Like many African Americans, I am boycotting the NFL this season. I’ve also permanently banned all R. Kelly music from my life. I also believe that some police are racist and allow that racism to decide how they are going to handle a situation involving African Americans before they’ve even encountered them.
As such, I believe that kneeling during the national anthem is not only the righteous thing for NFL players to do but is also the morally just thing to do. I understand that many African Americans don’t share my view; in fact, the one thing we can all agree on is that when it comes to protesting, we don’t all agree. So I’ve compiled a list of 10 things that I know all black people will protest.
1. No Altering the Menu at Starbucks
We love to customize shit. Even noncustomizable shit—it doesn’t matter. Cars, teeth, nails, hair, skin—we will customize the fuck out of it. And nothing is more customizable than a Starbucks drink order.
Not being allowed to walk into a Starbucks and order a “tallande* double-whip, no-foam mochaccino with unicorn sprinkles and elf tears, stirred with the ivory tusk of a baby elephant” will turn black America upside down.
*A tallande is where you cut a tall cup in half and staple it to the top of grande cup. And yes, it’s still smaller than a venti.
2. No Child Tax Credit
Tax season is arguably the flossiest season of all time. We Birdman hand-rub in anticipation of tax season, and that nice little Child Tax Credit bump is already planned into everyone’s budget. Does it offset the cost of having a child? Hell no, but once it hits, you know you can finally make that dermatologist appointment and get the extra skin-care products that they keep in the locked glass case at CVS. Buying fancy skin care and making a dermatology appointment is balling to people of a certain age.
3. Popeyes Decides to Never Bring Back the $5 Big Box
Black people love to back away from chicken. In fact, just seeing this as a protest topic has made some black folks cringe. It’s a cultural embarrassment, and in truth, we shouldn’t love chicken so much, but we do. And this feels like a safe space to admit it. You know what else we love as much as chicken? Discounts. So when Popeyes has the $5 Big Box, we send out group texts letting each other know. Let Popeyes try and shut this down and watch how quickly we mobilize.
4. A Nationwide Shortage of Talenti Gelato
Black people love fancy ice cream, and it doesn’t get much fancier than this. I have often said that if you want me to be there, then you have to have Talenti gelato. I have left parties early because they didn’t have it. On the promise of Talenti gelato, I will protest while holding a tiki torch.
5. The Lottery Stops the Three- and Four-Digit Number
I don’t know anyone who has ever hit the number. Wait, I take that back—my dad once hit the number, and it wasn’t so much that he hit the number as it was the story of how the number came to him. Black people dream numbers. Family members who have passed to the other side send numbers back in dreams. My dad believes to this day that he didn’t hit the number so much as it was destined for him to hit the number. He dreamed it and played it and won a pretty good amount of money. “The numbers” are a staple in the black community, and taking it away would literally be like taking the black community’s dreams. It’s low-level investing, and stopping it would cause a nationwide black panic.
6. The Disappearance of the Shirtless Snake Guy
Since I was a boy, the shirtless snake guy has been a part of my collective memory. He was at every health care expo, Taste of the City, 8th Street Festival, Beach Week. If there was a monument to universal blackness, it would be a shirtless muscular black man with a snake around his neck or arm. He’s a fixture at all black outdoor universal summer events, and his disappearance would cause mass hysteria in the black community because for once, we’d all finally agree that without him, there is a glitch in the matrix.
7. No More Macy’s Coupons
Look, I don’t want to stereotype, but here comes some crazy-big stereotyping: Black women love Macy’s. Older black women would marry Macy’s if they could. My mom does all her Christmas shopping at Macy’s, and on the off chance that she couldn’t find something for one of us at Macy’s, then you know what we’re getting for Christmas? That’s right, you guessed it: a Macy’s gift card.
As such, black women live for the coupons that come in the mail and the ones online. If Macy’s stopped with the coupons, black women would shut it down. And black men would follow suit, if for no other reason than to get their women out of the house on Sunday so they can secretly watch the football they are supposed to be boycotting.
8. Frank’s Hot Sauce Becomes the Official Hot Sauce of America
The Root’s official hot-sauce aficionado, Lawrence Ware, once exclaimed that Frank’s RedHot is the “All Lives Matter” of hot sauce. Truthfully, Frank’s hot sauce is trash. It’s basically spicy water, and declaring this the official hot sauce of America would not only infuriate scores of American-born black folks—it would increase the black market on Caribbean-made pepper sauce, which is basically the moonshine of hot sauces.
9. A Nationwide Ban on Slamming Dominoes and Pasting Big Jokers on Your Forehead
I don’t think it’s possible to play dominoes without slamming them, and I also don’t think it’s possible to play spades without someone at some point pasting a big Joker on his or her forehead because the nature of both games, mixed with showboat ancestry, requires that both be done. I don’t want to imagine a world where quiet dominoes are played and a big Joker isn’t treated with the respect it deserves. I know that I’m not alone.
10. A Shortage of Three-Cheese Blend, Mexican-Cheese Blend, Block Cheese and Any Other Cheese and/or Cheese Blends During Thanksgiving
Two things I must know about you before I can eat your mac and cheese: I will need to see this year’s tax returns, and I will need to know if you think the word “excessive” exists when making mac and cheese. The first tells me where you are financially and whether you can afford the amount of cheese needed to make a decent mac and cheese, and the second tells me if you are willing to go there.
There is no such thing as making a “too cheesy” mac and cheese. Research shows that the words “This mac and cheese is OK, but it’s too cheesy” have never been said in the black linguistic lexicon dating back as far as 1842. It’s never happened.
In order to make a good mac and cheese for, say, four people, you need at least 35 bags of three-cheese blend and 14 bags of Mexican-cheese blend. Anything less than that and there is a good chance that I will throw your mac and cheese out and talk about you on my Popeyes group chat.