+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy
Joy

Five Gen X values from the ’90s that can save today’s world

We're bringing "whatever" back.

1990s, gen x, '90s values

A mix tape from 1992.

A few weeks ago I came across an article about a kid who watches television at 1.5x speed so he can cram as much viewing in as he can. It seemed that his unquenchable desire to get through shows in the Golden Age of television meant he’d sacrifice the entertainment value of the show just to get to the end.

“Man, this guy would have been crucified in 1993,” I thought.

As a 45-year-old card-carrying member of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1979), I remembered a time when nobody bragged about the amount of TV they watched. In fact, they bragged about not owning a TV. “I don't watch TV, man,” people would say. “It only exists to sell you stuff.”

This complete reversal on the social acceptance of gluttonous TV viewing made me wonder what happened to the values we were raised on as Gen Xers? We were taught that sincerity was for simpletons, everything corporate is evil, old school is always better than the latest and greatest, authenticity is king, conformity is death and there is nothing worse than being a sell-out or a poser.


Nobody would have ever referred to themselves as an “influencer” in 1991—that’s the definition of a sell-out.

“After writing this book, I’m back in the mindset of ’90s thinking, which is that nothing is worse than selling out,” Chuck Klosterman, author of “The Nineties: A Book,” told Esquire. “Nothing was more embarrassing in the ’90s than trying to convince people to like the thing you made."

Deep inside the heart of almost every Gen Xer is a deep-seated feeling of nihilism. We didn’t trust the corporations that laid off our parents or gutted their pensions in the ’80s. In fact, everything corporate was predatory. We didn’t have a lot of faith in family values because we were the first generation raised by single parents or in daycare. We didn’t care much about politics either. Back in the ’90s, Gen X’s aversion to politics was historic.

Of course, these are all generalities about a generation of nearly about 65 million people, but studies show that there are some definite hallmarks of being a Gen Xer.


According to a generational differences document circulated through the business community, Gen X’s core values are “skepticism,” “fun” and “informality.” They’re described as “self-reliant,” “independent,” “unimpressed with authority” and motivated by “freedom.”

In the young Gen Xer, the culture of the era “instilled a wariness and skepticism, and a kind of ‘figure it out for yourself’ mindset,” Paul Taylor, author of “The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown” told The Washington Post. And with that came a sense “that you don’t have to shine a light on yourself. You’re not the center of the universe.”

But things have changed since the ’90s when Gen X was coming of age. We live in an American culture that is fractured by political partisanship, fueled by a constant culture of outrage, crippled by a preoccupation with technology, plundered by greedy boomers and annoyed by overly sensitive millennials. All of this is happening while we face the greatest challenge of our times, climate change.

The answer to all of these problems is simple: admit that Gen X at one point had it right and if we followed its lead, we could reverse these terrible trends. OK, it might not fix all of our woes, but the way things are going now surely aren’t working. Plus, weren’t the ’90s great?

Also, with hat in hand, I must admit that this message is for Gen Xers as well. Many of us have lost our way by forgetting our disdain for authority and skepticism toward institutions. This is a call for us to remember what we once stood for and to fight back by doing what we do best—staying above the fray.

Gen X, it’s time to strap on your Dr. Martens boots and get back to fighting the “Battle of Who Could Care Less.” It’s time we collectively got our “whatever” back and showed the other generations how powerful dismissiveness can be.

Here are the top five Gen X values that we need to embrace again.

5.  Buying vintage items

Nothing was less hip in the early ’90s than wearing mall clothes. If you had any style you shopped at a thrift store and bought used duds from the ’70s and early ’80s and remixed them into something awesome. If you were into hip-hop or skating you shopped at the surplus store and rocked some super-durable Dickies or Carhartt gear. The mood of the times was totally anti-fashion. These days, we live in a world where fast fashion is killing the environment. By embracing the Gen X value of old-school cool, we can help the planet while looking much more fashionable in the process.

4. Corporate skepticism

In the early 2000s, people fell head-over-heels in love with smartphone technology and social media so quickly that nobody stopped and said, “Hey, wait a minute!” Now, we have a world where kids are depressed, the culture has become divided and nobody talks to each other in public anymore, they just stare at their phones. I can totally understand why young millennials and Luddite boomers would fall for the big-tech ruse, but sadly, Gen X was asleep at the wheel and fell victim, too. The generation that embraced the notion that TV rotted your brain needs to remind everyone to go outside and play in the sunshine or read a book. And if you read a book it should be by Bret Easton Ellis.

3. Just say “whatever”

Two of the most popular Gen X phrases were “whatever” and “talk to the hand (because the face don’t give a damn).” These may seem to be flippant responses but they are the correct way to deal with other people’s nonsense and in 2022, we have to deal with a constant barrage of it.

Somewhere along the way, people forgot that it’s even more powerful to ignore someone than to admit they got under your skin. In the world of social media, we unintentionally amplify the most wretched voices by subtweeting, commenting and liking the posts from the army of grifters fighting for our attention.

