Habari Gani! If you didn’t know that the correct response to that exclamation is “Umoja!” then you’re in for a treat: It’s Black History Month again! Just when you thought Kwanzaa and MLK Day were enough, we’re bringing you a full 28 days of melanin. Not only will we be sharing all kinds of wondrous Black info, but we’re also providing you with an almost exhaustive list of things not to say to Black people for the rest of February, courtesy of the Monthly Black People Meeting Council:
1. Why Do Black People…? No. Stop. None of the Black people you talk to are the spokespeople of their race, not even Bill Cosby or Morgan Freeman. Their opinions are their own, even if they are commonplace. Plus, lots of people refer to kool-aid as its color rather than its flavor.
2. Why Isn’t There a White History Month? Whooaaaahoahoahoaaaa. Sorry to wake you, Snorlax, but the past 11 months were White History Month. Remember when we talked about how basically every White president was known for being honest—as if that’s the most interesting thing a person can be? Yeah, those were the White history months.
3. So Were Your Ancestors Slaves? Pump the brakes! Here’s a good rule of thumb: If your Black friend has a very Caucasian sounding last name like Miller or Stewart, you can assume that yes, that’s the case. No need to single them out.
4. Why Do Black People Get Ashy? Rude. You’re ashy too, promise. You just can’t see it. You might want to start using lotion now so as not to resemble a leather purse in roughly 5-10 years.
5. How Often Do You Wash Your Hair? What a peculiar question. No one’s asking you how often you brush your teeth! Hair washing is personal, and is often done less than our paler counterparts simply because our hair has the problem of being too dry rather than too greasy. Imagine, then, how damaging consistently washing hair could be to our precious curls. Let’s just keep all grooming questions to ourselves.
6. Rap Music is Terrible Though! Why Should We Care About Black Music!? Listen up, homie: Black music led the way for most forms of popular music today. Where do you think Rock music comes from? It came from Jazz music performed by Black jazz musicians. Also, stop basing your perception of an entire genre on your limited exposure to good music.
7. How Come Black People are so good At Sports? What? Why are you asking us this? How can we possibly know?Our guess would be that physical ability is viewed as a profitable skill in lower socio-economic brackets because the educational system in America is biased against those groups and it is their only way to transcend poverty—but again, totally inappropriate to ask.
8. Why Wasn’t the Underground Railroad Actually Underground? Us Black people don’t have too many slave friends to reference for these questions, but our assumption is that between working longer than full-time hours in a field and then plotting and executing an escape route, there wasn’t much time left for creating an uptown express subway train to freedom. Read: not the smartest question.
We hope you learned something valuable here today. These guidelines should help you avoid getting slapped or having heavy shade thrown in your direction during the next few weeks. You are now free to experience Black History Month.