Am I your only Black friend?
Growing up in a 99.99% white suburban town meant I was typically the only Black person in class, in a club, at most of my retail jobs. Which meant I had a lot of white frends over the years. It was great during childhood, because I wasn’t treated differently by those friends. I knew I and my family were Black, but it wasn’t something that stopped my closest friends from wanting to play with me (though there were a handful of child racists I had to tell on and the teacher did all of *shrug* to stop them.)
Things changed as I grew older though. My childhood best friend decided to become friends with a much richer, white girl and off to the “preps,” a clique I’d never be a part of. I’d say I was a mix of a nerd and an art kid, but honestly some of those art kids that went against the norm were pretentious as hell. Reminds me of all the white liberals that have no problem with/benefit highly from the gentrification of Flint & Detroit. But I digress…
Here’s the thing: I’m light skinned and grew up in the middle class. My experience is not the same as my chocolate toned cousins who grew up with less funds in the city. I’ve lost count of how often I’ve heard the phrase, “I’m not racist, I have a Black friend/partner/coworker!”
STOP TOKENIZING US!
Don’t think a certain person is a “good one” or an “exception” to the stereotypes forced upon their people by society. Everyone deserves the chance at comradery.
Will you be cognizant of your biases and seek out diverse friendships?