XOXO, Michael Brown

is Black History Month. Black History Month is a time for people of color, as well as those who are not of color, to reflect on the accomplishments of black America. As Americans, we often overlook all the things that black people have done for this country. As a country, we have come so far yet we still have so far to go. Today, black men still seem to be the number one target of police brutality and arguments around the Black Lives Matter movement are at an all-time high. Today, we wanted to use our platform to tell you some things that are happening that are bothering us.

Don’t touch my hair.

I’d rather not be “petted” like an animal just because you observed that my hair texture is different from yours. It’s fine to admire my coils from a distance, but most of the time, your hands are an inch away from my scalp before you’re two words into the question. The answer is no. You cannot touch my hair. My hair is naturally this beautiful and there’s no need for any outside interference.

Stop asking me if my dad is in my life.

I used to have a boss back home who would always ask me if my dad was in my life when she found out that I was biracial and that I lived with my mother. It was the most annoying thing ever. Unfortunately, men of color have this stereotype of not being good fathers. This is not always the case in every situation. There are plenty of great black dads out there. Please stop assuming that mine isn’t one of them. My dad has always been there for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better parent. I have so much respect for the black man that I call my dad.

PLEASE do not think it is okay for you to use the N word. Ever.

Saying the N word doesn’t make you sound cool, it makes you sound inconsiderate. How do you expect to connect with me by using a term that dehumanizes my people? I’m not sure what kind of impression you’re trying to make on us, but it’s a no for me. What attracts you to the term, better yet, what possess you to use it around black people? Regardless, we’re not trying to hear it.

Do not underestimate me, I can do anything that you can.

Anything you can do I can do better. Black women are the number one educated group in America. Yet, it’s so often thought that people of color, especially those who have darker skin, aren’t capable of accomplishing the same things as those who are white and that is not the case. Black is beautiful. My fellow people of color, always remember to out-work yourself. Your biggest competition is yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t let the negative opinions of others bring you down.

In case you didn’t know, being pro-black does not mean that I am anti-white.

Dear white people, let us have our month. It’s the shortest month of the year. When you hear “Black Lives Matter” it doesn’t mean that white lives or Latino lives don’t matter. The term “Black Lives Matter” just means that black lives matter too.

Michael Brown can be contacted at [email protected]

Kabrea James can be contacted at [email protected]