For any black person who has worked, lived or spent copious amounts of time in majority-white spaces, last night’s episode of Game of Thrones probably triggered a bout of PCSD (Post-Caucasian Stress Disorder). Luckily, our weekly “Black Person’s Guide to Game of Thrones” is here to break down the ten rules of surviving white spaces for those who have no idea what I’m talking about.
1. Bring a jacket.
Whether you’re working in an office, going to a movie theater or preparing to battle a horde of White Walkers, when spending time in a white space, the first rule of thumb is to dress warm. The Starks wear leather capes and fur peacoats when they are just chilling at the house, so you know they keep it cold as fuck in Winterfell, which is why everyone gathered around the fire at the end of the night. Plus, any house with a crypt in the basement will probably be a little chilly.
Scientists have proven that room temperature for white people is between 49 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit, so one should always try to position themselves under a vent before every staff meeting. That’s why I arrive early whenever I have to meet in front of a diorama to plan my battle strategy. I need to stand near the vent.
I bet those motherfuckers didn’t even give Grey Worm a space heater!
2. Plan for the future.
Speaking of Gray Worm, when he and Missandei made plans for what they were going to do when they didn’t have to be around white people all day, I felt that in my spirit. And why were the children so damned racist? Is that what they teach little kids in the North?
Basically, these two were about to face the biggest threat to humanity that has ever existed. When they dared to dream about what they would do if and when they survived, in a world of dragons, witches and white supremacist zombies, all their imaginations could come up with was:
“We gotta get the fuck from around these white people.”
3. Get another white person to vouch for you.
The episode opened with Jamie standing in front of Winterfell’s human resources department trying to explain why they should let him work there. Sure, there were a few blemishes on his background check, but even though Jamie killed Danerys’ father, set Ned up for decapitation and paralyzed Bran, he still got the job because he knew someone (Brienne of Tarth) who knew someone (Sansa).
That’s all it takes.
4. Be nice to the boss.
Sansa knows that Dany is unqualified to sit on the Iron Throne. The only reason she got the position of Khaleesi is because she married into the right family and was born with the privilege of riding dragons. Still, the heart-to-heart between the Lady of Winterfell and the Mother of Dragons was like every meeting I’ve ever been in when a white boss tries to explain why you should bend the knee and get behind their stupid plans.
You know Sansa was sitting there thinking: “How are you the Queen? You lost a whole motherfucking dragon! Who does that?”
5. Don’t expect a promotion.
Perhaps the greatest example of what it’s like to work in a white space was the knighting of Brienne. Tormund was astonished that Brienne hadn’t been promoted to knight, despite protecting Catelyn, Arya and Sansa Stark. Most people were teary-eyed when Brienne finally got her knighthood while black people were watching thinking that it was long overdue. Meanwhile, everyone seems to agree that Tyrion deserves to keep his position as Hand of the King even though his performance reviews are terrible and he is always wrong.
If Tyrion was black, they would have fired him a long time ago.
6. Don’t expect them to understand why you do what you do.
I am often astonished when someone—usually a white person—can’t understand why black people take a stand against certain things. They can’t figure out why NFL players would protest police brutality and discrimination because the athletes are millionaires. They will tell you that you went to college and got a good job, so they can’t fathom why you are so concerned with income inequality or racism. Well, it’s for the same reason that Lyanna Mormont refuses to hide in the crypts ...
She wants to fight for her people.
7. They’re going to take advantage of you.
When Arya burst into Gendry’s cubicle and asked why she didn’t have her dragonglass spear, I bet some of you had flashbacks to when your inept supervisor burst into your cubicle and told you to stop what you were doing and work on the project that he or she gave you.
I couldn’t watch the scene when Arya lost her virginity, partly because Arya will always be my little bad-ass cousin, but mostly because what Arya did to Gendry was technically sexual harassment. She’s on the board of trustees at Winterfell; she shouldn’t be thottin’ around with the employees.
8. Get used to white music.
What was that song Podrick was singing? I know it supposedly has something to do with a prophecy but the beat was trash and the lyrics sounded like something Taylor Swift wrote in junior high school. They should’ve had Lil Nas X remix that shit. I can already hear the lyrics:
Direwolfs in the back
White walkers gonna attack
Bran’s stuck back in the past
Arya just got smashed
and can’t nobody tell Dany nothiiiing
You can’t tell her nothing.
She’s gonna take her dragon down to old Kingsroad
She’s gonna flyyy til she can’t no more.
9. There’s always one cool-ass white guy.
Tormund is that that one white guy who dresses funny but is cool AF. While some guys tell you they don’t see race or that one of their best friends is black, Tormund actually treats you like a human being. Tormund had your back from day one but he can’t vouch for you because other white people think he’s too weird.
I fucks with Tormund.
10. But when the shit goes down ...
Then you’re a team. Now everyone needs you. Now you’re not black or white, you’re all Americans. Or humans. Now you have to stick together and fight the caravan that breached the wall and is now invading your country. But when the smoke clears, they’re gonna give all the credit to the white dude ...
Or the girl with the dragons, the three-eyed raven, the brilliant drunk, the dragonglass-maker or anyone else. They haven’t even mentioned the unsullied, the Dothraki or the people of color who are fighting to kill the army of the dead.
But don’t worry. We’re used to it.