Going out in public is much more dangerous for a Black man in American than a white man. A Black man is nearly three times more likely to be killed by the police.
He's at 1.5 times greater risk of being the victim of homicide than a white man and 3.3 times more likely than a Hispanic man.
Even though black men and white men sell and use recreational drugs at nearly the same rates, black Americans are 2.7 times as likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses.
The sad reality that Black men face led the mother of Cameron Welch to create a list of 16 rules for him to follow when he leaves the house. She gave him the list at the age of 11, and at 18, he has it memorized so he shared it on TikTok to show people what life's like as a Black man in America.
"In this moment in our country, it was necessary for me to use my voice, so I put out the video," he told The Huffington Post. "I wanted people to hear and understand the real truth of a Black man's daily experience."
"Jus some unwritten rules my mom makes me follow as a young black man #blacklivesmatter," Welch wrote on the TikTok video.
@skoodupcam Jus some unwritten rules my mom makes me follow as a young black man ##fyp##blacklivesmatter
♬ original sound - marcappalott
— 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 wife-beater on.
— Don't drive with a du-rag on.
— Don't go out in public with a wife-beater 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.
The list of rules shows that Welch's mother understands the reality of being a Black man in America and wanted to do her best to keep him safe when she's not around. It's also a sad reminder of the discrepancy between how white and Black teenagers are treated in this country.
A white teenager would never have to worry about wearing a hoodie or avoiding staring at a white woman. Parents of white children don't have to warn their kids about being seen as a thief when they walk down to the corner liquor store.
"Saving this video for my future son," one TikTok user told Welch.
"His future shouldn't be like this," Welch wrote back.
In a follow-up video, Welch talks about how he says goodbye to his friends after hanging out.
They don't say, "I'll see you later" when heading home. Instead, they say, "Stay safe."
"Every Black man has that feeling of, 'Am I gonna come home today?" he says in the clip.
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