First order of business

A list of things one must think through before asking a PoC (Person of Colour).

* Never, ever think it’s cool to play with someone’s hair or hijab because it looks “different” without asking, or knowing the person in that interpersonal kinda way (how do you gauge this you say, if you have never spoken to, hugged, or otherwise made friendly, keep your paws to yourself). That is an invasion of their space, and you wouldn’t like it if someone came and started rubbing on your junk to see if it’s real, or what it feels like. Also, you would never think of doing it to your white friends now would you?

* Please refrain from telling every PoC in sight that you’ve been to: Africa, Asia, South America as if this wins you some street cred with the PoCs in question, chances are we’re probably not from the places of which you speak.

* Don’t ask me to speak in my language, and when I say no, don’t pressure me by saying “oh c’mon, just say hi!”, seriously I am not your performing clown monkey.

* Don’t assume I know everything about my culture, the history of my ‘region’ or that I know how to translate every word from ‘your language’ to ‘my language’. And if I fail to meet your unreasonable expectations, don’t say ‘But aren’t you from (insert country)?’*

*Don’t pity me because you think I’m not ‘out’ because I have no choice or that if I am ‘out’ my parents have rejected me and chased me down the street with rocks.* Don’t assume I am oppressed by my religion, my ‘culture’, my parents or that I have internalized homophobia, and especially don’t attribute it to me being a QPOC.*

*Don’t ask me if it was ‘hard growing up poor’ because I am a POC. And if I am poor, don’t assume that my parents or me don’t have an education. And if they or I don’t, don’t assume it’s because we are lazy and ‘taking advantage of the system.’*

* Even if you do have one person of colour you are “tight with”, it does not entitle you to a “get out of jail free” card, when you make racist comments.

* Just because I’m black does not mean, I have a high propensity for finger snapping and neck bobbing and weaving. Think before you assume that every black person is the same. Not every black person, fist pumps, or uses words like, “yo”, “homie”, “dawg”. I understand the words, “hello”, “hi” or phrases like, “how’s it going?”, you know the ones you USUALLY use when greeting your none black friends.  Please think before you do that.

* I am not an expert on “my people”, just an expert on my own experiences, do not rely on my knowledge to understand an entire group of people, as each person has different experiences, and  would be an awesome resource to their own experiences within the bodies they hold. This includes asking me to do anti-oppression workshops (when you haven’t asked  anyone else–make a list of awesome people that could help all of us be a little less oppressive), asking me about the traditions of another country because my country shares a continent,  or —concrete example time–watching Good Hair, and thinking you know every black woman’s hair woes.

* Clutching your purse, or remembering to lock your car as i walk by, or better yet, crossing the street so we don’t share the same side walk, is kinda racist, just sayin’.

* What the fuck is “ethnic hair care” or “ethnic food”?  What makes it Ethnic? The fact that it isn’t Eurocentric? Don’t you have an ethnicity? Isn’t Anglo-Saxon an ethnic group?

* Let’s say you do know where I’m from or you’ve watched the discovery channel version of my place of origin, or you have a friend from said place, this doesn’t mean you can’t still learn more about my culture, as each person experiences culture differently, so please refrain from saying, “yea, yea, I know all about it/ my friend, ______ is from there or I watched a two hour documentary on it (probably made by other white folks who are doing an anthropological study)”… this shit is disrespectful.


About A place for unlearning.

This blog is dedicated to the oblivious white folks in our lives that seem to think it's okay to patronize people of colour while appropriating the shit out of our cultures.
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1 Response to First order of business

  1. Shaun says:

    good read! definitely some food for thought

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