'Learn your manners,' white man wrote in letter to black neighbor and his response went viral

Mary Scott
Oct 16, 2018
05:28 P.M.
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This is what happens when you pen a condescending note to a writer; you get a larger dose of what you dished out! Instead of talking things over with his black neighbor, one white man sent across a note, but he did not expect what came next.



Richard Brookshire, a writer and urban leader, was consoling a friend at his Manhattan apartment and their conversation stretched into the early hours of the morning. Next thing he knew, his neighbor sent a disdainful note, threatening to call the cops on Brookshire.


It read:

“It is extremely rude and inconsiderate to scream and stomp around your apartment until almost 2 am. My wife and I both have to get up early for work. A complaint has been submitted to the management. Next time this will go straight to the police. Please learn your manners.”


Brookshire told The Washington Post it wasn’t the letter per se that got him angry; it was the threat of calling the cops on a black man at a time when racial tension filled the country.

He noted that his neighbor’s aggressions were fueled by white privilege and the misunderstanding could have been resolved if only he knocked on the door instead.  The writer also confessed that the police threat sent his mind racing with troubling scenarios.

“With cops you just never know, especially when it’s late at night. Maybe they’re tired. Maybe they’ll catch an attitude with me. I personally haven’t had the negative reactions with police. But I’m literate. I see how they interact with other people of color.”


Brookshire then took his time to craft a lengthy response which he signed off as “Your #VeryBlack Neighbor.” The note read in part:

“…As one of the only tenants of color occupying this building at full market rate, I find it personally abhorrent that you’d levy the threat of involving the authorities for an insignificant infraction such as the one you noted in your poorly written and ill-thought-out correspondence. As a Black man, I take these overt actions as a direct threat to my physical and psychological well-being and as an act of violence upon me…”


Brookshire posted the letter on Twitter in 2016, and it went viral in no time, drawing comments from different sides. While some berated him for bringing race into the matter when his white neighbor didn’t, others gave him the thumbs-up for providing the perfect response.

Find the complete version of the note below and decide what you think about the issue:



Meanwhile, incidents of white people calling the cops on black folks for just about anything have become rampant.

Corey Lewis, an African American youth mentor, was stopped and questioned by the police after a white woman called them because she saw him in a car with two white kids. It turned out Lewis was babysitting the children and had their parents’ approval.

There was also the case of #BarbecueBecky who called the cops on a family for barbecuing in a public park.

#NewportNancy and #PermitPatty are also viral examples of the worrisome trend.

Hopefully, this will soon be a thing of the past, and black people won't have to look over their shoulders in fear anymore.