Illustrations: Moya Garrison-Msingwana

A Definitive Guide to the Modern Bro, From Ironic Rap to Woker-Than-Thouness

White dudes think they see themselves in me. They have no idea.

Scott Woods
LEVEL
Published in
8 min readDec 6, 2019

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Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting LEVELMAN.com.

Bros are bro-ing me to death. Perhaps literally.

Because I deign to engage in activities not typically associated with Black people, such as ordering Negronis and listening to live blues music, I frequently find myself in stand-offs with well-meaning White Bros. These are not the aggro Bros of yore. These are modern Bros: erudite, brimming with hobbies, and smilers all.

They are not racist; I know this because all of their otherwise racist jokes and observations are prefaced this way. Yet, by the end of our interactions, I have clearly lost something. I am less than I was, more frazzled, set on edge. In a setting that I could have sworn was social a minute ago, I have been turned into the day-job version of myself again.

Bros own everything and they know it — the world is their birthright — but the modern Bro seeks to make me feel as if he is on my side anyway. I, who in the words of the immortal Luther Vandross, have nothing. (This is a song which a modern Bro would immediately chide me for…

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Scott Woods
LEVEL
Writer for

Writer and poet holding down Columbus, Ohio