I have a (blank) friend


If you want to quickly change the temperature of a room. Change the topic to race. Especially if  there people of different races in the room.

On Social Media someone recently posted something that said:  Blacks aren’t currently slaves and Whites aren’t slave owners.  My take: He was saying its history, get over it.

The author was immediately called a racist.    He seemed young and his views where simplistic, but I didn’t get a racist vibe from him.  As  the waves were getting stronger and higher, he reached into his wallet and pulled out the “I have a black friend card”   “I chuckled”  “Not the I have a Black friend so that doesn’t make me racist card!    

This is a universal card. Used the world over by people of many hues and backgrounds. Owning it legitimizes you. It says to the world I am an expert because, I know one or more persons who is of a different race or culture.

I grew up during the second wave of integration.  This was the late sixties, black students didn’t need military escorts. (At least in California)  The transition was difficult.   Some black parents didn’t trust white people and some white people told their children to avoid blacks.  The great thing about children is they don’t have the baggage, the history the great unknown fear their parents have.  They simply see another child.

As children we knew which households were off limits. There was never any discussion about it, it was all about our friendships . We protected each other, I had a friend who’s father vowed to beat him if he ever saw him or any of his siblings in the company of niggers, so we dropped him off a mile from his home.  (We recently re-connect on Facebook)

Through the years people would produce their cards.  If someone had a white friend at work the card would make them the authority on white people everywhere. ” I know this Chinese man and they are…….  Unfortunately, these card are still in use.

Not long ago at a suburban mall, I was intrigued by an argument three teenagers (13-15) were having. One kid with bright red hair and freckles was wearing a black do rag, the others were wearing Lakers Jerseys. The argument was about how street they were or the most black (like). They argued about who owned the most rap CD’s, dared each other to rap in the Galleria.  The winner had a card in his pocket. His grandma lives in San Leandro, which is right next to Oakland, they’ve shopped in Oakland in stores filled with black people and no one was sacred. Boo Yaa!

There are often indicators of the number of people you know outside your race by the declarations you make: ” I have an Asian friend” “The Jewish People”  “Lesbians are”  “They are because I know this one… ” Often making sweeping generalizations.

Baby Steps 

I see color, sometimes in HD.  I am blessed with good friends, they come in many different hues and cultures.  Some of us have different political and religious views. We are comfortable talking about race.   Its not a perfect world, and sometimes we misspeak, get angry,  all the normal things human beings do. But we trust and love each other.

I find because of those relationships I have a greater understanding of people in general and I’m not fearful of other human beings.  When refer to my friends, they aren’t my (blank) friends or collectibles,they are simply my friends.

We need to talk about race. You may be sympathetic to other races but it means nothing if you fear them.  If you talking about race to someone who shares your skin color and views your education will be limited.

If you have a friend who is of a different hue and culture, This is where you start, this person has a sense of who you are and knows your intentions.   Set ground rules. ( It wont be necessary in the future)  If either of you say something that makes the other uncomfortable, it was not intentional and just as you would with any other friend, if you sense there are hurt feelings for any reason,don’t bolt for the door, fix it.

 

Racism will always be with us as there are people who have large bolts on their brains. They believe groups of people, cultures who do not look like them, believe what they believe are the enemy.  The good people will always rise above!

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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