I’m a huge fan of Stuff White People Like (if you don’t know what it is, lift the rock up and come out of your hole, please). I’ve read the book two times now. But I want to give back. You know, share that good karma.
Thus, I’ve come up with a list of things non-blacks *shouldn’t* do if they want to make/keep black friends. I’m dedicating this post to Martellus Bennett, a Dallas Cowboys second-string tight end and the George Washington Carver of the Black Olympics (Google it, I won’t link it). He should concentrate his efforts on not dropping Tony Romo’s passes. Seriously, Bennett’s comedy career ended with one bite of watermelon.
With that said, the list:
5. Never offer a black person watermelon. You may offer a black friend watermelon in good faith, but trust me, try cantaloupe. Here’s why: Offering a black person watermelon — even if you aren’t aware of the stereotype — will cause confusion, especially if you and said friend are outside and the heat index is in triple digits. On one hand, said black friend doesn’t feel comfortable “taking the unintentional bait.” Then again, he/she wants it because it will do the body good considering the current climate. It’s a lose-lose situation that will result in you not understanding why your friendship ended.
4. If your black friend is riding with you, do not play Jay-Z. When a black person walks into a non-black establishment, one oddity is bound to occur: A hip hop song will play within 10 minutes … or am I the only one who notices this? … … *crickets* Anyway, playing the American Gangster album or Mos Def’s “Ms. Fat Booty” will not win you cool points with your black friend. In fact, you will lose them with relative haste, especially if you start reciting lyrics and an n-word slips out. Your best bet right now is to play any Michael Jackson song not titled “Black or White.” Better yet, if Neil Diamond or The Dixie Chicks are in your car’s CD player, just let it play.
3. Don’t ask a black friend to define a slang term. This is why someone created urbandictionary.com. I don’t own that site, nor do I frequent it. So I can’t answer all of your queries. Yes, I can define “the trap” or “cutty.” But utilizing your black friend as though he’s your personal Hip Hop Thesaurus will make him conjure up a mental image of “yuling” you across the room.
2. When a racial topic comes up, don’t ask your black friend for his/her opinion. This situation presents itself often, like college and the workplace when there are 30 people in a room and only one is black. Race comes up, and everyone turns to the black almost as though he or she speaks for the entire race. This is the main way white people swipe their race cards … that and asking “Why do you have to play the race card?” Yes, you all make debits from the Bank of Race, too. Admit it. … We do not want you looking to us to answer every minority-related question for the rest of our lives. If you haven’t been around enough black people to understand what we’re thinking, buy the DVD set of Flavor of Love 2 read a Michael Eric Dyson book. Note: You’ll need both http://www.m-w.com and urbandictionary.com handy.
1. Never Never Never ever tell a black person he/she looks like anyone, especially some famous black person. It would behoove you to not even tell black identical twins that they look alike. See, when blacks complain about some fool telling them that they resemble another black person, there is a 99.996 percent chance they are lamenting a non-black’s Rush Limbaugh-like opinion. Trust me, I ask “Was it a non-black?” at least once a week, and the answer is always “He/she was white.” … If you flub on this at the wrong moment, you might soon be filing assault charges (Tell a black woman that she looks like Whoopi Goldberg. Love you, Whoopi). Maybe that’s your desire. I hope it’s not. We clearly don’t need more blacks in the prison system.
Faithful TMCY Readers, there must be other ground rules out there. Give us a few.