the black person’s guide to making white people feel comfortable

November 2, 2016

As this country transforms itself into the land of opportunity we like to call “Post-racial America” there are still Black people who–for some reason–insist on acting “Black.” Apparently this is wrong. I am often scolded how talking about race or even saying the words #BlackLivesMatter turns white people off and ends the conversation. In the minds of these people (usually Black people who comment on articles about anything black with “Black people are not a monolith…”) We need to be more accommodating to white people and make them more comfortable. We should not address injustice by not sitting during the National Anthem, the advocates for white people say, because it turns people off. These people say we should create a safe space without making caucasians feel white guilt. As I do not have the necessary gravitas to force the world to tack “too” at the end of #BlackLivesMatter to include and appease White people, I thought I’d share some alternative foolproof ways to make white people feel comfortable.

By Michael Harriot/NegusWhoRead*

Change Your Voice – Unfortunately “talking Black” is a real thing. Even if you use the King’s English and speak so properly that one can hear the commas and apostrophes dripping from your lips, most people can still listen to your voice on the phone and tell whether or not you are Black. No matter how educated you become, you cannot run from “sounding Black.” Cornel West sounds Black. Barack Obama sounds Black. Even Morgan Freeman’s impeccable, deep raspiness sounds like a mix between a newly emancipated slave and the voice Moses heard when he stood in front of the burning bush (Y’all know God is Black, right?) It is the unmistakeable, intimidating bass that sits in the Black man’s throat that somehow mixes distinct masculinity with “you-know-I’ll-fuck-you-up-if-I-have-to.” Even though it seems inescapable, there are ways to adapt your voice when around your Caucasian counterparts that will alleviate the instinctive trepidation they feel when you say anything above a whisper.

First you must take the bass out of your voice. If you don’t know how to do this, feel free to imitate Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy or any Black comedian’s imitation of white people. Or just listen to how Kanye West talks around Kim Kardashian or on the set of Ellen Degeneres’ show. Of visit any fortune 500 company and notice how the voices of the Black men who work there get higher as you go from the mailroom to the top-floor, corner-office boardrooms. That subtle emasculation of your voice is key to white comfortability. Also, you must remember to always show your teeth. It makes you enunciate clearer, it shows them that you aren’t one of those “hostile negroes” and seeing something white–even if it is just teeth–settles the white people’s willies. If showing teeth and going from a baritone to a midrange tenor isn’t enough, feel free to overemphasize the “r’s” at the end of words. Even words that don’t have r’s at the end. This subtle change of dialect is known as “formal white.” If you find this difficult to do, you may need a physical tool to contrict your windpipe and force your voice to an acceptable octave. That’s what bowties are for. They strangle the freedom out of your throat that white people perceive as aggression. Plus, depending on how you tie it, at certain angles it resembles a noose. Trust me, white people love educated niggas in bowties.

If you are a woman, sadly the only thing you can do is whisper. A Black woman who speaks in a normal tone of voice is being “intimidating.” Also, don’t move your head or eyes when you talk, because rolling your neck or your eyes defines you as “sassy.”And please women, don’t raise your voice. That’ll make you “combative. Also, you should know that in the White people’s thesaurus, “combative” means “bitch,” and a little known White remedy for “bitch” involves a trash bag and a jail cell. Ask Sandra Bland.

Change Your Body I’m sure you’ve read articles or seen nature shows that instruct you what to do if you’re ever attacked by a bear. They tell you to “get big.” Wave your arms above your head, flare out your jacket and make yourself appear larger than you normally are.

Well, the opposite is true for Black people. Men, be sure to slump your shoulders and make yourself as small as possible. White comfortability is key to surviving in the dark wilderness called America, because according to a study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, police officers and white women view Black boys as older and less innocent than White boys of the same age. This is why they think it reasonable that a 17-year old boy with a pocketful of Skittles would attack a man 10 years older, 40 lbs heavier carrying a loaded gun. It made 12-year-old Tamir Rice playing in a park look like a grown man. It made it seem reasonable when 6’3″ Darren Wilson called 6’4″ Mike Brown a “hulk.”

Black women should also be aware that your bodies make white women uncomfortable enough to make them tweet pictures of a fit Michelle Obama and call her an ape. Or refer to Serena Williams as… fuck it, I’m not going to honor those motherfuckers by reprinting. You should just know that your 3-dimensional bodies make some people uncomfortable. One of the easiest ways to do this is to hide the roundness of your booties, until it becaome acceptable. Or until a white girl can pay a plastic surgeon to appropriate it, say she has a “black girl booty,” bag a ‘woke” rapper and get their own reality show. No, I’m not talking about Coco. No I’m not talking about J-Lo. No I’m not talking about Kim Kardashian. No I’m not talking about Iggy Azalea. That would make white people uncomfortable. I’m just saying…
Change Your Hair Here’s the key to white hair acceptability: Make your hair look white. Straighten it. Put it in a demure cut and–viola! Dreadlocks are not acceptable because locs have an invisible chemical that makes white women daydream of being deep dicked by a negro as he pulls her hair. Similarly, women with natural hair gives white women a subtle case of the bubbleguts. If Black women don’t care about appropriating Eurocentric ideals of beauty, then they might soon stop caring about European ideas, and thats where our whole society falls apart.

Black men should also shave their facial hair if they don’t want white people feeling uncomfortable. I believe there is a verse in 2nd Matthew that says “never trust a nigga with no facial hair…”

Or maybe that was Patrice O’neal.

Change your clothes – No hoodies. Even if it is raining outside, and you literally just want to wear a sweatshirt with a hat on it. No sagging jeans, unless you skate and are white. No sneakers. No white T-shirts. No baseball hats. No skirts that show off your butt. No religious head dress. No cultural wraps. In fact no “hood’ shit at all. Even though there are, maybe 3 Black manufacturers of clothes, somehow there is an entire category of “ghetto” clothing or “ratchet’ wear. The only thing acceptable is dockers, Levis, boat shoes and polos.

..But no actual “Polo” shit. That’s just ghetto.

If you are a woman, stick to anything that goes with flip flops and/or cowboy boots. And if you’re white everything goes with flip flops and Cowboy boots. You can also wear anything from the “unapologetically white” collection. Did you ask what is “unapologetically white?”

Booty shorts with no booty.

Change Your History The biggest key to White acceptability is forgetting your history. You must forget the kidnapping, rapes and other atrocities if you want White people to relax. The memories of what their ancestors did (and by “ancestors” I mean white people up until 40-50 years ago) gives them the heebie jeebies. Therefore we should call slaves “involuntary immigrants” and Jim Crow laws “color line restrictions.” You must force everything that happened to Black people before 1978 out of your head. Salute all flags. Pretend you are a citizen. Dance a jig to the national anthem. Do not refer to your-self as “Black. Call yourself an “African American” but never mention Africa, because it may incite residual reminiscences of when they kicked Emmit Till in face until it looked like a flour sack. Or when they kicked Rodney King until his face looked like a flour sack. Or when they shot Laquan McDonald like his body was a flour sack. Do not mention this, and if anyone around you tries to bring it up and make your white friends nervous, feel free to drown it out by placing your hand over your heart and singing loudly:

…O’er the land of the freeeeeee
And the home of the braaaaave.”

You’re welcome white people.

This post is in partnership with NegusWhoRead.com