I’ve dealt with a lot of ignorance in my lifetime when it comes to being black, most of which were from friends, fellow students or adults who I thought would know better.
Fun fact: They don’t.
Some little nuggets of ignorance have even taken up shop in several of my posts about race here on Gurl.
I get it, people mean well, but that doesn’t make their comments any more tolerable, less hurtful or less offensive. In my experience, most of the racially insensitive comments that I’ve received have been from people who will swear up and down that they don’t have a racist bone in their body. But the second they say something out of line and I call them out on it, suddenly their the victims and I’m being mean or–this is my favorite part–I’m being racist for pointing it out in the first place.
Well, you live and learn, so here’s 10 things you should never say to a black girl according to me, a black girl.
“How can I be racist? My best friend/third cousin/sister-in-law is black!”
As if that absolves you from saying something racist. Your possibly imaginary black bestie ain’t here, don’t use her to defend yourself.
“My ancestors came to this country after slavery happened so…”
That doesn’t mean that you don’t potentially benefit from a little thing called white privilege. Look it up!
“You speak so well!”
How did you expect me to speak? Why are you so surprised that I can be eloquent?
“I’m a big fan of [insert some new, hip, cool black musician, actor, celebrity, politician, etc].”
And you felt the need to go out of your way to mention this to me because…?
“[Touches a black chick's hair].”
No. Stop. What are you…doing? Stop!
“Why do you have to make everything about race? Stop using the race card!”
In other words, “Why are you talking about race? It makes me uncomfortable. Stop making me uncomfortable!” Sorry, what I talk about doesn’t revolve around your comfort level with acknowledging the cold hard truth about how racist our society is.
“You’re being a reverse-racist!”
Reverse racism doesn’t exist, y’all.
“Why are you allowed to say that word but I can’t?”
Because context matters. Why do you want to use slurs that oppressed people have reclaimed so badly anyway?
“You’re not like other black girls!”
Wow, I wasn’t aware that every other black girl in the world ever is exactly the same. Except for me. I am truly the most special of snowflakes.
“My hair is like Hermoine’s, so I know how it feels to have your hair type.”
…Naw. If you think that’s the case then you definitely don’t know the history and politics of black hair. Until your Hermione hair gets you in trouble at school, don’t ever say this to me or any other black chick. Ever. Nice try, though!
Have you had to deal with any of these comments? What other ridiculous things have people said to you because you’re a person of color? Tell us in the comments!