Perfectly Normal Things Black Men Just Know Not To Do Because America Is Racist As Fuck » VSB

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Perfectly Normal Things Black Men Just Know Not To Do Because America Is Racist As Fuck



We’re all aware of the potential criminality if caught driving while Black. And shopping while Black. And walking while Black. And walking with your hands in your pockets while Black. And waiting for a bus while Black. And sitting while Black. And eating while Black. And tipping while Black. And…well, you get the point.

But, while the prospect of getting stopped, questioned, and even arrested for literally doing nothing illegal is a reality for Black people, it’s also rare. It happens, but it doesn’t happen to every single one of us everyday. What’s considerably more common, though, are the behavior modifications many of us make because we’re aware of us being walking suspects; things we might want to do but either hesitate doing or just don’t do at all because we’re aware of what might happen if we do.

For instance…

1. Assist random White women in public

Raise your hand if you ever saw a White woman struggling with her groceries, thought “She looks like she needs a hand. Maybe I should help“…and then thought “Shit. If I do help she might think I’m trying to steal her bags.

2. Jog at night

Shit, most of the Black joggers I know won’t even chance jogging at dusk.

3. Actually, jog/run anywhere except for places like gyms and basketball courts that are explicitly reserved for jogging and running

You know the cliche romantic comedy scene, where the guy runs through the airport or the train station to connect with his love? Let’s just say there’s a reason why you’ll never see Anthony Mackie in those roles.

4. Go to dressing rooms unassisted

No, I don’t really need your help. I just called you over here because I want you to see that I’m taking exactly three shirts into the dressing room.

5. Ask non-Black people for directions

Because if you’re Black and driving around lost and you slow down to ask someone on the street for directions, they just might think you’re doing a drive-by.

6. Buy things without receipts

Because you never know when you might be forced to prove where you got that doughnut from.

7. Get angry at work

There’s a reason why every Black man in a position of authority in a predominately White organization — from CEOs and NFL coaches to school principals and Presidents — is known for being “mild-mannered” and “level-headed.”

8. Eat chicken and/or watermelon at office potlucks and/or BBQs

Which sucks because everyone loves watermelon. And there’s nothing worse than loving watermelon but feeling a certain way about showing your love of watermelon because you know everyone assumes you love watermelon. Which sucks because EVERYONE LOVES WATERMELON!!!

9. Go hiking

Because hiking usually involves traveling to places not located in actual cities. And by “not located in actual cities” I mean “we’ve spent a couple hundred years escaping from.”

10. Dress down

Because “casual Friday” is a another way of saying “that day of the week where I wear jeans and sneakers and everyone thinks I’m the pizzaman.”


Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • I guess I was moderated.

  • Sarita Alexander

    all of these… but ESPECIALLY 1,4,6 & 8. f*ck #7 tho. Why can’t I be angry. they’ve seen angry with a public enemy soundtrack to boot.

  • Theeclarkjones

    Can we add wear dark clothes outside of the club? NO IM NOT THE BOUNCER, put away your ID

    • amina

      TRUTH… My boyfriend and I were at a bar and this chick comes over to him and asks him to bring out another table. He had to hold me back from cussing her out.

    • This happened to my husband & his friend at Halloween…we were standing outside the pizza joint next to the bar, talking and figuring out what our next move was. All of a sudden drunk white people just started handing over their IDs. o_O

  • Call me naive but I pray to God the “sitting while black” video is not a real video. Tell me it was an reenactment or something. How appalling – between the way the cops treated that man in front of his kids and the TONS of people that walked by, stopped, looked and didn’t do a damn thing to help. smh…this cop situation is out of control.

    • Not… It’s legit. Sadly.

  • Pinks

    I’ve actually brought watermelon to a couple of office potlucks and not thought twice about it. A former coworker took to referring to me as “angry black woman” because I told another coworker, who was black, that I felt like the stereotype that particular day. I promptly alerted her that she knew not with whom she was fu*king and to never assume that something said in confidence within her earshot were to be repeated because she found it funny.

