What to Do When Someone Comes at You Sideways

Whether it’s a random or a person you deal with on the regular, having someone make any kind of stereotypical, borderline-racist remark to you can make things really awkward and really disturbing really quick. Here’s a look at how to handle yourself in just about any of these situations:

1. When someone tells you, “Your hair isn’t coarse and unruly like most Black girls.” First of all, inappropriate much? Why is she all up in your hair like that? After you stare at her open-mouthed for a few seconds (this is a normal reaction to shock, obviously), use this moment to school her. Politely let her know that first of all, not only do Black people come in a variety of skin tones, but we also have an array of beautiful hair textures, too. And BTW, “unruly” isn’t one of them — fantastically wild, thick, and gorgeous, however? Yassssssss!

2. When someone says, “You’re so well-spoken for a young, Black girl.” What does that even mean?! Last we checked, skin color has nothing to do with intellect or speaking ability. Break it down for this person and let him know just how stereotypical — and rude — that comment is. But keep your cool while doing so — no need to sink to his level.

3. When someone randomly asks you why Black people give their kids “strange” names and expects a serious answer. Meanwhile, your name is Jasmine, but Gwyneth Paltrow’s got a kid named Apple and Jason Lee named one of his sons, Pilot Inspektor. (*Blank Stare*) But on the real, you can also let her know that first of all, giving kids “strange” names is not a Black thing. Secondly, you do not — and never will — speak for all Black people. Also, what may appear “strange” to her may actually be a name derived from another country. 

4. When someone asks you why Black people like fried chicken and watermelon so much. Explain to her that, number one, she should never say that to another Black person ever again in her life. Number two, ask her if she likes fried chicken and watermelon. She’ll probably say yes. Then, just let her know that liking certain foods has nothing to do with being Black, and mentioning fried chicken and watermelon, specifically, has quite the racist background.


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Quarterly print teen magazine for Black girls ages 13 to 19. Covering The Black Girl's Mainstream™

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