Over the weekend*, I shared the following story and PSA on social media:[Begin]
Earlier today, when I was out for a walk, I saw numbers of Bl.ck people preparing for cook-outs. I like to have a good time and laugh, so I decided to stop over to have a little fun.
At the first area, I saw a Bl.ck man prepping food. He looked excited and in the zone.
“Hey! It’s your favorite cousin!” I announced, smiling and looking at him like he really was my cousin.
He stopped working at the table and looked up at me in surprise.
I added, “What we cooking? What’s up?” I looked at him like, “Don’t you know me, Cuz?”
This man did not just burst into laughter. Y’all, he did one of those turn and jog away, bend over, belly laughs like “Girl, you are a mess.”
“That’s a good one!” He was still laughing in amusement.
I responded, joking with him, “I know. Isn’t it? I’m going to show up to all the cook-outs like ‘Remember me from the reunion last summer’ and get my plate.”
“Riiiight,” he laughed in a knowing way.
Before getting on another trail, I passed by another area, where two older Bl.ck people were getting ready for a cook-out.
Again, I approached, calling out, “Hey! It’s your favorite cousin.” The Bl.ck woman knew I was kidding. Her partner, at first, looked like he was trying place me in the family. We laughed about it.
“I was about to say,” said the man. The woman smiled, “I knew she was playing.”
I laughed, “I can tell he was looking as if he didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but he was thinking, ‘I don’t remember you, child.’”
I wished them a happy day and continued my walk.
Guess what? I did not ask about permits or call the police. It did not cross my mind, either.
To top off this experience, after leaving, on my drive to my next stop, I saw an adult Wh.te woman with a young Wh.te boy sitting in the driveway of a home with a lemonade stand.
I did not call the police or ask for permits and licenses.
I have a feeling that the Bl.ck people coming and going to the cook-outs in the area will most likely do the same.
Racial PSA for Wh.te People (To Whom It May Concern):
Over this holiday weekend (and the entire year),
If you see Bl.ck people celebrating and barbecuing,
Instead of acting like paranoid permit vigilantes, you can:
1) Ask to join or try a warm way of connecting. (Note: There is no guarantee you will be allowed. You are not entitled to participation.)
2) Say a friendly greeting.
4) Mind your business.
5) Mind your bizness.
6) Mind your bihnih.
7) Mind your biz.
7a) Keep it moving.
Whatever you choose in the name of being a decent, kind, and anti-racist human being,
Do not call the police.
Do not act like one, either.
It did not stop here.
Today, on another walk at a park, I saw a group of five Wh.te people at a picnic shelter. I wondered, “What if I tried my ‘favorite cousin’ greeting?”
So, I decided to go for it.
I walked over and announced, “Hey! It’s your favorite cousin!”
I looked around like I was late and ready to catch up on what I had missed at the affair.
I added, “I didn’t get the memo.”
One of the Wh.te men laughed. The three Wh.te. women looked at me with a mix of apprehension, confusion, and amusement.
The other Wh.te man smiled and went with it. He responded, “I knew you would come, though.”
“Yes, well, I made it,” I replied, “I’m kidding, y’all. I thought I would stop by say, ‘hello.’ How is everyone doing, today?”
We talked briefly.
One of the Wh.te women offered lunch.
I declined, for I wanted to finish my walk and spend time to myself. After all, I am an introvert.
I wished them a great day, waved, and left.
Perhaps an update to my racial P.S.A. for Wh.te people (To Whom it May Concern) is in order.
That is, Wh.te people, do not call the police if a long-lost Black play cousin stops by your all-Wh.te or predominantly Wh.te cook-out, to share a friendly greeting.
*Week 47 of Quitting the Bible