The new rules for black people in America

Black people are supposed to fight to be considered human.

Black people are supposed to fight to have our deaths matter.

Black people are supposed to fight to make it so that if we are strangled to death or our 12-year-olds are shot while unarmed in front of millions of viewers, it should be considered a violation of the law.

Black people are supposed to fight legally, using the channels that declare these killings “not that bad” in the first place.

Black people are not supposed to disrupt traffic, or group together in public spaces.

Black people are not supposed to inconvenience Christmas shoppers.

Black people are not supposed to get angry.

Black people are not supposed to break things.

Black people are not supposed to mess up property.

Black people are not supposed to yell.

Black people are not supposed to get emotional.

Black people are not supposed to post too frequently on Facebook or Twitter.

Black people are not supposed to be social justice warriors.

Black people are not supposed to demonstrate during sporting events.

Black people are not supposed to use our hard won positions of power to express our true frustrations or fears.

Black people are not supposed to help each other.

Black people are not supposed to make people feel uncomfortable or threatened or left out.

Black people are not supposed to say “Black people” too much.

Candles are seen at the memorial of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014. Garner, who was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, died after New York police put him in a chokehold. The cause of Garner's death is still being determined by the city's medical examiner.
(Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

Black people are supposed to complete feats of incredible athleticism.

Black people are supposed to invent clothes, music, culture, slang, and styles that everyone can adopt and make money from.

Black people are supposed to entertain and crack jokes.

Black people are supposed to explain to the world calmly and in a friendly way why we are upset.

Black people are supposed to have plenty of friends of all races.

Black people are not supposed to paint with a broad brush.

Black people are not supposed to say that Black Lives Matter.

Black people are supposed to be like Martin Luther King. But only the paper version preserved in mythology. Not the version who was angry and ready to fight, not the version who understood why riots are necessary. Not the version that had a PhD and was wearing a suit with his pants pulled all the way up and got shot in the face anyway.

Black people are supposed to solve the problem of racism ourselves in a way that is comfortable for everyone else.

Black people are supposed to do it alone.

Black people are supposed to recognize that only a small percentage of white people are avowed racists.

Black people are supposed to recognize that only a small percentage of white people are avowed anti-racists.

Black people are supposed to wonder where everyone else stands.

Black people are supposed to get over slavery.

Black people are supposed to get over lynchings.

Black people are supposed to get over Jim Crow.

Black people are supposed to get over COINTELPRO.

Black people are supposed to get over it.

Black people are not supposed to get over.

Follow Carvell on Twitter @carvellwallace. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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