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Family

Childless people over 50 are honestly reflecting on whether they made the right decision

Spoiler alert: They’re totally fine with it.

childless couples, kid-free life, regrets of seniors
via Pexels

Childless people over 50 discuss their decision.

People who decide not to have children are often unfairly judged by those who chose a different life path. People with children can be especially judgmental to women who’ve decided to opt out of motherhood.

“You will regret it!” is one of the most common phrases lobbed at those who choose to remain childless. Why do people think they’ll have such awful regrets? Because they often say they’ll wind up “lonely and sad” when they’re older.

They also say that life without children is without purpose and that when the childless get older they’ll have no one to take care of them. One of the most patronizing critiques thrown at childless women is that they will never “feel complete” unless they have a child.

However, a lot of these critiques say more about the person doling them out than the person who decides to remain childless. Maybe, just maybe, their life is fulfilling enough without having to reproduce. Maybe, just maybe, they can have a life full of purpose without caring for any offspring.

Maybe the question should be: What’s lacking in your life that you need a child to feel complete?


Studies show that some people regret being childless when they get older, but they’re in the minority. An Australian researcher found that a quarter of child-free women came to regret the decision once they were past child-bearing age and began contemplating old age alone.

People revealed the reasons they’ve decided to be childless in an article by The Upshot. The top answers were the desire for more leisure time, the need to find a partner and the inability to afford child care. A big reason that many women decide not to have children is that motherhood feels like more of a choice these days, instead of a foregone conclusion as it was in previous decades.

Reddit user u/ADreamyNightOwl asked a “serious” question about being childless to the AskReddit subforum and received a lot of honest answers. They asked “People over 50 that chose to be childfree, do you regret your decision? Why or why not?”

The people who responded are overwhelmingly happy with their decision not to have children. A surprising number said they felt positive about their decision because they thought they’d be a lousy parent. Others said they were happy to have been able to enjoy more free time than their friends and family members who had kids.

Here are some of the best responses to the Askreddit question.

1. Never had any desire.

"I explain it to people like this - you know that feeling you get where you just can't wait to teach your kid how to play baseball? or whatever it is you want to share with them? I don't have that. Its basically a lack of parental instinct. Having children was never something I aspired to. My SO is the same way.

"Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against children. And I get really angry at people who harm them or mistreat them. I just never wanted my own." — IBeTrippin

2. No desire. No regrets.

"Nope. It was never something I wanted. No regrets." — BornaCrone

3. Mixed feelings.

"I have mixed feelings. I don't care much for children and I think it would have been disastrous for us to have them. I was also able to retire at 52. Pretty sure that wouldn't have happened with kids. So yeah, absolutely the right decision.
But I love my family and I do wonder what it would be like to have my own, to teach my child the things I know and not to be without someone who cares about me at the time of my death.

"But again, absolutely the right decision and at 55 I'm very happy NOT to have them. This is reinforced every time I'm exposed to other people's kids." — ProfessorOzone

4. They never visit.

"My wife worked at a nursing home for years. Imagine seeing for years that over 95% of old people never have family visit. Till they die and people want a piece of the pie. This when I learned that the whole 'well who is gonna visit you or take care of you when you're older' line is complete bullshit. We decided to not have kids ever after that. Made great friends and saw the world. No regrets." — joevilla1369

5. It wasn't an option.

"I don't necessarily regret not having them, but I regret the fact that I wasn't in a healthy enough relationship where I felt I COULD have children. I regret not being stronger to leave the abuse earlier, if I had been stronger, I think maybe I could have had the choice at least. So yeah... I have regrets." — MaerakiStudioMe

6. Grandkids are cooler.

"No. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to marry my husband. He had two sons from his first marriage and a vasectomy. He was worried because I was so young (comparatively, he's 10 years older). I did think it over seriously and concluded that a life with him compared to a life without him but (perhaps!) with a baby I didn't even have yet was what I wanted. It worked out for us, we've been together for 26 years. As a bonus I have 9 grandchildren. All the fun without the work of the raising!" — Zublor

