How to Make White People Uncomfortable

Illustration for article titled How to Make White People Uncomfortable
Screenshot: Dear White People (Netflix)

1. Be black.

2. Be not white.

3. Be not white and not American.

4. Tell the truth.

5. Cite facts.

6. Talk about the past.

7. Talk about the present day.

8. Talk about the future.

9. Say things like “Hi” and “Excuse me” and “Perhaps, if I were so inclined, I’d meet you at Chipotle later. But alas, my palate is discerning, and you will, instead, find me at Waffle House.”


10. Enter buildings.

11. Walk past buildings.

12. Walk.

13. Stand.

14. Sleep.

15. Have an appropriate response to a thing a white person or a group of white people did, which can sometimes be anger.

16. Remind them of the truth.

17. Remind them that there are people other than white people.

18. Remind them that the people other than white people also happen to be people.

19. Remind them of anything, really, including a Jeep.

20. Shop at a mall.

21. Drive a car.

22. Sit in a car that someone else is driving.

23. Have money.

24. Don’t have money.

25. Live in a place they’ve recently moved to.

26. Move to a place they live in.

27. Vote.

28. Go to school.

29. Don’t go to school.

30. Order food at a restaurant.

31. Sit down at a restaurant.

32. Be aware that things called “restaurants” exist.

33. Protest demonstratively.

34. Protest quietly.

35. Have babies.

36. Attend church.

37. Practice something other than Christianity.

38. Say no.

39. Say “maybe, but probably not.”

40. Carry a gun.

41. Enter an elevator.

42. Take the stairs.

43. Have more money than them.

44. Have less money than them.

45. Attend their universities.

46. And then, when you say, “Y’all are really mad about us in your schools, so we’ll just make our own schools, then,” attend those schools.


47. Have a face that is not immediately communicating unbridled joy and mirth.

48. Be too happy.

49. Exist while they’re also existing.

50. Not exist while they’re also existing, because, you know, they need you to exist for whiteness to matter.


Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Say the n word in their presence.

Remind them they cannot say the n word.