I follow an excellent YouTube channel, the1janitor. You should all check it out, he is funny and clever, and he talks about big stuff and small stuff, and generally is a good channel to watch.
However, his skin is darker than mine. This makes him almost impossible to talk about without offending people. Mostly other light skinned people.
Me: (showing his videos to a friend): I wish Kevin was my brother. We seem to agree on the big things but disagree on the details, so he would be fun to argue with, and he is smart so he could teach me things, while being strong so he could like… help build tree houses and stuff.
Her: It is tacky when white people use the word ‘brother’ like that, don’t do it.
Me: I.. what?
Her: Just say friend. 'Brother’ is an honorary term between People of Colour, you should just say friend.
Me: No, I mean, I wish he was my older brother. As in… like.. family.
Her: Well that’s not any better, You’re disregarding his entire cultural background and dismissing it as not part of who he is, if he grew up in your family he wouldn’t be him.
Me: well, no, but surely that’s true about everyone though. I said I wish Neil Patrick Harris was my brother last week, but it would obviously have the same effect. But never mind, I don’t really wish he was my brother. I just meant he is cool.
Her: Well it was offensive.
Me: To you?
Her: It would be to a Person of Colour.
Me: …. Wouldn’t it be cool if The1Janitor was my brother? I’m sure he could tell us if it was offensive.
She just sighed.
There is no point to this post except to express a general exasperation, and to let you all know you should check out his channel on YouTube, and subscribe if you like his hair.
(Also, PS. I am really sorry if it was offensive.)
(PPS. I have now googled whether or not it is offensive to say “he is black”. I am still unsure, so have changed it into “his skin is darker than mine”.)
(PPS. Have now altered “white people” into “light skinned people”.)
(PPPS. Have a sneaking suspicion that Tumblr is dragging me into its crazy.)