The Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable White People

By Michael Harriot

Too often we get so mired in the morass of the Iggy Azaleas and Rachel Dolezals of the world that we sometimes forget about one of the most pleasurable and appealing subsets of the Caucasian population:

Cool-Ass White Dudes.

Everyone has known one or more cool-ass white people. If not, you’re either one of those angry, negative people who no one likes to be around, or you are on the verge of Stage 5 irreversible Hotepness. As with all things, nature and the universe provide balance. For every insensitive, racist person surfing through society on privilege and white supremacy, there exists a White person who is a genuinely considerate and caring human being.

Well… maybe the ratio isn’t 1:1, but my point is, instead of concentrating on assholes, we should be studying the nature of cool-ass white people and what makes them so enjoyable so we can use it to multiply their numbers. Today, we present a scientific examination of the tendencies of the White people who Black people enjoy being around.

1. They’re White – While this seems obvious, this is probably the number one habit of a cool-ass White dude–they’re White and they know they’re White. Nothing is more infuriating than the Caucasian who tries to identify with you by slipping into ebonics-laden slang and an “urban” demeanor in order to ingratiate themselves to you. Cool ass white people say “hi” and give firm handshakes instead of trying to dap you up while uttering “what’s up, my man?” This is called reverse code-switching, and is one of the most insulting and annoying things a White person can do–as if Black people speak a foreign language or are a different animals species. It is the equivalent of speaking baby-talk to a grown man or trying to communicate with a dog by barking. The cool-ass white people understand that Black people live, work and exist in a White world, so there is no need to talk down to them. Plus, the greatest indication of a real, genuine human being is that they are always true to themselves. Cool ass white dudes don’t try to impress you by talking about the new Young Thug album or the latest episode of Empire. They ask if you like the Dave Matthews band and engage you in deep discussions about Game of Thrones. A friend once bought me a Led Zeppelin CD for Christmas, and all I could think was “he’s one of the coolest White people I know” as I was throwing it into the trash can.

It’s the thought that counts.

2. They aren’t afraid of Black people – White people will jump out of a plane with a kite strapped to their backs just to see if it will work, but are afraid to drive through a Black neighborhood. But cool-ass White people aren’t afraid of temporary minority status. My college roommate wanted to “support me” so he came to a step show and my fraternity’s after party and he still says that is the most fun he’s ever had. You have to be careful with what you expose them to, though, because centuries of privilege has robbed some white people of their ability to sense danger. I left my friend alone for a few minutes at that party and returned to find him trying to step like a Que, barking and throwing up the Omega sign. I had to sneak him out of there like I was Harriet Tubman.

3. They ask stupid questions – Cool-ass White dudes don’t ask offensive questions, but they’ll ask stupid ones. I know some people believe that there are no stupid questions, or that the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask, but because most enjoyable White people don’t prejudge you based on your race, they tend to treat you like their white friends. If your white friend is about to go on a rant about Republicans, but pauses to ask if you’re a Trump supporter, she might not be joking. She might just be cool. While having breakfast recently, a nice white lady asked me what kind of jelly I wanted. I almost said “I’m Black. You know I want grape,” but I didn’t.

I’m just kidding.

You know I said it.

4. They don’t pretend to understand – Have you ever been in a conversation about race with a White person and they tried to one-up you by telling you how they went to an all-black middle school or how they were picked on by the Black kids at their basketball camp that one summer? When someone tries to do that to me, I refrain from explaining to them that that is simply a fucked-up thing that happened to them one time and is akin to telling a person suffering the effects from chemotherapy for terminal cancer, “Yeah man, I know how it is. I had a stomach virus in 1998 and I was soooo  nauseous.. For three days, I thought I was going to die.” In fact cool-ass white people get a little uncomfortable talking about race because they know they don’t know how it feels and they dislike racist people as much as you do. Usually they just listen and then try to switch the conversation back to Game of Thrones. As a male, I can’t understand the helplessness and feeling of being violated when women talk about rape or sexual assault. It makes me simultaneously uneasy and angry, so I don’t try to equivocate about it as if I have any sympathetic knowledge.

5. They appropriate  culture… CORRECTLY – Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for Black people there would be no American culture. The only dances would be the chicken dance and the robot. All the music in bars would be classical European chamber songs. Have you ever tried to holla at a woman to Baroque cello music and ask her if she wanted to join you on the dance floor to do the Robot? Cool White people know how to let the culture inspire them without  sucking the soul out of it. The Rolling Stones is essentially a blues band, but they didn’t just imitate B.B. King–they let it inspire them to make something that appeals to their whiteness. We don’t mind you borrowing from us, but don’t act like you created it. That’s why people think Mick Jagger is a cool-ass white dude. It’s why Black people like Eminem but hate Iggy Azalea. It’s why nobody liked Jar Jar Binks. Wait… You know Jar Jar was a racist caricature, wigger, right? Well, technically his species was Gungan, which, I guess, makes him a “Gigger.”

6. They don’t have Black friends – One of their best friends are never Black. They don’t live next to a nice Black couple. They simply have friends. They just live next to neighbors. One of the hallmarks of cool-ass white people is that they don’t treat you like you’re a Black person. They treat you like a person. I used to work and travel with one of the Whitest guys in the known Universe, (he was so white, it took me an entire summer to teach him the Electric Slide). During some weeks we would literally spend 24 hours a day together. After about a year of working together he invited me to a barbecue where I met his wife, who told me her husband talked about me all the time, but until she met me, she never knew I was Black. That was one cool-ass dude.

7. They are not Allies – There is a difference between a White friend and a white “ally.” I can’t tolerate a White ally for more than 6 minutes and 11 seconds at a time. Anything more than that causes my neck to itch. White allies think they are “friends” to Black people, but they usually are just self-righteous, uber-liberals wearing $300 sandals with sore arms from constantly patting themselves on the back for “speaking out” about some form of oppression that Black people really don’t care about. White allies are really just Caucasian Hoteps. True White friends don’t paint themselves as saviors of the poor, wretched and urban, they just think you’re “awesome,” and become your friend. (By the way, cool-ass white people love the word “awesome.” In fact, I don’t trust white people who don’t use that word. When white people invite me anywhere, I assume it’s a trap to lure me to an isolated place to tie me up and offer me as their White Supremacist Secret Society yearly negro sacrifice. But if I tell them I’ll come, and they follow with the one word sentence, “Awesome” then I know it’s safe.)

To the people who have a cool white friend, hold on to them. Treasure them. Watch Game of thrones with them and listen to LED Zeppelin and pretend you like it. After all, they pretend they like seasoning on their food when they come visit you.

Cool-Ass White Dude, we salute you. You’re awesome.


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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