How to Be Black

Struggle with the stereotype that all black people have huge breasts, a huge ass, a huge cock, and/or huge lips. Figure out early on that non-black people only want to sleep with you because they think being black means you have something enormous to offer. Websites such as Big Booty Black Videos, Ethnic Hoes and 98% of Interracial Gay Porn Involving A Black Dude confirms this. Feel stressed out because you don’t want to let everybody down.

Get admitted to Harvard College before any of your non-black friends. They don’t get into Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, are stuck with Washington University (a much lesser school). Tell you it’s all your fault. They were National Merit Scholars. They did community activism in Botswana. They got a perfect score on the SATs. They went Le Rosey in Switzerland but then transferred to Dalton (a $250,000 education). They wrote a New York Times best selling debut novel, which also made it to Oprah’s Book Club. But you stole their spot because of Affirmative Action. Laugh in their face—better yet, send them a postcard from Apley Court, your new dorm which is overflowing with Ivy.

Become concertmaster of a well-known orchestra. Have your stand partner and everybody else in First Violin tell you you only got the role because you’re black, even though you studied with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory, captured first prize at the Queen Elizabeth International Competition, and now record exclusively for Deutsch Grammophone. When will you be good enough in their eyes?

Really love or really hate Tyler Perry movies.

Get asked every summer if black people tan.

Get laughed at in elementary, junior, and high school by all your black friends because you “talk white.” Philosophize for years about what it means to “talk white.” Have an identity crisis. Go away to college or boarding school and have your new white friends swear up and down you’re nothing like the way black people are “supposed” to be. What happened to you?  Go home with your new white friends during holidays, play the role of Model Black.

Seamlessly slip in and out of Ebonics. Talk to your friends in one voice but as soon as a family member or another black calls, thass when you be done’ took the Ebonics out.

Get used to not seeing other black people on the covers of magazines, in any of the advertisements, or in any of the movies. Cringe when Your Local News shows racist images of black people, such as mug shots, jail shots, and videos of robberies. Get used to people assuming you like rap. Get used to things like racism, hot sauce.

Shop in a fancy store such as Bergdorf’s, Barney’s, or Prada. Get followed around the store. They think you can’t afford anything. Are on the verge of calling the cops. Ask you to open your bag when you leave the store. You can’t believe this. This is your Oprah-in-Hermes-in-Paris moment. Then you shout, “Don’t you know who the fuck I am?!” They don’t, but it makes you feel better to say it aloud, anyway. It’s like therapy. Go back the next day and buy $260,000 worth of couture, and be sure to bring your BFF Madonna and all the paparazzi with you.

Join a gay hook-up site such as Manhunt or Adam4Adam. Send a friendly message to “Dannyc888” (white) saying, “Whoa, aren’t you cute!” Wait for him reply, “Too bad you look like you have been burnt by the sun LOL!” He blocks you so you can’t respond which proves he knew he was saying something racist and offensive. Click on another boy with a cute profile and get sad when it says,  “NO BLACK” or “ONLY INTO WHITE AND LATINO. AND LIGHT SKINNED MIXED. I’M NOT RACIST, IT’S JUST A PREFERENCE!!!” Sit back and think, um, it’s racist, dude. Write him anyway. TC mark


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  • Afton

    Holy Shit, this is a) not funny and b) hella racist.

    If it were funny and smart, rather than stupid and unfunny, you might be able to get away with the racism, but, it's not, and so you can't.

    • Afton

      Oh, and I see now that the writer of this piece, Madison, is a black dude and not a white chick. This fact in no ways changes my previous opinion.

      • Kelly McClure

        I'm confused as to how a person could be racist against themselves. Some people who take the time to leave ignorant comments, should find other things to do with that time, like maybe making it a goal to be less of a douche.

      • Tyson

        I'm not agreeing/disagreeing with either of you, but about being “racist against yourself”, post-colonial theory talks about instillment of Western values among non-Western countries and in reaction some native people having a self hatred towards themselves and their cultural identity because it doesn't live up to “Western standards”.

  • Kay

    This post bounced from characteristics of the educated Black person's existence to typical Black cliches. That made it a bit confusing. Otherwise, hilarious as usual Madison.

  • Timothy Willis Sanders

    'get used to things like racism, hot sauce'…lol

    funny….thx madison

  • Tom Moreton

    I honestly don't see how it's any more racist for them to prefer white men to black men than it is sexist for you to prefer men to women. It's just a preference, people can't help who they are attracted to, and they shouldn't have to think about it so much by having their insecurities amplified by having people guilting them into thinking that their subconscious is racist.

