non-blacks inspired by ‘Dear White People’

Dear white people…

  1. No, you cannot touch our hair. Stop asking.
  2. If a child is being reprimanded in public, do not intervene. It’s not your place. If you feel the punishment is “too severe,” calmly call Child Protective Services and move along with your day.
  3. Stop randomly asking what our parents do for a living (when this has nothing to do with the conversation) or if we were even raised with both of our parents. What?
  4. Predetermined factors should not be used to make judgments about my character. I may have African lineage and a bit more melanin than you, but at first glance, you know nothing beyond that. Stop judging. Stop making assumptions.
  5. Just because I’m a black American and have a fondness for hip-hop does not make me a black culture encyclopedia. Stop asking me all of your black curiosities.
  6. It’s rude and offensive to tell us to “get over” American slavery. I don’t hear anyone telling Jewish people to get over the Holocaust.
  7. Stop making us the token in predominantly-white professional environments. Do with that what you wish.
  8. Think two, three maybe even four times before telling a race-related joke. This isn’t about sensitivity — it’s about respect and boundaries.
  9. The America you live in is totally different from our America. Practice a bit more compassion and you’ll see we do not live in a post-racial society.
  10. Check your privilege at the door and have a serious conversation with us about race relations in this country. We’re listening.

What are some of your tips?

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