Eighteen year old Cameron Welch posted this Tik Tok video in May 2020 on the heels of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of police in Minnesota. In the video, which seems to be shot in Welch’s bedroom, he speaks directly to the camera, listing 16 instructions his mother has him follow every time he leaves the house. On the post, he explains, “Jus some unwritten rules my mom makes me follow as a young black man #fyp #blacklivesmatter.” The post, which garnered over 3 million views, led to news coverage. In an interview with the Huffington Post he commented, “In this moment in our country, it was necessary for me to use my voice, so I put out the video. I wanted people to hear and understand the real truth of a Black man’s daily experience.”
What types of “unwritten rules” are on Cameron Welch’s list? Why does he call them “unwritten”?
What made it necessary for Cameron to have a list like this? And why do you think he was motivated to share it with the world after George Floyd’s killing?
How does the list give us insight about the ways black bodies, especially Black male bodies, are surveilled and policed? Do you think that this kind of surveillance changes based on someone’s class, occupation, status?
Why do you think this post went viral? Do you agree with Cameron that it’s necessary for people to use their voices to explain daily experiences and the unwritten (unseen) rules they have to follow?