Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
So you want to meet a Black person? Tips from me, a Black: Mochama
Read Vicky Mochama's guide to interracial networking events for handy tips like: don't touch a stranger's hair.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
A networking event in Georgia, USA is putting together non-Black people with Black professionals.
The creator of the event, Cheryle Moses, drew on a study that revealed that the majority of people hang out, work with and support their own racial groups. Seventy-five per cent of white Americans don't know any non-white people. So she set about changing that by creating a space for interracial connections.
Georgia, however, is too far away. And in Canada where Black people are 3.5 per cent of the population and everything is ridiculously far from everything else, it might be hard to meet a Black person.
But if you want help, I am here for you.
First things first: have you looked? According to a mirror I checked, 99.9 per cent of Black people are visible. (The 0.01 per cent is a small superhuman group whose many powers include invisibility, but really they're not anything to concern yourself with. I shouldn't have mentioned it.)
If you can't find any Black people in your area ... wow, I don't know how to help you. Consider moving.
Now that you've looked, maybe you have spotted a Black person that you'd like to encounter. It's tempting to deal with the matter head on and say something like, "Hello, you Black." Don't do that.
Instead, I recommend deploying my time-tested approach: STTLYWAOHB, or Speak To Them Like You Would Any Other Human Being.
For many humans — up to, including and especially Black folks — that often means not speaking at all. You want to meet a Black person; not all Black people want to meet you.
But let's say they've chosen to return your repartee. Congratulations, you're now in a conversation with a Black person! Exhilarating. But what can you talk about? Again: STTLYWAOHB. But just in case you need some parameters, here are a few handy tips:
They don't know the other Black person you might know.
You're going to feel A Demon take over your body and you will want to respond with finger snaps and neck twirls when they say anything interesting. Resist the Demon.
If you're talking to a Black woman, you may ask about her hair but you absolutely cannot touch it.
This is your first conversation with this person. You are not ready to embark on the following topics: slavery and ... yup, that's it.
Which brings us to race, a complex and challenging subject. You may rightly have some questions. Put together a list. Then Google them. Read the links. That may lead to more questions. Search and read again. By now you're ready to Ask a Black Person About Race.
To start, I'd suggest putting your new friend at ease with the Secret Black Handshake which goes [Editor: this column was cut for space.]