7. I'd be a bad parent.


"Not one bit. I have never believed that I would be a good parent. I have a short temper, and while I don't think I would have been physically abusive, my words and tone of voice would be harsh in a very similar way to my own father. I wasn't happy growing up with that kind parent and I wouldn't want to subject any child to that kind of parenting."
— Videoman7189

8. I'd rather be the cool aunt and uncle.

"No and I found a partner who feels the same. We are the cool aunt and uncle." — laudinum

9. Loneliness is underrated.


"54 yrs.old. I've lived the past 30 years alone. Presently my dog and I are chillin' in a nice hotel on a spur of the moment vacation. I'd maybe be a grandfather by now?! I can't imagine what it would be like to have family. I picture a life lived more "normally" sometimes. All sunshine and roses, white picket fence, etc. but I realize real life isn't like that. No I don't regret being childfree or wifefree for that matter. My life can be boring at times but then I look back at all the drama that comes with relationships and think I've dodged a bullet. I spent 20 years trying to find a wife to start a family. Then I realized the clock had run out, so fuck it, all the money I'd saved for my future family would be spent on myself. Hmmmmm...what do I want to buy myself for Christmas?" — Hermits_Truth

10. No diaper changes and no regrets.

"Nope. I never had the urge to change diapers or lose sleep, free time and most of my earnings. Other people's kids are great. Mostly because they are other people's. When people ask 'Who will take care of you when you're old' I tell them that when I'm 75 I will adopt a 40-year-old." — fwubglubbel

11. Zero desire.

"I’m 55 (F) and never wanted children. I just don’t much like them, and 20+ years of motherhood sounded (and still sounds) like a prison sentence. Maternal af when it comes to cats and dogs, but small humans? No chance.

"And I’m very happy to be childless. Cannot imagine my life any other way." — GrowlKitty

12. D.I.N.K.

"Dual income no kids = great lifestyle!" — EggOntheRun

13. Some regrets

"Over 50 and child free. My only regret is that my wife would have been a great mother, and sometimes I feel like I deprived her of that, even though we both agreed we didn’t want kids. Sometimes I wonder if I pushed her into that decision. She works with the elderly every day and sees a lot of lonely folks so it gets to her sometimes. I was always afraid I’d screw up the parenting thing, so I was never really interested in the idea. I’m a loner by nature though." — Johnny-Virgil


This article originally appeared on 02.08.22

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A child being rude.

Sometimes, it can feel like half of parenting is repeating yourself over and over again, asking your child to brush their teeth or take a dish from the living room to the sink. It’s exhausting and makes you feel like a nag. Don't you wish there was a simple way to make your kids listen the first time?

Dr. Rebecca Kennedy, aka “Dr. Becky,” is a clinical psychologist and founder and CEO of Good Inside who says she has a quick way to make your kids more cooperative and less rude. Talk about killing two soul-crushing birds with one parenting stone.

Dr. Beckly got into psychology after growing up with anorexia as a teenager.

“Okay, no matter how old your kid is, you can use this 15-second tip to decrease rudeness and increase cooperation,” she says in a TikTok video with over 32,000 views. “Find your child today and ask them this question. 'Hey, I was just wondering, what could I do better as your parent?'”


The psychologist says that even if the child has a random or impractical answer such as “Let me stay up ‘til midnight” or “I’d like to eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” just to listen. Simply by listening, you can change your child’s behavior.

She says we should also ask more questions to further the conversation: “Tell me more. What would that be like?”

Want to improve your relationship with your kid in less than 15 seconds? Watch this reel for a quick-win strategy. 

@drbeckyatgoodinside

Want to improve your relationship with your kid in less than 15 seconds? Watch this reel for a quick-win strategy. The best part: When we use strategies like this in calm moments, we reduce the frequency of difficult moments with our kids. Of course, I’m a realist… I know you need in-the-moment strategies too! Cue: My Conquering Problem Behaviors Workshop. You’ll get an entire toolbox of in-the-moment and outside-the-moment strategies for reducing outbursts and strengthening your bond with your kid. Learn more in the link in bio!

“I mean, imagine your boss coming to you randomly and asking how they could be a better manager to you. Just by asking the question and listening,” she continued. Dr. Becky says that asking our kids how we’re doing as parents communicates three essential ideas: “I care about you. I respect you. I'm invested in this relationship.”

