Don't Call Me Sis: A Must-Read About Social Boundaries by Whitney Alese

I often tell people, especially my friends from other countries, that Black people and white people in the United States have two different realities. We live in two different worlds and have two different cultures. The differences are deeper than simply differences in aesthetics, music, dress, food, etc. In many ways we have a different worldviews and different values, birthed from different cultural seeds. Black and white people in America have extremely different life experiences. Our society is built upon a history of subjugation of one group of people by the other.

As were those of our African ancestors, the African American community is a high context culture where community connection is paramount. We operate largely as a collective and there are many cultural tethers ingrained in our collective consciousness that keep our individual identities intertwined to that of the larger community in ways that are contrary to white America’s concepts of hyper-individuality.

Our sense of connectedness to community is reflected in our language. African American Vernacular English (AAVE) evolved out of our experience as enslaved peoples in America and when spoken conveys much of what can’t be said out loud. The term “Sis” is such a word. It is used to convey the deep bond Black women share to each other as sisters. Even when we are strangers, even if we don’t like each other as individuals, are truly sisters united through a shared struggle, through a shared pain, and through a shared sense of collective conscience and purpose.

The following article by Whitney Alese puts forth an interesting discusses of this issue.

User Bratt4U made a simple video. They recorded a video saying “If you’re white, don’t call me sis. Point black period.” Their request was met, not with understanding or respect, but by immediate…
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