    • Madison Moore

      Well put, for someone who must only be into white dudes/people!!!!

      But that's what you don't realize, Tom, that it is not natural for a person not
      to be attracted to one race or another, to the exclusion of all other races.
      ALL of our desires are socially conditioned.

      When you know and understand the history of race in America, which clearly you
      do not, you realize that desire and especially interracial desire has always
      been a highly fraught, political space. Whiteness has long, long, long been
      upheld as THE standard of beauty, so much that black women like Sara Baartman
      (Google her) were put on display (both living and posthumously) in the 19th
      century and laughed at for her Africanized features – her huge clitoris, her
      huge ass, her huge tits. This, Tom Moreton, was supposed to stand as proof to
      white people of what beauty was not, of a kind of sexuality that was ugly, bad,
      deformed, outrageous. Then and now, beauty meant refined lips, thinness, and
      fair skin.

      How can you know that and tell me that it's just a preference to not be
      attracted to one race or another? If you still think so, I highly encourage you
      to take an African American History course, see Jungle Fever, see an art work
      by Adrian Piper and/or Kara Walker, look at Bruce Weber's Abercrombie campaign
      images, read James Baldwin or Marlon Riggs. Or better yet, open any issue of
      American VOGUE and see how many black people are in it.

      • Tom Moreton

        Thanks for replying. As it happens, I'm not exclusively attracted to white people, but it's probably true to say that generally I find more white/mixed race people attractive than I do any other race.

        I agree that all desires are socially conditioned, however I thing the thing that is at fault here is society rather than the individual, which is why I took offence to the use of guilt (as in the article) because after a lifetime of having particular desires, it's not an easy thing for people to change. I know a black guy who prefers Asian girls to any other race, is he a racist? It's also worth considering that desires are to a strong degree inbuilt, and that some people will not be attracted to black people (or people of any other race, for that matter) no matter what cultural background they come from.

        You're right in saying that I don't understand the history of race in America, probably because I am not American. Not to say that Britain is some post-racial utopia, that's certainly not the case, it's just that racism appears to be linked to class in Britain, which generally keeps it out of politics totally. We have probably more of a history of slavery and institutionalised racism than America, but we had no civil rights movement, no great political battle, and race politics is completely nonexistent in any mainstream party. We just sort of got over it.

        I do think you have a point by bringing up Vogue, but I'd wager that the staff of Vogue are predominantly white and tend to publish their own standard of beauty, which would also happen to be white. People tend to be attracted to people of their own race, although it's true to say that black people have a far higher of interracial relationships compared to white people. I'd be interested to see what a fashion magazine staffed entirely by black people would look like.

      • ab

        @Tom Moreton

        re: Britain… Absolutely BS.

        I am black and live in UK. The UK didn't get over racism, it embedded it into its thinking and its society and largely silenced the voice of minorities.

        In the UK, you either assimilate or you are in serious trouble, anything else is perceived as inferior and the largely white majority are so insidiously racist that to them, the presence of a black person anyway signifies that they are tolerant.

        We did not have a civil rights movement because the UK decimated and destroyed any chance of us having it. We did however have race riots a plenty. Which even the British police admit, they stoked the flames of and largely caused due to their oppressive and completely unethical + illegal tyrannical predatory dealings with black people.

        Racism as class in the UK is something only white people seem to trot out, because they are so removed from the reality of most black people in the UK.
        how much denial are you living in?, oh wait it doesn't matter. Cos you know what, its not your reality and you don't really bloody care.

        As long as you get to eat a curry when you feel like, talk about that hot Jamaican food you tried from that funky restaurant, beam at the fact that you can name a Jay-Z song, know who beyonce is and can point to Leona Lewis oh and for the bonus, you talk to the black guy/girl at work and might even catch a drink with them in the pub, means diddly squat.

        Race politics?. Yeah, of course its non existent, how many black MP's are there in the house of commons?.

        It is beyond insulting, to constantly read white British people talking about BS about the reality of race relations when they know bugger all about it.
        The British way is to talk at Black people, tell you what you are supposed to feel, as opposed to listening to what effect things have on you, so dialogue is darn near impossible.

        Really gets on my bloody goat!