This type of questioning builds a connection with a child that can spill over into other behaviors. “You're building connection. And with more connection always comes more cooperation,” she ends the video.

The big takeaway from the video is that when we enhance our connection with our kids, they will be less likely to disobey or be rude because they feel heard and respected, so there’s no need to act out. They will also return that respect by listening to you when you have a request, such as taking out the trash or putting down their phone and coming to dinner.

Some people in the comments got funny responses when they asked their kids what they could improve. “I asked my 5yr old. I got a mildly scathing look and she said ‘erm, maybe try and burn dinner less next time?’” Collette wrote. “My 5 yo told me to look better and get a haircut,” Mark Amend added.

Dr. Becky’s quick question is a great way for parents to strengthen their relationships when things are going well instead of trying to forge connections during conflict. It’s a great reminder that even when parenting, an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.

Dr. Becky sums up the importance of prevention in her TikTok caption: “When we use strategies like this in calm moments, we reduce the frequency of difficult moments with our kids,” she wrote.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

******No credits for pics*******

An intense look for an intense pasta?

Lately, art history majors have become something of a pop culture punching bag. Not only has the phrase become short-hand for "unemployable in today's economy," they've also been ridiculed by President Barack Obama on national television.

But will the gentle art of aesthetic study finally get the last laugh?


Middle Earth Organics is known for their organic pasta sauces, each label featuring a famous Italian painting.

While this would normally be an NBD, the painting they chose for their tomato and porcini mushroom sauce has been stirring up controversy online.

art history, art, culture

What you looking at?

******No credits for pics*******

The woman in the painting above is not staring with intense concentration at a pot of delicious, simmering sugo.

marketing, advertising, educational

Good evening. Hungry?

******No credits for pics*******

The image is "Judith Beheading Holofernes," a painting by Caravaggio. Judith, seen above, is not making an al dente delight. Judith is cutting off some dude's head.

As 11points.com noted, "That unfortunate painting selection could've been avoided if they'd just hired an art history major." You heard it here folks. Pasta sauce companies: the future of global arts employment.

Take a look at the art inspired lineup of sauces.

campaign, spaghetti sauce, community

The historical, tomato sauce line up.

******No credits for pics*******

This article originally appeared on 08.16.18

Education

A school assignment asked for 3 benefits of slavery. This kid gave the only good answer.

The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

A school assignment asked for 3 "good" reasons for slavery.



It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.

Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.

And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.

Trameka Brown-Berry was looking over her 4th-grade son Jerome's homework when her jaw hit the floor.

"Give 3 'good' reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons," the prompt began.

You read that right. Good reasons ... FOR SLAVERY.

Lest anyone think there's no way a school would actually give an assignment like this, Brown-Berry posted photo proof to Facebook.



In the section reserved for "good reasons," (again, for slavery), Jerome wrote, "I feel there is no good reason for slavery thats why I did not write."

Yep. That about covers it.

The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

The assignment was real. In the year 2018. Unbelievable.

The shockingly offensive assignment deserved to be thrown in the trash. But young Jerome dutifully filled it out anyway.

His response was pretty much perfect.

We're a country founded on freedom of speech and debating ideas, which often leads us into situations where "both sides" are represented. But it can only go so far.

There's no meaningful dialogue to be had about the perceived merits of stripping human beings of their basic living rights. No one is required to make an effort to "understand the other side," when the other side is bigoted and hateful.

In a follow-up post, Brown-Berry writes that the school has since apologized for the assignment and committed to offering better diversity and sensitivity training for its teachers.

But what's done is done, and the incident illuminates the remarkable racial inequalities that still exist in our country. After all, Brown-Berry told the Chicago Tribune, "You wouldn't ask someone to list three good reasons for rape or three good reasons for the Holocaust."

At the very end of the assignment, Jerome brought it home with a bang: "I am proud to be black because we are strong and brave ... "

Good for Jerome for shutting down the thoughtless assignment with strength and amazing eloquence.


This article originally appeared on 01.12.18

This isn’t comfortable to talk about.


Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault and violence.


A recent video by Just Not Sports took two prominent female sportswriters and had regular guys* read the awful abuse they receive online aloud.

