White America is seeing, for the first time, how Black Americans must adjust their existence on a daily basis to avoid racism, workplace harassment and police brutality. It’s sobering and frightening, but their stories must be told.
One of the voices stepping up to is that of 18-year old Cameron Welch. He made a powerful TikTok video of the list of rules his mother made him memorize before she would let him go out on his own.
His mother first gave him this list when he was 11-years old. “Jus some unwritten rules my mom makes me follow as a young black man #blacklivesmatter,” he wrote to caption the video which has been viewed more than 3 million times.
Watch it and you’ll get emotional at how much this kid’s mother must have worried about her young Black son’s safety. A few of the rules make good, common sense. But most of them are chillingly specific because he has black skin. Otherwise, he could be anyone’s kiddo.
Here are his rules he must follow for his own safety whenever he goes outside:
- Don’t put your hands in your pockets.
- Don’t put your hoodie on.
- Don’t be outside without a shirt on.
- Check in with your people, even if you’re down the street.
- Don’t be out too late.
- Don’t touch anything you’re not buying.
- Never leave the store without a receipt or a bag, even if it’s just a pack of gum.
- Never make it look like there’s an altercation between you and someone else.
- Never leave the house without your ID.
- Don’t drive with a wifebeater on.
- Don’t drive with a du-rag on.
- Don’t go out in public with a wifebeater or a du-rag.
- Don’t ride with the music too loud.
- Don’t stare at a Caucasian woman.
- If a cop stops you randomly and starts questioning you, don’t talk back, just compromise.
- If you ever get pulled over, put your hands on the dashboard and ask if you can get your license and registration out.
Many of the commentors said they had the same list.
Welch told HuffPost, “In this moment in our country, it was necessary for me to use my voice, so I put out the video. I wanted people to hear and understand the real truth of a Black man’s daily experience. I want people to see that we need change and that no one should have to live like this.”
Next time you wonder what white privilege is take a look at Welch’s list of rules and check off all the ones you don’t have to follow to get back home safely.