      • Afrobrit

        AB, I completely agree with you. White People in England are ignorant to any knowledge of Black people's lives in the UK. The ruling class in the UK have completely shut-down any discussion of racism and you even get the few 'Black people' who have 'made it' saying that we all live in the post-racism utopia to protect their own backs. What makes me laugh is White liberals like Tom saying the United States is racist but they don't look at how racist their own country is -what a joke!! If people want evidence of how great England is to Black people look at the recent figures that show Black men in the UK are more likely to jailed than Black men in the United States.

      • Alexis

        You should read this.

      • ActionJustin

        Nice article, but I suspected that this was just a clumsy proxy for bragging about Harvard and your music. This follow-up clinches it. Nothing starts a conversation about race quite like making generalizations about white people or suggesting that white people should behave a certain way. Thanks!

      • Alexis

        Suggesting that white people check their privilege? Oh how horrible! If we show people their privilege and how it affects their life, they might be expected to do something about it! What a burden.

  • Jocelyn

    too real cause this just happened to me a few weeks ago: i had a huge crush on this greek guy over the summer but we never took it further than being friends. i found out on new years that he's not into black chicks. yeah, it sucked but i can't do anything about it; we all have preferences but i'm open to everyone, as long as they don't have a shitty personality.

    i feel like you “get” me, madison.

  • Michael Koh

    I lol'ed

  • brndn

    Wow, racist or not, sad or funny – it's almost irrelevant – due to the fact that in my own personal life experience, this is 90% (I'm hetero but otherwise identical to) my experience on a weekly basis.

  • Moondawg

    As a black dude who went to a posh boarding school in UK, I totally get it. Girls interested in being cool were only to happy to date you, but wanted to only listen to rap music and for you to act like an MTV Base video 24/7. If not, they got all confused, esp if you talked politics/history eloquently over a fine meal as opp to cars and drugs over KFC.

  • Ty

    this is so true. esp the “acting white” part, but if I came home speaking ebonics my parents would kick me out.

  • unRhon

    How about trying to just live?

    Try not worrying about how you are perceived and try to enjoy the precious few moments you have on this earth.

    Try just living in your own skin.

    Try breathing.

    This is how to truly be Black.

    -A Black Man

    • LadyBlue

      I agree. People will always have something to say whether you are male or female, gay or straight, light or dark. Just be yourself and fuck what people have to say, because whatever they expect you to behave like says more about them than it does about you.

  • elaine

    i like this
    i am an asian/female, still felt like i could relate

  • JWBooth

    Stop complaining. There is no racism in America; we have a black president. Obezzy.

    • 123

      Are you being sarcastic?

    • Jewlz

      Are you crazy???? Do you honestly believe that racism and prejudice all of a sudden just came to an end on the day Obama became president? How absurd! Racism never stopped! As a matter of fact it has become more stronger because people are still angry that a black man is in office. People like you should spend a day as a black man, then you'll know what if feels like. Your ignorance repulses me.

  • Yo.Yo.Ma.

    “Struggle with the stereotype that all black people have huge breasts, a huge ass, a huge cock, and/or huge lips.”

    You say this as if its a bad thing.


  • Dulcenaia

    I loved this article. This is totally my life too (except the me being a chick).

  • D. M.

    I think your perspective as a Black person is definitely influenced by class privilege, but I definitely think most of what you say rings true. I've had to encounter a great deal of what you put into this clever piece of writing, and it definitely compels us to think.

    I would add that in order to be black one must certainly not be gay, male, and feminine. And if you do attend an HBCU do not be an atheist, and for the sake of all things good, do not be a feminist.

  • ls

    important question:

    would sending this to my black friends be racist or fun for them?

    • Byetrini

      Why not send it to all of your friends….not just your black ones? If you send it only to your black friends, they will shake their heads and commisserate that you are racist and be reminded why the don't really like you. Come to think about it, you probably don't really have any black friends, just a few black people that tolerate you and laugh behind your back.

  • Keke

    I really enjoyed reading this article, and I can relate to all of these experiences. I was once told in undergrad by a low performing white peer that “Well, I think most minorities are here because of affirmative action.” Forget the fact that I had an A average, was holding down a job, an internship and a research project with a faculty member all at the same time, while this moron was whining about a test he hadn't studied for.

    I've been followed around stores, told how “different,” I am from “those,” people and how especially “well-spoken,” I am. Or people will comment on how “thin,” I am in comparison to most African Americans, as if we all come in one size. The idiocy of people kills me.

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  • Daniel Roberts

    Who is this jackass, these spam comments with spam links are on every post in the past couple days

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