As a toddler, Alex Pierce was not allowed to play with toy weapons or something that resembled them. Even Nerf guns had been off limits.
“My mother was tremendous strict about that,” recollects Pierce, an affiliate artistic director at Hawkeye, an company primarily based in Dallas. “On the time, I used to be so upset about it. As an grownup, I understood what she was doing.”
Pierce is one in all a number of creators behind “Unwritten Guidelines,” an online encyclopedia of 12 methods wherein racism manifests in Black folks’s lives, usually forcing them to stick to an unstated code of conduct.
“Black lives are managed by an unwritten rule e book,” the positioning reads. Rule No. 1? Don’t play with toy weapons. Others embody “by no means go away residence with out an ID,” “all the time have a receipt and a bag whenever you go away a retailer,” and “don’t have a reputation that’s too Black.”
Every rule has a brief explainer that summarizes the way it sometimes impacts Black folks, in addition to hyperlinks to real-life examples. All 12 are paired with hyperlinks that direct guests to articles, petitions, podcasts and different methods to study extra or take motion.
Discovering an outlet
In response to Pierce, the venture took place final yr following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Pierce known as it a “tipping level” for him.
“Nobody deserves to die like that,” he mentioned. “It was very painful.”
Shortly afterward, Pierce talked together with his group artistic director, workforce members and associates about what they might do to precise their frustration and “discover an outlet to actually characterize how we had been feeling.”
Whereas brainstorming, they saved returning to the Inexperienced Guide, a journey information printed between the Nineteen Thirties and Nineteen Sixties that listed which accommodations, eating places and companies would welcome Black folks.
The Inexperienced Guide impressed them to create a information of their very own, one that may define the numerous unofficial—however very actual—guidelines that Black people take note of every single day as they go about their lives.
“Personally, I stay my total life prescribed to a sure algorithm that had been ingrained in me by my mom and household at a younger age,” he defined. “These are our guidelines, they usually’re not essentially formalized. It isn’t like there’s a Black handbook that you just get whenever you’re born.”
Pierce considers himself to be a “very pragmatic man.” Thus, he wished the venture to level out the issue and supply methods for folks to “erase” the aforementioned guidelines.
“I don’t simply need to inform folks how I really feel about one thing,” he mentioned. “I need to assist right the conduct. Producing empathy was one of many objectives, however we additionally wished to show the nook and make it possible for we had been asking the individual to do one thing about it.”
That’s why every rule listed on the positioning consists of a number of methods guests can educate themselves or assist. As an illustration, rule No. 2—”ensure your hair all the time appears skilled”—incorporates hyperlinks to articles, books and podcasts about Black hair and its historical past of being stigmatized.
Moreover, every rule factors guests to varied petitions, charities and sources associated to the subject in query. Rule No. 2 directs folks to dozens of choices, similar to a petition that seeks to “finish hair discrimination in opposition to Black folks throughout the nation.”
The location additionally features a Shared Tales part, giving Black folks the prospect to submit an nameless story that highlights a rule they’ve been “unjustly requested to stay by.” Chosen tales can be posted on the “Unwritten Guidelines” website, its Instagram and in an upcoming e book.