Midway through a Black History Month that has been…. a lot for Black folk and, judging by the worse than usual whitelash, perhaps now is a time to pause and dive into one of the lesser known tenets of Black History Month: Giving gifts to white Americans and other anti-Black Americans.
Okay, that is not really a thing, but who’s to say it could not be?
With demographics rapidly changing and which will lead to white people becoming a minority, now is as good a time as ever to help white friends learn how to be good and productive minorities.
Historically, Black History Month is about recognizing the achievements of Black Americans from throughout American history, to celebrate our contributions to the ongoing American story, to study where we need to improve as a people, and to highlight the usual American deficiencies that negatively impact our community.
Black History Month is also a time for Black folk to put our unique, individual spin on Black history with humor, music, the written word, and photographic essays that cover all the beauty and complexity of Black America.
But up until now, and despite our best efforts, most of White America have no interest in Black History month.
Most white Americans want the shortest month of the year to be over as fast as possible so the focus on all things Black can be over as well. Never mind that what they experience, barely, for twenty-eight days, we experience for 365 days, and somehow we go on without nonstop attacks on all things white American.
We celebrate all the white holidays and go about our business. St. Patrick’s Day? We’ll make and eat green cupcakes and cookies, go out drinking, and even make a few white people uncomfortable when we talk about the Irish in our history that came about because of enslavement sexual abuse. President’s, Memorial, Veterans, Labor, Easter, Christmas, and even Thanksgiving Day are all celebrated by Black Americans.
You might say, “Hey, those are American holidays, not white holidays, aren’t they?”
You’d be wrong.
Those days are for and about white America and white people. None of those days were created with Black folk in mind, except Veterans Day, which Black folk started, though most Americans don’t even know that. The fact most people don’t know that shows how, like the other days, they are whitewashed and meant first and foremost for white people.
Black Americans have adapted to all the white holidays and we have learned to put our spin on them. It is a cultural habit to find our joy and survive in a nation that is hostile to our existence.
Black American’s survival skills and joy-finding skills are vital to us and all minorities.
And since white people will soon be a minority in America, I’d like to share other skills, tips, and tricks that’ll make white people’s lives easier when they’re the minority.
Take it from us: We know how to be the model minority, so it is our pleasure to share with you so you too can be a successful happy minority.
- Learn to dress like the minority. I know you love your khakis, jumpers, and crocs, but in the new America, you’re going to need to up your game, get more color and bold patterns, and not be afraid to ignore the fashion industry and go right to the source.
- Learn to speak like the us and/or like Latino/Hispanic Americans. Whether you learn Spanish or African-American Vernacular – or both – you will easier fit into mixed company and not sound ignorant like folk who only speak the “Queen’s English.”
- Learn to mind your own business when in public. This will be hard for you, I know, but we will set up community classes you can attend where you can learn the key tips and tricks to mind your business. The classes will be taught by “mind your business specialists,” aka, Black Aunties.
- Learn to de-center yourself at work, school, online, and in mixed company. Your story and viewpoint, your “just playing the devil’s advocate” schtick is tired and everyone hates it, so as a minority, you will just eliminate that from all parts of American life.
- Learn to not expect all the speaking parts in movies and television shows, on stage, on network and cable news, sports shows, and podcasts. You’ll get your turn but you’ll no longer dominate all forms of media.
- Learn to fully earn your way into college because only the very best of you will get in now. No more legacy or daddy giving the school millions to get you into the best schools.
- Learn to manage your money because your interest rates are about to get higher for credit cards, cars, and mortgages.
- Learn to get creative with K-12 school funding because it will no longer be based on property tax. Cupcakes still sell well!
- Learn how to be calm, polite, and non-questioning when one of our peace officers pulls you over and roughly handles you because you have air freshener hanging in your car.
These should do for now to get you started and acclimated to your new role as a minority. It’s not so bad— once you get used to being invisible when good things are being said, handed out, or program-designed for the majority.
It can be a bit stressful to be a minority so here are a few coping mechanisms that could help:
- Rely on community.
- Remember that we will always know you’re not Black, so Black adjacency won’t work in the long run.
- Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water.
- Moisturize often.
- Stay home and out of our public eye, where we might be calling our police on you if you seem suspicious.
- Create your version of the “green book” so you stay safe during interstate travel
- Watch all the Black TV shows.
- Live, Love, Laugh.
There are plenty more tips and tricks that we will share in the coming years to help you settle into being a minority.
And then, when you combine these tips and tricks with those you’ll get from Native, Latino, Asian folk, and all the subgroups from each of those, including regional idiosyncrasies, you will be well-equipped to be a model minority.
Praise Black Jesus!
Look, I don’t want to downplay how exhausting it is to learn all the rules necessary to be the model minority because it is very tiring and the rules can and will often change without notice, which may have you looking like an awkward fool when you break unknown (to you) social contracts.
We will work with you!
We have four hundred years of experience and are happy, mostly, to share much of that experience with you so you can be successful as the new majority minority.
We know it can take some adjusting and getting used to, but after a few decades, you will be fully compliant in all the ways you’ve always expected all other minorities to be.
Happy Black History Month!
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton.
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Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.
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