10. The Salesperson Who Follows You Around the Store
You know the feeling. You’ve just walked into a fine retail establishment, determined to drive yourself further into debt by collecting more shit you don’t need, when you get that strange sensation: Somebody’s watching you. Really, it’s fucked up for two reasons: the first being that it feeds into the idea that vigilante white people have the right and the duty to actively and personally fight crime, but like less Batman and more George Zimmerman.
This perpetuates the continual cycle of the criminalization of black existence. Their logic: Why would a black person go to a store unless they were there to steal, right? It’s not like we need shit like clothes and home furnishings, too.
The second fucked-up thing about it is, well, for a lot of these retail workers/freelance espionage agents, they wouldn’t be able to shop at the store they’re working in if they ain’t get the discount themselves. How you gon’ check me, boo-boo, when we both using the same 30 percent-off code to cop a Polo sweater? Don’t act like you fitna leave this here register and go have lunch at the yacht club, muthafucka.
9. The Person Who Walks Up to You in the Store Because They Think You Work There
No, I do not work here. I simply used the 30 percent-off code I got from the homey (shoutout to the plug) to cop this Polo sweater. Fuck you for asking. I’m fitna go have lunch at the yacht club now.
8. The Person Who Has a Black Friend That They Always Reference to Prove They’re Not Racist
It never fails. You’re in the midst of trying to get a white person woke and they cut you off with the phrase, “Well, my friend Chris [because it’s always Chris] is black and he said … ,” as if Chris is the black-people pope and we should all show fealty to his word.
This type of behavior is problematic for several reasons, but most important, it attempts to shield the user from the uncomfortable fact that black people are a dynamic entity and that the user probably thinks/feels/does racist shit from time to time that they’re willfully denying. I mean, how do we know Chris really exists or if he’s just some imaginary entity that they made up precisely for the moments when an actual black person confronts them about their real racism? And if Chris is real, maybe he’s just been lying all these years to make them feel comfortable, OR he’s just a fucking sellout.
7. People Who Think Their Appreciation of Hip-Hop Means They Like Black People
You know the type: You just started a new job or moved to a new neighborhood and you meet a new white person, and the first thing they tell you is how much they love the Wu-Tang Clan. You never asked them about the Wu-Tang Clan. You never told them about the Wu-Tang Clan. They just assumed that, because you are black, you enjoy the Wu-Tang Clan and now you all have something in common and now you’re friends (which they’ll use later when referencing you as their black-people pope).
So we’re clear, it’s possible to enjoy black things while still hating black people. That’s the American way.
6. The Ku Klux Klan
Surprised to see them ranked so low on the list? Don’t be. The KKK is kinda like the Notre Dame football of racism. Yeah, they had their heyday, but their time has passed, and while they might pop up from time to time, they’ll never get to relive their past glory.
5. Anyone Who Says Their Favorite Movie Is Soul Man With C. Thomas Howell
Fight that person. Fight them where they stand.
4. Nightclub Bouncers
Anytime you hear or see the words “discretionary dress code,” please know that that’s code for “No black people.” Nightclubs are like churches in that they’re some of the most segregated places in America. And it’s the bouncer’s job to keep it that way. Even a black bouncer working at a white club will tell you that his job is to keep the number of us low to make everyone else feel safe (and comfortable enough to say the n-word while singing along to Nelly’s greatest hits).
3. Jeff Sessions
I mean, really, you could put all law enforcement right here, but since Jeff Sessions is the country’s chief law-enforcement agent AND he’s a virulent racist, he gets to serve as the avatar for the whole fucked-up system. Congrats, Jeff!
Because who in the fuck moves to a neighborhood because of the “culture,” then complains about how spicy the culture’s food is and how loud the culture’s parties are before calling law enforcement on the culture?
1. Complicit White People
Here’s the thing that some white people haven’t figured out about the Trump era: One day it will be over, and we can see them. Like, that Facebook post they might’ve made about kneeling NFL players being ungrateful? We saw that. That time someone said or did some patently racist shit and they didn’t say or do anything? We saw that, too.
We are actively aware of who has been on whose side throughout this entire ordeal, and we’re not in the business of forgetting or forgiving the people who have been silent witnesses to our oppression. We’re makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice.
When this is all over (and like anything that begins, it will end) it won’t be the egregious acts of the few that we will recall. It will be the complicity of the many that we’ll remind ourselves of and teach our children about. The truly dangerous people aren’t the ones who toss around slurs and exercise their power to inflict our pain; nope, they’re the ones who see it happening and shrug it off because they think it isn’t their problem.
It’s all about choosing the side of history you want to be on.