Across the nation, families are having conversations about white supremacy and how it has meant that so many generations of Black children have had to abide by stricter rules than white kids do, because the penalty for forgetting an unwritten rule could be death.
That’s the conversation 18-year-old Cameron Welch is having on TikTok, where he posted a moving video about how he started memorizing a list of rules his mom gave him when he was younger. These rules were meant to protect him when he left the house and they are probably rules that white mothers and children don’t have to think about.
He reads his rules into the camera: “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. Always have a receipt when you leave the store. Never make it look like there’s an altercation between you and someone else.”
Young black man shares his mother’s unwritten rules l GMA Digital
“Never leave the house without your ID. Don’t drive with a wife-beater on. Don’t ride with the music too loud. Don’t stare at a Caucasian woman.”
Welch’s video has gone viral, and he’s reached an audience far beyond the teens of TikTok.
“I talked about the unwritten rules my mom makes me follow on a day-to-day basis,” Welch explained during an interview, with Houston’s KHOU-11. “so I can come back to her safe … We all have that talk from our parents. It’s just being cautious of things that people normally do that we just can’t do.”
“I think about my future all the time,” he explained. “I hope one day I don’t have to teach my kids this. I hope one day my kids will be able to grow up in an environment where they’re all treated equally. And I just want to bring change.”
This teen is bringing change, and if we all do that he won’t have to teach his future children these rules.