    One thing my husband is very aware of, as a 6ft, 250+ lb dark-skinned man with dreads, is that most white people see people who look like him as threats. Because of that, and his job, he’s very careful to not come off as aggressive or intimidating in his tone when speaking with clients and people at his office especially. He doesn’t compliment white women, nor many women for that matter, and he makes it a point when speaking with female clients to mention his wife and kids so as not to appear like he’s flirting – though it’s sometimes part of the j-o-b to close the deal. It’s all very exhausting.

  • Jiovan

    I wish my job had dress down days…..Controlling checks and purchase orders while wearing a hoodie and timbs would feel epic lol

  • PiaMia

    you know what i never realized or thought about why i am sooooo hardcore #6… even if I’m at the 99 cent store or scooped a friday freebie I’m like nope need it buddy…

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Be dressed up in the retail store. No I’m not the manager and I can’t help you.

    • Amazonian Midget

      Yes to this! It’s so annoying. The opposite also applies. I can’t go to Target in workout gear (like so many White women) and not get followed around the store.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        who’s following you? It’s not like the “tight” azz yoga pants have pockets. Like folks wouldn’t see the bulge from you stuffing something. SMH

        • Amazonian Midget

          That’s what I’m thinking! Like, where would I even put anything?! Maybe they think my behind is padded.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            This isn’t Jane’s Addiction. I’m surprised you didn’t go off.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Just in case you didn’t catch / understand the Jane’s Addiction reference


              • Amazonian Midget

                LOL I didn’t (I was just going to breeze right past it and google it later). Thanks!

              • Rachmo

                This is my jam.

              • I haven’t seen that video in years. Good one!

            • Amazonian Midget

              I usually just ignore their ignorance. I roll my eyes, go on about my day, and laugh knowing that while they were worried about me…someone else was ripping them off.

            • miss t-lee

              One of my favorite videos, ever.

          • Hmm.. Is someone Hot Todding? LOL (Hey, I’m the originator. I’m allowed to say that.)

    • Unicorn Adventures

      Maaaaannnnn Listen! I’m a meeting planner for an organization that has corporate events in hotels all across the country. I can’t tell you how many times I’m in my suit and someone approaches me with a question as if I’m part of the staff. Like bish, do you see a [insert hotel name] tag on me? I don’t see you approaching any of the vanilla people with suits on for help but me you gotta assume I work here and not staying here for an event?! uugghhh

      • Wow…glad to see its not just me. I was at an event, chillin off to the side of a hotel lobby waiting for friends to show up. Sure- i was wearing a suit…… A white couple came up to me with all their luggage, and immediately asked “can we leave our luggage with you and go see some sights until check in?” I quickly pointed to the trunk of my car and said “put them right in there.” They paused and said “you dont work here do you?
        Never mind the fact that every single employee including the valet and concierge were rocking dark green suits with gold braid and bright gold name tags….
        Long story short – I was guilty of wearing a suit and not going to court/ interview/funeral

    • Rachmo

      Siiiiir I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I used to be asked all the time whether I worked in the store…even though I was wearing a uniform with my school’s name printedo n it.

  • Penciljockey

    Sad, true and funny. Some of those apply to us Mexicans too, but I’m not comparing just sharing :)

    • Freebird

      Have you sren black in latin American? Its on Netflix. We might be related….

  • PunchDrunkLove

    Esp # 7…….for all blacks. Took me years to learn while you’re all up in arms over crap white folks do, being the only one angry is to your detriment. I had to learn there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Getting visibly and vocally angry ain’t it. Beating folks at the same game they play, and calmly is much much more gratifying. Level headed, yaaas

    Shopping…..I’ve definitely peeped security when I’m shopping. Long as I’m not shoplifting, hoover, hang, troll away. If they get too close or too apparent I’ve made remarks to shoo. Plus I’m that person that can shop all day. I’ve told them they’re wasting time watching me cause I’m paying…..eventually. Lol.

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