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Did you grow up around a lot of Black people?  If so, is there anything you learned about Black culture that you believe white people could learn from?

One thing I’ve noticed over many years is that despite the fact that I’ve gone by Jeffrey since the late 80s, my Black friends, except maybe one, all call me Jeff. Jeff Kass. I let it slide for decades but a couple years ago decided to ask my friend Joe about it

“Why do you call me Jeff instead of Jeffrey? In fact, why do almost all Black people call me Jeff? I don’t go by Jeff.”

His response sums up what I learned from Black culture over many years.

“Jeffrey? That’s too formal. We love you. Jeff means you’re my brother. Jeffrey doesn’t stack up.”

I’m not ready to switch to Jeff Kass just yet, but what Joe was displaying is the warmth in Black culture. The way people greet each other, hug and embrace. There’s a certain comradery that is unmatched elsewhere. A certain affection that others don’t typically get. 

Us white folks could learn a great deal from that warmth.

Question For You: Are there other positive things you’ve learned from your Black colleagues, friends and acquaintances?


Jeffrey Kass - Author

About Jeffrey Kass

Jeffrey Kass is an award-winning author and thought leader on race and society. His “traumedy” stories and articles have engaged readers on issues of race, religion, society and relationships. Jeffrey’s stories have not only won numerous writing awards and finalist showings, his story “Staycation” was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize literary award. His recent book, Oreos and a Pack of Marlboro Lights has been one of its publisher’s (Adelaide Books) best sellers since its release in July 2019.