We have known each other for many years. Over a decade in fact. We have lost and gained friends in our group but at the core of it all I have always had you. You are my other half who happens to be white. Your parents love me and mine love you. After years of friendship I should find this easy to say but I don’t. So let me try to say it now.
I know that you can see that because you have 20:20 vision plus you have a good relationship with differentiating colors so clearly that isn’t all to the story.
I am the black friend.
This means so much more than my skin. This means so much more than your skin. It talks about my culture and where I come from. It talks about social injustices and inequality.
The one thing that has come to the forefront of my mind is that we are so different and you refuse to accept that. When I stand up for a black person I don’t mean to say that I hate white people. I also want you to understand that when you say something like, “oh my gosh, I wish that my hair could do that” in reference to my straightened Afro – it may not sound as great to my ear as it did coming out of your mouth. The hair that crowns my head was never a topic of discussion while it was in its natural kinky state. But, the moment it conformed to the beauty standard set out hundreds of years ago it became desirable.
That is similar to me being your friend isn’t it? If I were not as eloquent as I am would you still want me as your friend in public? I’ve overheard you telling people – I am your friend and then reassuring them that I am not like other black people.
The thing is that I don’t know how to approach these issues with you. We are at this place where our friendship has history and my black consciousness is a new thing. I want to be able to reconcile my feelings towards my skin, my culture, my beliefs and my support of black people while being able to have you as a close confidant.
In the new year you may see the direction of my conversation changing towards you. This isn’t because I am trying to make you feel uncomfortable but rather to make you aware of the bigger picture. We are going to be catapulted into a new part of our friendship because I am tired of walking on eggshells when it comes to race.
Written by Hulisani Khorombi, Staff Writer, #mygirlsquad
Friends can talk about anything. My Jewish colleague and I discuss race all of the time. People just have to be open. You will Both learn. You might learn of a family member who marched on Washington with Dr. King. You Never know.