Four Simple And Practical Things Black People Can Do So White People Won't Be So Gotdamn Fucking Scared Of Us

Tulsa, Okla., Police Department
Tulsa, Okla., Police Department

Yesterday, footage was released of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher getting shot and killed by Betty Shelby, a Tulsa police officer. Crutcher appeared to have his hands up, was unarmed, and, from the multiple camera angles made available to the public, didn't appear to be any sort of a threat. Yet, that didn't prevent him from getting executed by Shelby. Shot down in the street like a fucking rabid raccoon.


Perhaps the most telling aspect of the footage wasn't the video, but the audio from the footage taken from a police helicopter. Because it is here you can hear an officer express that Crutcher — who again was unarmed, had his hands up, and didn't appear to be doing or saying anything remotely threatening — "looks like a bad dude." It's a sentiment similar to what Darren Wilson expressed when he shot and killed Michael Brown, claiming that the bullets seemed to make Brown grow bigger and stronger and angrier, like some sort of VantaBlack Popeye. It also reminds me of what George Zimmerman said about Trayvon Martin. And what the Cleveland police officers who ambushed, shot, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice said. And what Michael Dunn claimed caused him to fire a gun indiscriminately into a car at a gas station, killing Jordan Davis. And what our preferred choice for president alluded to 20 years ago when she referenced "Superpredators."

We can continue to protest during the anthem to draw attention to racism and police brutality. And we can continue to demand better and more efficient training for police officers, as well as more accountability for their misdeeds. But while those acts will surely make a difference, as long as the type of White people to be scared to fucking death of us continue to be so scared and so unimpressed with our humanity that the first instinct when engaged in any type of misunderstanding or squabble with us is "Kill it!", this will continue to happen.

Which leads me to the million-dollar question: What can we do to prevent them from being so gotdamn fucking scared of us? I don't have any concrete solutions. But I do have some theories.

1. Adopt puppies, and carry them everywhere

If you were to make a Venn diagram with "the type of people to be scared to fucking death of Black people" and "the type of people to value the lives of dogs over the lives of Black people" there'd be a ton of overlap. A shitload of overlap. Which is why it wouldn't be the worst idea in the world for every Black person in America to hit up the Animal Rescue League today, adopt an orphan puppy, and carry that puppy…everywhere. In the car. On the bus. With a ball. To the mall. They want open carry states? Fine! We'll turn every state into an open puppy carry state. Imagine the confusion on their faces. "He's Black so I'm naturally predisposed to shoot him BUT OMG LOOK AT THAT PUPPY!!!!"

And for those doubting the practicality and application of this plan, consider this: Black people have been arrested, shot, and killed by the police for everything from "standing while Black" to "laughing on a wine train while Black." But I've yet to hear of a Black person shot for "being neck-nuzzled by a cute-ass Corgi puppy while Black."

2. Start frequenting tanning salons

We've seen the browning — and, in Donald Trump's case, the Cheetoing — caused by tanning beds. And I've yet to hear about a just tanned, extra crispy White person shot by a police officer who assumed they were Black. So maybe it's not just the brown skin that makes them so gotdamn fucking scared of us. Maybe it's the type of brown skin. Maybe if we added that extra layer of gloss and sheen we'd be less scary. We'd also be real life Instagram Ludwig filters grown sentient, but I'd rather be that than dead any day.


3. Stop using so much damn seasoning on our meats

For years, we (Black people) have chided (some) White people for not being particularly generous with the seasonings used to prepare various meats. Hell hath no fury like a Black person forced to eat unseasoned soft wing dings at a company potluck. But maybe they're on to something. Maybe Old Bay is the secret ingredient that, in their eyes, turns Black people from "people" to "motherfucking Sasquatch." Maybe, just maybe, the destitute seasoning and poverty meat preparedness is their way of saving us from themselves.


4. Move into the same neighborhoods as the people who are so gotdamn fucking scared of us. Buy the most powerful wifi connection you can for your house. Then label the network "Your Black-Ass Neighbor" and leave it open for anyone to use.

Because, even if you're scared to fucking death of him, you do not shoot and kill the free wifi guy.

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)


Brother Mouzone

My twins(who dropped on the 17th, shout out to the wife who pushed out two big azz boys naturally) are going to one day be very large tall Black men because of their parent's genetics. When I was looking at them yesterday I thought, man my food bill is going to be ridiculous…and then the more serious thoughts of their future safety, based on how they look, hit me. It's a dam shame that I have to wrestle with these thoughts and 2520's don't.