Is Cold Weather Racist?

Joshua Lott/Getty Images
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

This morning, after walking my dog, I went back outside, popped open the trunk of my car and removed some workout items that were still in there from my trip to LA Fitness Wednesday evening: a sleeveless hoodie, a white T-shirt, a pair of white socks and some gray shorts. I usually don’t like to leave sweaty clothes in my trunk that long, but I’d forgotten they were still in there and was reminded when trying to remember this morning where that hoodie was.


I wasn’t, however, prepared for the clothes to have changed form. You see, it was 2 degrees in Pittsburgh yesterday morning and managed to climb up to 12 degrees today. It was so cold that my clothes were ... frozen. The hoodie, which had been balled up in a gym bag, was now basically a head of lettuce. The white T-shirt was a fucking ironing board. My socks were flaccid Popsicles.

As I hurried back into the house, clutching my frozen clothing and cursing at the cold nipping at my nipples, one thought came to mind: This is some racist-ass shit.

Yes, you read that correctly. Racist. Cold weather is racist. Cold weather racially profiles, segregates, gentrifies, colonizes, appropriates and is responsible for (at least) 90 percent of the unseasoned meats brought to company potlucks this month. It also possesses a changing agent that somehow makes black people even blacker.

The mere hint of a chill seeping and sneaking into my bones transforms me into an awkward mélange of every blaxploitation protagonist and Richard Pryor. I’ve called the wind a jive turkey; a splash of slush in my boots a goddamn good-for-nothin’ cracka; a lone snowflake somehow breaking from formation and finding its way past my parka, beneath my hoodie and down my neck a sucka-ass nigga.

How exactly is cold weather racist, you ask? Where is my proof? Well, first, fuck you for asking me to provide proof of racism. But since we’re here, the proof is that cold weather hates black people even though black people have been so nice and kind to cold weather that we don’t bother it where it lives. If you saw a map of the planet and you wanted to immediately know where on earth to find the niggas, all you’d have to do is check each region’s average temperature and boom, your nigga-finding expedition is over.

Aside from your bougie-ass Kappa cousins taking ski trips and sleigh riding on ascots, we (collectively) let cold weather rock. If cold weather is walking down our side of the street, we cross the street. We’re even nice enough to stay in the house for months while cold weather’s out getting its groove on. Yet despite all of these concessions that we’ve made, cold weather still hates us. And the word for that type of undeserved hate of black people is racism.


So yes, cold weather is racist.

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)



I dont get how Black people live in other parts of the country. We seem to be not good for cold climates. SO while the rest of you are freezing yall asses off I’m here in SoCal chillin. Its not even 12 am and its 77 and its going to be 85 today. And I’ll be grilling in my backyard this weekend while yall shoveling snow. Happy new year!