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In April, I hosted a brunch for 50-plus of my “friends” in Brooklyn. From across borough lines, neighborhoods, and even states they came. Some were new-ish, as within the last year, most go back to my early years in the city, or even before. The origins of my tribe scatter the globe, from Jamaica to Nigeria, Aruba to Haiti, Ghana to Trinidad. Oh, a couple (maybe 4?) Black Americans like me. I didn’t have any intention of seeking friends in only cultural variations of Black, we just attended the same schools or events, hung around with the same people, and voila, years later, we’re operating with a bond of friendship, seemingly unbreakable until we cross our hearts and hope to die.

Of course, I know non-Black people. Just no one really that I’d call to talk about nothing and everything at any random hour, or that I would expect to do the same. I went to a predominately white high school, and two PWI colleges, but my “friends” there, like my would-be co-workers, were situational. When graduation came, our conversations mutually dissolved. We never kept in touch, despite scribbling such in yearbooks or exchanging business cards at the ceremonies wishing us well as we headed off into the real world.

My primary mentor is a 50-something Jewish man who only advises me on conundrums, the last of which was whether or not to resign from my last job six months ago. I always call him; he always answers in a timely fashion. My former work-husband was white (and gay) and though we bonded while gushing over cute boys, we never exchanged numbers or spoke after hours. When I randomly visit my old office to check-in with my former co-workers, it’s the infamous fashion editor, who I ki-ki with the longest, but despite our friends (and party circuit) in common, we’ve never hung out. There are plenty of editors and other professionals with whom I share mutually beneficial working relationships. They pepper, or um, salt, my life, but they are not what I would call friends.  More like associates, or perhaps acquaintances.

I didn’t think there was anything odd about that, until reading all the fuss and disbelief about “Girls” and its all-white world of friendships. I have multiple gripes with the show, mostly how they make 20-somethings look terribly lost and pathetic and their reality as young women mirrors no one I knew as a 20-something or any 25-year-olds I know now. (As someone who wrote a book about being in her 20s that some called “un-relatable”, I do accept writer Lena Dunham’s “truth”). But I can’t take genuine issue or validly complain about the color consistency of her world, or anybody else’s, especially when mine, and most people I know, is so similarly composed, just, well, darker.


Demetria L. Lucas the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life in stores now. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk

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  1. divagurl

    As an entertainment biz professional, the only problem I have with a show like “Girls” being all-white is that it doesn’t provide lucrative employment for any people of color. When I look at a TV show I see jobs, plain & simple. I know that the principal performers make real money and I always want to see black folks making real money. The extras are paid but not much. Are there people of color making money on this show off camera, I wonder? I hope so.

    As a reflection of reality, “Girls” represents a valid reality from what I’m told (haven’t seen it yet). Birds of a feather do flock together! It’s natural. I don’t think most people consciously limit themselves to their own group, it’s just what is most comfortable. I think we all need to be careful judging who people choose as their circle of friends. There are so very many factors that go into who your friends wind up being. I think it’s fabulous to suggest that everyone broaden their horizons to develop relationships with people outside of their traditional circle but some of the judgmental tone in this thread bothers me. Not having seen the show, I hope it does represent the multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-national nature of Brooklyn when the borough is shown. If it doesn’t do that….epic fail.

    About those criticisms of the blacks whose friends are all black – if you read books like “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and “Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom”, you will see that it is healthy for blacks to gather in all black groups. I can’t give a comprehensive explanation of why in this forum – would be too long and it’s too important to give a half ass sound byte on. Check out the books.

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  2. Ms. Information

    I have acquaintances of all races…my very close friends will ALWAYS be Black…Black people, Black men, Black women have a very different existence on this earth that other races don’t seem to have.

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  3. I have to agree with Demitria, like seriously who cares if that cast is all white? I know people with just white friends or just indian friends or just black friends. I don’t see the big deal here lol. Enjoyed this article…oh and the kid selling candy quote….classic NY haha!

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