Clueless White Woman

June 26, 2008

Be my black friend!

Filed under: denial,friendship,racism,stereotypes — by clueless @ 5:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

A couple discussions of race and friendship caught my eye today… first at Resist Racism.

… it occurs to me that worrying that other people might find you racist is a product of racism. Being anxious that people will not accept you when you’ve always been accepted previously is privilege and perhaps projected racism as well.

And here you are losing the ability to be real and genuine, and to have true and genuine relationships. Because if you cannot acknowledge the damage that racism has done, it is going to be very hard for me to accept you as a friend or ally.

I get that. You can’t have an honest conversation — or, really, an honest relationship — with somebody who isn’t accepting fundamental truths.

The second, a bit more sad, at Racialicious

I was suffering from racism paranoia of sorts. A form of self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will, in which I assumed that others were racist, and so I didn’t approach them, befriend them, become close to them, or share as much of myself with them as my friends of color, or even more specifically, my black friends, because I feared the worst. I feared one day they would say something racist or betray my friendship or do something to make me say, “see I told you,’ and regret having befriended them in the first place. And eventually, as my close friend circles became darker and darker in hue or colored by some sort of adversity (i.e. class or sexuality), I recognized that I had placed straight, white, middle class folks somewhere on the perimeter, fulfilling my own expectation in the first place, if not allowing it…. My believing that everyone was racist until proven otherwise was limiting me. It was making me become guarded. It was my way of protecting myself from rejection that wasn’t a given, but that I had experienced enough in the past to make me not want to taste its bitterness ever again.

Well shit, how does a straight white middle-class woman like me make friends with POC? I totally understand why you wouldn’t want to put up with that. It is painful to get to know somebody, enjoy hanging out with them, then suddenly have an ignorant bit of idiocy from them slap you in the face. And I wouldn’t want to do that to somebody that I consider a friend, even unintentionally.

I mean, I’m not looking for a token.
But I like meeting people with different backgrounds because then I can learn about where they’re coming from. And we’ve just moved to The South from Indiana… frankly I need new friends down here of whatever color I can get 🙂


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