How To Be Black

Illustration for article titled How To Be Black

Struggle with the stereotype that black people have huge breasts, a huge ass, a huge cock, and/or huge lips. Discover non-black people only want to sleep with you because they think being black means you have something enormous to offer.

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Websites such as Big Booty Black Videos, Ethnic Hoes and 98% of Interracial Gay Porn Involving A Black Dude confirms this. Feel stressed out because you don't want to let everybody down.

Get admitted to Harvard College before any of your non-black friends. They don't get into Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, are stuck with Washington University (a much lesser school). Tell you it's all your fault. They were National Merit Scholars. They did community activism in Botswana. They got a perfect score on the SATs. They went Le Rosey in Switzerland but then transferred to Dalton (a $250,000 education). They wrote a New York Times best selling debut novel, which also made it to Oprah's Book Club. But you stole their spot because of Affirmative Action. Laugh in their face-better yet, send them a postcard from Apley Court, your new dorm which is overflowing with Ivy.

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Become concertmaster of a well-known orchestra. Have your stand partner and everybody else in First Violin tell you you only got the role because you're black, even though you studied with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory, captured first prize at the Queen Elizabeth International Competition, and now record exclusively for Deutsch Grammophone. When will you be good enough in their eyes?

Really love or really hate Tyler Perry movies.

Get asked every summer if black people tan.

Get laughed at in elementary, junior, and high school by all your black friends because you "talk white." Philosophize for years about what it means to "talk white." Have an identity crisis. Go away to college or boarding school and have your new white friends swear up and down you're nothing like the way black people are "supposed" to be. What happened to you? Go home with your new white friends during holidays, play the role of Model Black.

Seamlessly slip in and out of Ebonics. Talk to your friends in one voice but as soon as a family member or another black calls, thass when you be done' took the Ebonics out.

Get used to not seeing other black people on the covers of magazines, in any of the advertisements, or in any of the movies. Cringe when Your Local News shows racist images of black people, such as mug shots, jail shots, and videos of robberies. Get used to people assuming you like rap. Get used to things like racism, hot sauce.

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Shop in a fancy store such as Bergdorf's, Barney's, or Prada. Get followed around the store. They think you can't afford anything. Are on the verge of calling the cops. Ask you to open your bag when you leave the store. You can't believe this. This is your Oprah-in-Hermes-in-Paris moment. Then you shout, "Don't you know who the fuck I am?!" They don't, but it makes you feel better to say it aloud, anyway. It's like therapy. Go back the next day and buy $260,000 worth of couture, and be sure to bring your BFF Madonna and all the paparazzi with you.

Join a gay hook-up site such as Manhunt or Adam4Adam. Send a friendly message to "Dannyc888" (white) saying, "Whoa, aren't you cute!" Wait for him reply, "Too bad you look like you have been burnt by the sun LOL!" He blocks you so you can't respond which proves he knew he was saying something racist and offensive. Click on another boy with a cute profile and get sad when it says, "NO BLACK" or "ONLY INTO WHITE AND LATINO. AND LIGHT SKINNED MIXED. I'M NOT RACIST, IT'S JUST A PREFERENCE!!!" Sit back and think, um, it's racist, dude. Write him anyway.

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Madison Moore is a freelance writer and doctoral student at Yale University. This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog. Republished with permission.

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DISCUSSION

stoprobbers
stoprobbers

I would never dispute a word of this. But I think it's becoming time to remind people that navigating any identity, and set of identity markers, is difficult no matter who you are. I could write this exact essay with slightly different words about being Jewish, female, and straight, but I doubt people would view that as an equally "important"/"illuminating" endeavor. And it is tragic that not a single person has been permitted by the academic elite or the masses alike to write one of these about the pressures, stressed, perils and near-impossibility of being a white man. Is the white male the most privileged of all Americans (or, extended, of all Western peoples)? Absolutely. Does that make his life anything other than yet another set of preconceived notions and stereotypes, reified for centuries without debate or critique, that serves to warp him in the eyes of others and of himself? No, it doesn't. But to voice it like this would likely be met with waves of hatred and vitriol.

I love reading pieces like "How To Be Black." I just think not everyone gets to be this publicly honest about their experiences and lives, and it pains me.