A Texas teenager has received a massive response to his TikTok video that chronicles his mother’s “unwritten rules” to follow as a young black man.
Cameron Welch, an 18-year-old Houston resident, shared a insightful clip on his social media just days after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
“Don’t put your hands in your pockets,” Welch said flatly in the video. “Don’t put your hoodie on. Don’t be outside with no shirt on,” he says at the start of the clip. “Check in with your people; it don’t matter even if you’re down the street. Don’t be out too late.”
His list of the innocuous-but-strategic rules on TikTok has been viewed more than 8 million times. The teenager adds that especially in a store he has to be careful, noting that he must keep his receipt after a purchase “even if it’s just a pack of gum.” He also said his mother told him not to touch any items unless he intends to buy them.
»MORE: Who was George Floyd?
Here are some of the other rules instilled upon Welch from his mother:
– Never leave the house without your ID.
– Don't drive with a wifebeater on.
– Don’t drive with a du-rag on.
– Don’t go out in public with a wifebeater or a du-rag.
– Don’t ride with the music too loud.
– Don’t stare at a Caucasian woman.
– If a cop stops you randomly and starts questioning you, don’t talk back, just compromise.
Though Welch said he follows the rules religiously, he told Buzzfeed the reason the rules are in place is rooted in the racism that continues to persist in America.
“I want people to understand the type of things my mom has to instill in me because my people continue to be judged by the color of our skin and not the content of our character, as Martin Luther King Jr. said. It is a required conversation our parents must have to ensure that we come home alive.”
Black mothers across the country have spoken out since Floyd’s death, acknowledging the challenges, pain and grief associated with raising black children. The shooting deaths of black young people including Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice are examples of tragedies that have made these rules a common practice.
Kelly Glass, a mother of two black boys, told Vox the last few months of quarantining with her sons have been a blessing. The circumstances have meant she did not have to worry about the public potentially criminalizing her sons.
“I almost resented the way that white parents spoke of self-isolation with such grief,” she said, referring to the stay-at-home orders. “It reminded me that as a Black mother, I’ve always been acutely aware of the dangers in this world that are out there for my children just for existing.”
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