#TrueBlackTales Trends — Here’s What I Learned Reading The Tweets
What’s behind #TrueBlackTales?
Rachel Dolezal has been making headlines in a strange tale that centers around her altering her appearance to represent herself as a black woman before taking an authoritative and representative position in a local NAACP chapter, and allegedly lying about at least some of the hate crimes she said she suffered. However, Twitter users are sick of explaining to people that changing one’s racial identity isn’t the same as being transgender, that Dolezal’s actions have caused harm, and that this isn’t a matter of the NAACP being ‘racist’ by not wanting white members — that the NAACP has white members and officers, and that’s no problem, but lies and misleading behavior are.
Instead of continuing to talk about this woman’s false tales, there’s a hashtag campaign to share true stories of discrimination and racism faced by people of color, under the hashtag #TrueBlackTales.
The tweets under the hashtag will make you cringe, shake your head, and, if you didn’t know it already, realize racism is not dead. You may find some things you’ve said yourself, without realizing what you were doing. You may merely be amazed at how common some of these behaviors, stereotypes, and treatments are.
These aren’t my stories, and I don’t take credit for them. I’ve merely listened, believed, and collected some of them together here for you — the ones below struck a nerve with me, and made me a little more aware of the extent of white privilege.
The hashtag seems to have started with writer Ijeoma Oluo:
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) June 16, 2015
One thing that really stands out in the tweets is that stereotypes of black people are so strong that, instead of seeing them as untrue, people will just assume they know all the black folks who are the exception to the rule.
Having all your white friends say "but you're not like most black people" #TrueBlackTales
— Tahjma VanBuren (@tahjmaadvocate) June 16, 2015
"You're the whitest black person I know! I mean, you like metal and everything!" #TrueBlackTales
— Hear Evil (@HearEvilNews) June 16, 2015
Speaking with eloquence, being perceived to be "not Black enough," and/or eliciting "You're so articulate" veiled language. #TrueBlackTales
— shaun davis (@veganshaun) June 16, 2015
Having people tell you "I didn't really like black people until I met you" or asking "How are you black?!" #TrueBlackTales
— susie carmichAel (@adannekaa) June 16, 2015
"I like you cause you're not like other black people" #TrueBlackTales
— A$AP Bambi (@Whatthefafunwa) June 17, 2015
"You're pretty cool for a black guy"… #TrueBlackTales
— Sir Quincy Blanton (@villain_503) June 17, 2015
"No, I didn't mean you, you're not black. You're great!" #TrueBlackTales
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) June 16, 2015
Incidentally, one of these stereotypes is that of the ‘mad black person’ — the tweets in the #TrueBlackTales timeline show just how frequently this stereotype disturbs someone’s life.
Afraid of expressing your emotions for fear of falling into the "mad black woman" stereotype. #TrueBlackTales
— ?Melanina (@morgzz23) June 17, 2015
#TrueBlackTales confessing to a manager you've had a crap morning only for human resources to have a quiet word w/you about anger management
— Avril E. Russell (@frontierwoman) June 17, 2015
Having to reassure white partners, friends, bosses, coworkers, classmates & strangers that disagreeing doesn't equal anger #TrueBlackTales
— Kieran (@QueeringPsych) June 17, 2015
There are a lot of other cringe-worthy ones, too.
Yes all my 5 siblings have the same parents married 50 yrs & my kids have the same father & yes I married before I had them #TrueblackTales
— Yoli Chisholm (@yolichisholm) June 17, 2015
Having to tell people you're not a rapper and know who your dad is… #TrueBlackTales
— Sir Quincy Blanton (@villain_503) June 17, 2015
"How do you wash your hair?" With shampoo "It always looks so neat." #TrueBlackTales
— cfletcher72 (@cfletch72) June 17, 2015
my teenage dgt 's white friend telling her tht "u ppl don't get lice because they need clean hair to get to the roots" Yes..#TrueBlackTales
— EastCoastMom (@JoyRainsDown) June 17, 2015
#TrueBlackTales – Handed store clerk my Visa Bankcard and the response was to tell me the "Food Stamp machine is not working."
— Love for Humanity (@RealSJW) June 17, 2015
An incredible number of people share experiences of someone assuming they are uneducated or only qualified for menial labor. It’s also clear that a sickening number of people assume that people of color only get into college and places of employment because of affirmative action.
"You only got a scholarship cuz you're black." No, it was my SAT score, GPA & 1,000 hours of community service. Nice try. #TrueBlackTales
— Amadi (@amaditalks) June 17, 2015
'You are so articulate and you have a college degree.' – said to me in a surprising tone by HR mgr during a job interview. #TrueBlackTales
— Angelia N. Levy (@angelialevy) June 17, 2015
"Oh? Surprising." Teacher's response when she learned my kid was n the 10% of applicants accepted 2 a nationally ranked HS. #TrueBlackTales
— ?phoeniXrising ? (@divalicious206) June 17, 2015
Even in acting, people feel the need to limit roles for people of color.
Seeing a young Black girl crying 'cause a director told her she could only 'realistically play a maid'. In 2015. #TrueBlackTales
— sonja parks (@miz_parks) June 17, 2015
Even very small children experience the results of racism, to a degree that might shock you, and should frighten you.
Ashamed I was relieved when drs said "it's a girl" after delivery. I don't know how to prepare a blk man for this society. #TrueBlackTales
— Leigh (@RichieLeigh) June 17, 2015
4yr old took toy gun outside. I yelled at him and told him cops shoot kids. #TrueBlackTales
— NERDthoughts (@iseeyouugly) June 17, 2015
Being shunned on the kindergarten playground cause white parents told their kids to stay away from black people #TrueBlackTales
— claudiaalick (@claudiaalick) June 17, 2015
Also, scrolling the #TrueBlackTales timeline, it becomes abundantly clear how frequently people demand that black folks stop talking about racism and shut up about their experiences.
Being told I'm "no fun" for being pissed off about racist jokes #TrueBlackTales
— Rawaw (@raulranma) June 17, 2015
I followed your Twitter account b/c I saw a tech speech you gave. Stop talking about race, keep it cool. #TrueBlackTales
— John Metta (@JohnMetta) June 17, 2015
Being asked for "verification of sources" when speaking about anti-black racism, as if I don't deal with it daily. #TrueBlackTales
— Darby Davis (@DarbzVibin) June 17, 2015
Being the angry black woman because I bring up race in the classroom during teacher meetings. #TrueBlackTales
— MisEducationofCmurph (@twistedmurphtc) June 16, 2015
being the only blck person in class to explain why Ferguson wasnt an overreaction&have everyone say im pulling the race card #TrueBlackTales
— ? Kota ? (@http_cybermom) June 17, 2015
If these #TrueBlackTales are shocking to you, you should check out the #TrueBlackTales timeline for many, many, many more — and listen, believe, change, and pass them on.