Black Teen Shares the Rules His Mom Made Him For Leaving the House, and It's Hugely Indicative of Racism in America Today
From not wearing a hoodie to getting receipts for any purchase, a Black teen named Cameron Welch used TikTok to share the many dos and don'ts he has to keep in mind when he's in public.
As the country continues to grapple with the latest examples of police brutality aimed at Black Americans, Black parents and teens have been sharing details of the preemptive measures they take, given the risks they face simply by stepping outside of their homes. Last week, an 18-year-old named Cameron Welch created a TikTok video in which he lists just "some" of the "unwritten rules" his mom makes him follow as a young Black man.
From avoiding certain clothing (a hoodie, for instance) to ensuring that he has a receipt for any purchase he makes in a store, Welch touches on a variety of must-dos and don'ts that white teens don't have to think about:
- Don't put your hands in your pockets.
- Don’t put your hoodie on.
- Don’t be outside without a shirt on.
- Check in with your people, even if you’re down the street.
- Don’t be out too late.
- Don’t touch anything you’re not buying.
- Never leave the store without a receipt or a bag, even if it’s just a pack of gum.
- Never make it look like there’s an altercation between you and someone else.
- Never leave the house without your ID.
- Don’t drive with a wifebeater on.
- Don’t drive with a du-rag on.
- Don’t go out in public with a wifebeater or a du-rag.
- Don’t ride with the music too loud.
- Don’t stare at a Caucasian woman.
- If a cop stops you randomly and starts questioning you, don’t talk back, just compromise.
- If you ever get pulled over, put your hands on the dashboard and ask if you can get your license and registration out.
Welch's post was met with a flurry of support in the comments. One TikTok user observed, "This isn't fair. White people need to realize just how privileged we are. We didn't have to worry about any of this."
Teens of color responded by saying they have had to follow similar rules. Another commenter said they would need to bookmark Welch's video for their future son, to which the teen replied, "His future shouldn't be like this."
In a follow-up post, Welch added that while most people part ways with expressions like, "See you later," he and his friends say, "Stay safe." Welch noted, "Every Black man has that feeling of, 'Am I gonna come home today?'"
Welch told Huff Post that he wanted to speak out about his experience in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police. "In this moment in our country, it was necessary for me to use my voice, so I put out the video,” he told the site. "I wanted people to hear and understand the real truth of a Black man's daily experience."
Ultimately, he hopes that his video will serve as a reality check, telling the site, "I want people to see that we need change and that no one should have to live like this."