Over his 18 years, Cameron Welch picked up many lessons from his mom about how to stay safe. The Houston teen's TikTok featuring the “unwritten rules my mom makes me follow as a young black man” recently went viral, with more than 10 million views. It highlights the extra measures black people take to stay safe, which include:
- Don’t put your hands in your pockets.
- Don’t put your hoodie on.
- Don’t be outside with no shirt on.
- Check in with your people, it don’t matter 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 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 wife beater on.
- Don’t drive with a du rag on.
- Don’t go out in public with neither.
- Don’t ride with the music too loud.
- Don’t stare at a Caucasian woman.
- If a cop stops you randomly and starts questioning, don’t talk back, just compromise.
- If you ever get pulled over hands on the dash board and ask if you can get out your license and registration out.
Many said this sounded all too familiar and is a tragic reminder of the racism black people face.
“The fact our parents have to tell us this is sad. We have to do this just to go outside,” one person shared.
“Sad but true. Love for all my fellow black people,” yet another said.
Even tennis star Coco Gauff chimed in.
“Got this talk at 10 and my brothers at 8 and 6,” she shared.
This week, Gauff gave a speech at a protest in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida, and addressed broaching complicated topics.
“We must have the tough conversations with our friends. I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement,” she said.
Welch, who did not respond to a TODAY request for an interview, told BuzzFeed that he shared the list so others understand the tough chats he and his mom (and other black families) shared over the years.
“It is a required conversation our parents must have to ensure that we come home alive,” he told BuzzFeed.
Parents also admitted they feel despair that they have to have these talks, but know they're important.
“As a black mom of two, this is our unfortunate truth. We are fighting for you but (in) the meantime baby, listen to momma. Stay safe," a woman commented.
Welch told BuzzFeed that he hopes his message encourages meaningful changes in individuals and American society.
“Our voices are heard but not felt by the people. We endure too much pain and hurt to just be heard — we need you to feel just a fragment of what my people feel on a day-to-day basis in order to get meaningful change. I believe if you felt the bottled-up emotions of silence that our country makes us hold in, then we can make real change, because not one race should ever feel this way."