Sportswriters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro sat by as men read some of the most vile tweets they receive on a daily basis. See how long you can last watching it.


*(Note: The men reading them did not write these comments; they're just being helpful volunteers to prove a point.)

It starts out kind of jokey but eventually devolves into messages like this:

reporters, news, human resources

Awful.

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

These types of messages come in response to one thing: The women were doing their jobs.

Those wishes that DiCaro would die by hockey stick and get raped? Those were the result of her simply reporting on the National Hockey League's most disturbing ordeal: the Patrick Kane rape case, in which one of the league's top players was accused of rape.

DiCaro wasn't writing opinion pieces. She was simply reporting things like what the police said, statements from lawyers, and just general everyday work reporters do. In response, she received a deluge of death threats. Her male colleagues didn't receive nearly the same amount of abuse.

It got to the point where she and her employer thought it best to stay home for a day or two for her own physical safety.

The men in the video seemed absolutely shocked that real live human beings would attack someone simply for doing their jobs.

broadcast news, female reporters, discrimination

Not saying it.

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

Most found themselves speechless or, at very least, struggling to read the words being presented.

hate speech, slander, sexualization

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

Think this is all just anecdotal? There's evidence to the contrary.

The Guardian did a study to find out how bad this problem really is.

They did a study of over 70 million comments that have been posted on their site since 2006. They counted how many comments that violated their comment policy were blocked.

The stats were staggering.

From their comprehensive and disturbing article:

"Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the 'top 10', one was Muslim and one Jewish.

And the 10 regular writers who got the least abuse? All men."
harassment, feminism, culture, community

If you can’t say it to their face... don’t type it.

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

So what can people do about this kind of harassment once they know it exists?

  1. To start? Share things that make people aware it's happening. Listen to the Just Not Sports podcast where they talk about it.
  2. If you know someone who talks like this to anyone on the internet, CALL THEM OUT. Publicly, privately — just let them know it's not OK to talk to anyone like this.
  3. Don't stop talking about it. Every day, the harassment continues. Don't let it linger without attention.

There are no easy answers. But the more people who know this behavior exists, the more people there will be to tell others it's not OK to talk to anyone like that.

Watch the whole video below:

.This article originally appeared on 04.27.16


Joy

7 things Black people want their well-meaning white friends to know

"You, white friend, need to speak up and say something when I can't."

Growing up black in a white neighborhood.

I grew up black in a very white neighborhood in a very white city in a very white state.

As such, I am a lot of people's only black friend.


Being the only black friend is a gift and a curse. I am black and I love having friends. But I am also, at any given moment, expected to be a translator, an ambassador, a history teacher, and/or a walking, talking invitation into "I am not racist" territory. It's a lot to handle. See what I mean about that curse?

So when I saw the animated short-film "Your Black Friend," I felt so seen. Clearly, I am not alone.

racism, friendship, equality, education

Don't get me wrong, my friends are awesome, just very white. Here are me and a few of my pixelated pals before a high school dance in the early 2000s.

Photo courtesy of the author.

The film, which was written, designed, and narrated by Ben Passmore and is based on his mini-comic of the same name, is a brilliant, refreshing way to examine whiteness and racism. The comic and animated short are an open-letter from "your black friend" to you, their well-meaning white friend, about bias, alienation, and what it means to be a good ally and friend.

It's funny, honest, and heartbreaking in equal measure. And speaking from personal experience, it captures the experience of being a black friend to white people pretty much perfectly.

So if you're a "woke" friend and ally, here are some things your black friend wants you to know.

1. You're going to have to get uncomfortable.

race, social issues, racism, bias

Animation depicting a racist joke that creates an awkward and upsetting space.

Silver Sprocket/YouTube

It could be something as obvious and upsetting as a racist joke. Or something as "benign" as your aunt suggesting you cross the street when she sees a group of black kids walking by. But either way, if you want to be a good friend and a real ally, you're going to have to speak up. You're going to have to have those tough conversations with people you care about.

It's not easy to confront strangers or people you love, but if you don't do it, you are part of the problem. Sitting out isn't an option. No one said being an ally is easy.

