A Black teen revisited a list of unwritten rules his mother instilled in him as a young boy for a new TikTok video.
As the nation protests against racial bias in law enforcement and police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd—the unarmed Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25—these rules for staying safe on a daily basis showed the different reality for Black people—especially Black men—in America more than ever.
Cameron Welch, 18, made a video in which he recited his mother's list of "don'ts" he had cumulatively memorized by the time he was 11, and captioned it with:
Welch's video has now gone viral with over 10.4 million views.
The extensive list he learned as a child for avoiding suspicion and surviving while out in public still applies for him today as a grown Black man.
– Don't put your hands in your pockets.
– Don't put your hoodie on.
– Don't be outside without a shirt on.
– Check in with your people, even if you're down the street.
– Don't be out too late.
– Don't touch anything you're not buying.
– Never leave the store without a receipt or a bag, even if it's just a pack of gum.
– Never make it look like there's an altercation between you and someone else.
– Never leave the house without your ID.
– Don't drive with a wifebeater [white tank top] on.
– Don't drive with a du-rag [head covering] 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.
– If you ever get pulled over, put your hands on the dashboard and ask if you can get your license and registration out.
WFAA CBS 8 of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas spoke to him about his video post.
Unwritten rules: The conversation black parents have to have with their sons youtu.be
Welch told the Huffington Post why he decided to share the codes of conduct many Black people in America think about on a daily basis.
"In this moment in our country, it was necessary for me to use my voice, so I put out the video."
"I wanted people to hear and understand the real truth of a Black man's daily experience."
One user commented on the unfairness of the rules just for staying alive.
"This isn't fair. White people need to realize just how privileged we are. we didn't have to worry about any of this! #blm."
Another user understood the reality of what it's like for Black people to go outside.
"It's said we have to follow a checklist to stay safe :(. This has meaning brotha."
People who have not experienced this reality were disheartened by the list.
Welch added that he hoped his video made enough of an impression for change.
"I want people to see that we need change and that no one should have to live like this."
We are listening, Cameron. And we see you.