We also live in an era where many seem to be addicted to outrage. The quickest way to stop fanning the flames of outrage is with a simple, “whatever.” Like dogs distracted by squirrels, we’ve got our heads on outrage swivels these days. Throwing around the occasional “whatever” gives us the time and energy to focus on the problems that really matter and take action.

These days “whatever” matters more than ever.

2. Bring back snobbery

Good taste used to matter. In the 2000s, millennials decided that people have the right to like what they like and that it’s worse to judge someone’s personal taste than to have bad taste. Gen Xers based their entire personalities on taste and demanded integrity from artists and were rewarded by living in a time of superior films and music. These days, no one listens to new music and we’re stuck in a world dominated by comic book movies because no one stood up and shamed people for liking low-effort culture.

1. ​Political apathy

America’s political divide has calcified over the past decade because more and more people are basing their personal identities on their politics. This has created a culture where the dialog between liberals and conservatives has become a shouting match that only makes people dig their heels in further. It’s also created a culture in Washington, D.C. that has attracted a more debased form of politician and led to the gridlock that has halted any sense of progress. Sadly, Gen X has also been sucked into this vortex.

Things were a lot different in the ’90s. Back in 1999, Ted Halstead at The Atlantic noted that Xers “appear to have enshrined political apathy as a way of life.” He added that Gen Xers “exhibit less social trust or confidence in government, have a weaker allegiance to their country or to either political party.”

Compared to what’s going on in America in 2022, this type of apathy seems welcome. Back in the ’90s, taking a “chill pill” could solve everything. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone took one, and then we could open our ears and hearts and have some constructive discussions?

There was a common lament in the 1980s that the boomer hippies had sold out and became boomer yuppies. They went from being concerned with peace, love and the planet to stocks, bonds and conspicuous consumption. Gen X is now in its 40s and 50s and it’s fair to say that we've moved from being the outsiders to creating technological and political machines that are generating the type of conformity that we once railed against.

Now that Xers are at the age where we get to run the world for a few decades, it’s time to recommit to the core values that make us well … us. The great news is that as Gen Xers, it’ll be easy to get back to our roots because we were raised to ironically love the past.


This article originally appeared on 03.10.22

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

His message is making so many SAHMS feel seen.

Stay-at-home moms work round the clock performing myriad duties, both physically and emotionally demanding, all for zero compensation. But even more dismaying than the lack of monetary gain is the lack of recognition these full-time moms get for what they accomplish day in and day out.

That’s where Donald Schaefer comes in.

Schaefer, a man who seems to be upwards of 80 and living in Florida, is a bit of an unexpected influencer in the mom corner of social media. But nonetheless, his Instagram and TikTok are full of videos meant to offer financial tips, recipe ideas and emotional support specifically for this demographic.

One video in particular is making stay-at-home moms, aka SAHMs, feel so seen.


In his “special message to stay-at-home moms,” Schaefer offers SAHMS the rare gift of being told what an “incredible job” they’re doing, saying that their “dedication, hard work and love are the cornerstones of your family’s well being.”

Watching his daughters and granddaughters with kids, Schaefer says that he’s “amazed” at what accomplished every day, and because of that, he was inspired to remind all SAHMS that “what you’re doing matters immensely.”

“Sometimes in the midst of the chaos of daily routines and endless chores it’s easy to forget how important your role is, but every meal cooked, every scraped knee kissed, every bedtime story read, it all adds up to shaping the future generation,” he said.

@magicman1942 Special message for the stay at home moms. #stayathomemom #personalgrowth #inspiration #stayathomemomstruggle #workingmom #personal ♬ original sound - Don

Schaefer went on to say that it’s “perfectly normal” to get overwhelmed or exhausted with all the responsibilities and isolation that come with the job. That’s what makes self care so necessary.

“Whether it’s stealing a few moments for yourself during nap time, indulging in a hobby you love, or simply just taking a relaxing bath at the end of the day if you can find the time. Prioritize your well being,” he urged.

He then encouraged SAHMs to carve out moments to celebrate the small victories and appreciate the joys of motherhood, whether that looks like “a successful day of homeschooling” or “simply seeing your little one smile.”

Finally, Schaefer brought it all home by reiterating that even if it doesn't always feel like it, a SAHM’s value is “immeasurable.”

“Trust me. You are the heart and soul of your family and your efforts create a warm and nurturing environment where everyone can thrive. Keep shining your light and know that you are appreciated, loved and admired more than you’ll ever know. You’re doing an amazing job, and the world is a better place because of you,” he concluded.

Understandably, viewers were moved.

“Made me tear up!! What man takes the time to encourage moms? None I’ve known. Thank you,” one person wrote.

“This definitely made me cry,” another echoed. “Thank you for such kind words and taking the time to make this video. It touched my heart so much.”

One commented, “I’m not even a SAHM, and I still felt this! ALL moms can relate I think…thank you sir!”

And still, another simply wrote, “Needed this.”

For every SAHM (or any stay-at-home parent, for that matter) may these kind words help bolster your spirit, and remind you that what you do is important indeed. You deserve that, and so much more.

For more of Schaefer's content, find him on Instagram and TikTok.

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.