Friday, June 22, 2018

Books: D.L. Hughley On "How Not To Get Shot"

How Not To Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People
By D.L. Hughley and Doug Moe
William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, $25.99, available Tuesday, June 26

Race relations have come to the forefront of American consciousness in the last decade, from the elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump to the tragic events of Ferguson and Charlottesville.

Legendary comedian and activist D.L. Hughley has never shied away from discussing race relations, and in his new book, How Not To Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People, he offers his cutting observations on this contentious issue that continues to traumatize the nation.

Hughley went on Megan Kelly's Fox News show back in 2016 to discuss the killing of Philando Castile, and the debate turned fiery when it was suggested that if a black man had just followed police orders, he wouldn't have ended up dead.

D.L. Hughley
That crystallized an idea in Hughley's mind, as he writes here, "White people are always giving out 'helpful' advice, such as: 'Comply with the police and you won't get shot.' They've been doling out advice to black people since 'I suggest you pick the cotton if you don't like getting whipped.' Not getting shot by the police has long been a problem for black people. Even when we had a black president! Now that we have a new set of overlords, with President Trump at the head, wouldn't it be nice to get a little advice on how not to get shot?"

How Not To Get Shot is written in Hughley's inimitable voice and filled with illustrations and pictures that illuminate these "lessons." This is a much needed antidote in these tough times, and is sure to be a major topic as we continue on through the Trump administration.

Here, Hughley gives advice on how to interact with cops:

"In a way, talking to police is just a little bit of involuntary small talk. It's one of those things that white excel at: chit-chat. But with, you know, slightly higher stakes.

"I couldn't get Miss Manners on the phone, but that's fine. That's why I have the internet. I did a quick google search on 'HJow to make small talk' to get some pointers for us. This shit looks as good or better than if I had laid out money for an 'expert.' Here's eight tips:

1. 'Look approachable and friendly.'
"At a party, you might hope that someone wants to talk to you, so you want to seem friendly and approachable. Here, the cop is approaching you whether or not you seem approachable. It's not exactly the same, but try to be friendly! When you've been hassled by cops a bunch of times, you might not feel very friendly, but think about what happens to unfriendly black people.

2. 'Seem open nonverablly before you start talking.'
"Not in a way that says 'I'm drunk' or 'too high to talk.' And not in a nonverbal way that makes it seem like you might not speak English, or that might make them think you're a Mexican that should be kicked out of the country. Nonverbal in a 'I don't want to waste your time' way. Nonverbal in an 'I'm innocent' way. Don't seem like you don't want to talk. You do! Try to seem relaxed and happy to eventually start talking.
"Seeming irritated and 'knowing your rights' can come across as not very 'open.'

3. 'Open with a small interaction.'
"Huh. Well at a cocktail party, you might say something like 'Man, this bar is slammed tonight.' But that'd probably be the wrong thing to say to a cop....In a way, rolling down your window is already a small interaction. Yeah. Give yourself credit for this one. Good job!

4. 'Introduce yourself.'
"Showing your license and registration may not be the way you'd like to introduce yourself, but you probably have to. That's usually introduction enough.

5. 'Ask open-ended questions.'
"Okay, I think this isn't really applicable. Not everything from the Internet is going to work.

6. 'Ask the person to explain something to you.'
"Like 'Why the fuck am I being pulled over?' Okay, actually skip this one, too.

7. 'Don't be afraid to disagree.'
"Skip this.

8. 'Stick to safe topics.'
"Like ending the conversation as soon as possible.

"Okay, that's probably enough free advice from the Web - yo get what you pay for. Next time I'll spring for an expert.

"At a party, you might end up getting someone's number. But if you mess up this bit of small talk with a cop, your number may be up."

With the help of co-author and fellow comedian Doug Moe, Hughley sardonically gives advice on these lessons as well:
  • How to make cops feel more comfortable while they're handcuffing you.
  • The right way to wear a hoodie
  • How not to come from a single-parent household
  • What to name your kids
  • How to make white food (like lobster rolls)
  • A guide to the ten types of white people you meet in the suburbs
Hughley does an excellent job of using his comedic talent to get his points across on a very sensitive topic, and he succeeds. This is as informed an analysis on race relations as anybody has had recently.

No comments:

Post a Comment