She’s your ride or die. Your all you can drink mimosa buddy. The shoulder that you cry on and tells you how it is. You would never want to hurt their feelings… right?
Well, let Anastasia tell you how it is. You may have actually already put shade on her sunny day if you have said any of these things.
1. “Your hairs so beautiful have you ever straightened it?”
This is like saying you have such a pretty face, have you ever tried changing everything about it? Or you’re so skinny have you ever gained weight? Not a compliment. Plus you have no idea how hard it is for a POC to rock their natural hair. Did you know it was only very recently that we were allowed to wear our natural hair in certain states without risk of being fired? Yeah thats right. Walking into work rocking my hard earned curl pattern could land me unemployed. So maybe like don’t ask me about straightening. Society already asked… and I said no.
2. “But you can pass…”
Ok Can I? Pretty pretty please! Or maybe I could just be myself. And like not make my life the sequel to Show Boat. What to choose… What to choose.
3. “Can I touch your hair? I wish I could make a pillow from your hair.”
No thanks Buffalo Bill. And you also can’t make a wig out of it. Cause like wanting pieces of me is not friendship. I’m pretty sure that’s just Ed Gein arts and crafts.
4. “It’s not always about race.”
But like sometimes it is. Most of the time it is actually. Its actually a privilege to not see race in things because you know… it doesn’t affect you or the people you love. Well, actually it does. You love me right? You love me you really love me!
5. “You’re only half. You don’t really count.”
Nothing makes people feel more warm and fuzzy inside than being told your life and experiences don’t matter. It’s like sitting next to a warm fire. Oh wait. No it actually doesn’t feel good to not be counted. It’s like being the last pick of a dodgeball game. Or not being invited to Becky’s super cool sleepover party. Or not being allowed to say your own cultural experience. Yeah. It’s like that.
6. “I’m not racist I’ve just never been attracted to a Black person.”
So there’s a lot of people in the world. Like billions. And for you not to be able to find one single person in a whole culture that you can say is attractive. Sorry honey that is R…A…C…I…S…T. You are allowed to have preferences, and you are allowed to have things that are more your taste. You are not allowed to tell a whole race of people they are unattractive. That is actually something you should look into honey. Like there’s something you are not being honest about. And it starts with R and ends with a T.
7. “Can you take me to Roscoe’s, I’ve always wanted to go but I’m scared?”
How dare you? First of all, why are you scared? Are you scared of Black people… but love enjoying their culture. That sounds like… a lot of America. And second of all. Yes I’ll take you and you are paying for my Carol C Special and mac n’ cheese. Throw in an Eclipse and we cool.
8. “Is this cultural appropriation?”
If you have to ask… probably.
Bottom line is your friend is a person with a vibrant cultural background who is tired of hearing these things and having to teach these things. So be careful of microaggressions. And more importantly if you’ve messed up, fess up, apologize with no but. We all mess up. But what’s important is to communicate and not defend stepping on those emotional toes.
Image: Anastasia Washington