My 2024 wish list of things white people need to stop doing
OPINION: Here is a list of things I would like white people to refrain from doing for the next 365 days.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Happy New Year, friends, non-friends and white people who will find any and every reason to be offended by the same group of people they steal everything from.
I’m sure everyone is well on their way to breaking the promises they made to themselves on Sunday evening; I know I am. As I type this, I’m sitting here eating a fast food hash brown and a fast food breakfast sandwich, and I definitely bought coffee this morning instead of making it at home.
This is why I don’t do resolutions; they are so easy to break within the first few hours of the new year. Waking up “late” this morning led to me taking all these shortcuts and that’s definitely an excuse and not an explanation, but I do endeavor to do better for the next 365 days. We got blessed with an extra day in 2024, so let’s consider today, Jan. 2, as a “new year’s do-over.”
You can start your resolutions now.
Speaking of resolutions …
As 2023 was coming to a close, I spent a lot of time thinking about the things that need to change in the new year.
Some of those things were personal for me, like exercising more, eating better, setting a more consistent sleep/work schedule (this writer’s life comes with crazy hours) and cooking at home more instead of doing GrubHub every night.
Other things I thought about, however, are things that happen on a daily basis in the lives of Black people, things that (some) white people do that are aggravating to no end.
I came up with a list, and I’m going to share it here in hopes that the white people to whom these things apply will take notice, take stock, exhibit some personal accountability (as opposed to the endless amounts of hubris, entitlement, and white privilege) and make positive changes that will have a direct and positive impact on the daily lives of Black people in America.
Enough with the “not all white people”
When white people say “Black people” or “Blacks” or whatever other collective noun or phrase they want to use to group us together, you never hear Black people repeatedly crying “Not all Black people!”
That’s because this is not our first rodeo, and we’ve been around the block enough times to know and understand that Black people are not a monolith, and one person or one small group of Black people doesn’t represent the rest of us. We are able to discern when something doesn’t apply to us, and we move on from it.
Why can’t all white people do that?
There are some white people who get so up in arms over the phrase “white people” that they completely derail the conversation because they want to make sure it’s firmly established that they are not the kind of white people we are referring to in whatever scenario we are discussing, and they need our tacit and verbalized validation that they are not that kind of white people before we can even get the story out that we are trying to tell.
Please stop doing this.
Be mature enough to understand that if it doesn’t apply, you can let it fly. We know “not all white people” just like we know “not all Black people.”
We don’t constantly remind you that we are not all the same, so why do you feel the need to do it to us?
I could go into how the insecurity around this for (some of) y’all is rooted in the fact that deep down, you’re afraid that you are actually that kind of white person.
Unpack that and leave us alone, please.
Come up with your own social content.
I am addicted to TikTok. Of all the social media platforms available to us, TikTok is where I spend most of my scrolling time.
Black people on TikTok are hilarious and genius and creative, and (some) white people on TikTok have built entire platforms just by mimicking and copying everything Black people do; it’s so egregious and annoying, and I wish it would stop.
It’s almost as if y’all wouldn’t have any content if it weren’t for Black people.
If you aren’t doing our dances, using our sound bites, retelling our jokes, and making videos of yourselves trying to be us in every way imaginable, what would you be filming yourselves doing?
Are the regular, degular lives of (some) white people so boring that their only option is to live virtually through us?
Please get some new material. Please. I’m begging.
I probably wouldn’t find it so offensive if it weren’t for the fact that the Black creators get pushed down in the algorithm in favor of the white creators who are basically biting their style.
Please strive to come up with your own content. You can do that, right? I believe in you!
Stop policing Black people and mind your business.
Wherever there is a Black person, you can be sure there is a white person nearby minding said Black person’s business for them.
Please stop thinking it’s your job to police the presence and actions of Black people who aren’t bothering you.
We can’t do regular things like take a walk through the neighborhood; deliver Amazon packages as outlined in our job descriptions; sit in our cars listening to music; or any other mundane thing you can think of without some white person taking it upon themselves to question what who we are, what we are doing, and why we are doing it.
It’s like (some) white people think they are the
overseers supervisors of Black people on the streets.
Please leave us alone. If we are not harming you, why are you worried about what we are doing? Is a crime being committed or are you just nosey?
Why do you think what a Black person is doing is any of your business?
Find something safe to do, and leave Black people alone.
Stop using the police as a Black people complaint line.
Let’s be real; the police already kill Black people regularly with very little provocation, so you calling the police because your Black neighbor went outside to water the grass at 2 a.m. and you didn’t like it is placing your neighbor in unnecessary danger.
The police aren’t your personal concierge, and you shouldn’t be calling them simply because a Black person “defied” your commands is inappropriate at best and should come with an attempted murder charge at worst because you definitely called the police so you could see the Black person be “punished,” and I have to ask, what is with people like you?
Black people aren’t required to do what you say when you say it or how you want it; defaulting to calling the police just because you didn’t get your way with a Black person should be considered a hate crime.
White people who do this should be charged with a hate crime because they are weaponizing the police against Black people with the full knowledge of what can possibly happen when the police are called on Black people – no matter the circumstance.
In summation, (some) white people really need to do better in 2024, and it is my sincere wish that y’all will at least try.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.