2. "Your black friend would like to say something to the racist lady, but doesn't want to appear to be that 'angry black man.'"

inequality, police, obedience, power dynamics

Biased situations that play out uncomfortably true.

Silver Sprocket/YouTube

"He knows this type of person expects that from him, and he will lose before he begins," Passmore says.

Black people can't always react or respond the way we want to. When I am followed in a department store, pulled over for no reason, or stared at while picking up dinner at the fancy grocery store, I can't stop what I'm doing and yell, "YES, I AM BLACK. NO, I AM NOT A CRIMINAL YOU SMALL-MINDED, BIASED ASSHOLES." Trust me, I want to. But especially when police are involved, I have to be calm, respectful, and obedient.

That's where you come in. You, white friend, need to speak up and say something when I can't. If you are not at risk, nor considered a threat, you have a certain amount of privilege in these situations. Use it to demand answers, speak to supervisors, or if things really get dicey, pull out your phone and hit record.

3. We are constantly monitoring our surroundings and adjusting our clothes, hair, speed, and speech to maintain white comfort.

privilege, cultural bias, police brutality, human rights

Friends may not realize the challenges in avoiding unwarranted confrontation.

Silver Sprocket/YouTube

We don't like it, but one small choice — like deciding whether or not to wear a hood, or the speed at which we reach into our glove box — can be the difference between life and death.

When I am in a parking garage and walking behind a white woman, I intentionally cough or walk a little louder so she turns and notices me.

Why? Because when I don't, that same white woman will often clutch her purse and occasionally let out an audible gasp as I pass her. This is something my white friends likely don't realize I have to do. Some of them may even be the pearl-clutchers in the parking lot.

But to maintain white comfort and to avoid having the cops called on us, we often have to tamp down clothes, modify our speech and volume, even do our hair differently. We have to have "the talk" with our kids about how the world sees them, and how act in order to make sure they come home alive.

No, it's not fair. No, we don't like it. But so long as this country and its institutions are built on a solid foundation of white supremacy, it's a grim reality. You need to know that, and take it up with your fellow white people about how to dismantle it.

4. "Your black friend wishes you'd play more than Beyoncé. There are more black performers than Beyoncé."

friendship, respect and curiosity, music appreciation

Taste isn't only derived from race and culture.

Silver Sprocket/YouTube

"Lemonade" was awesome. There is no denying it. And yes, I love seeing her iconic looks on Instagram too. But there is more to black music and black art than Beyoncé. Dip a toe outside your comfort zone and try new new artists and genres you may not be familiar with. Go listen, see it, and experience it for yourself.

And while we're here, you can't say the n-word when you sing along. Nope. You just can't.

5. Speaking of which, performative blackness is really uncomfortable.

Halloween, racism, cultural appropriation, costumes

Sometimes jokes and misguided appreciation is hurtful.

Silver Sprocket/YouTube

When you wear that braided wig on Halloween, or use your "blaccent" when you're around me or other black people, it hurts. It's not cute or charming, and it definitely doesn't make you seem cool.

Our culture and heritage are not costumes you can slide on and off at your convenience. We don't get to be black only when it suits us. Neither do you.

6. "Your black friend feels like a man without a country."

alienation, culture, heritage, pizza

Can we enjoy each others company without pointing out our differences.

Silver Sprocket/YouTube

Having white friends and seeming to "fit in" with the majority can feel really alienating. You can feel too "white" for black people, and too "black" for white people when all you want to do is find people to eat pizza with. As Passmore wrote, "He is lost in this contradiction, and held responsible for it."

7. We would love it if we could stop talking about our anxiety and frustrations regarding racism. But right now, that's impossible.

Our concerns are urgent and real. We're getting subpar health care. We're disenfranchised. We're over-policed. We're thrown in jail. We're killed by people sworn to protect us. It's exhausting, but we have to keep talking about it. So do you.

We can't be expected to dismantle white supremacy on our own.

Our white friends and allies need to step up and gather their people. Have the tough conversations. Speak up when you see racism, discrimination, and microaggressions. The time to talk about it is done. Be about it, or find yourself a new black friend.

Watch "Your Black Friend" in full and check out Passmore's book, "Your Black Friend And Other Strangers."


This article was written by Erin Canty and originally published on January 30, 2018.