…tagram’s hashtag #Blackmensmiling beams with the faces of Black men in spite of a world against us. The demand to smile is implicit when entering public spaces to make White people feel safe and unthreatened. Not doing so jeopardizes our safety resulting in police calls — solely out of anxiety and fear — , aggression, denial of service, racial profiling, or even job termination. Forced contortion of our faces to accommodate White anxiety is White supremacy.
Brandon Keith Brown
As a black woman I feel the same way. Smiling is required. When I was a bartender, during college, I was required to smile and those who did not want to were called “difficult, moody, strange, unlikeable”. Those black women had less days on their schedule and were told no to any simple request for time off or assistance. Too often we are asked to smile to disarm people who think of us as a threat inherently. They practically pander for submission.