There’s nothing like having a best friend that shares your viewpoints, your perspective, and possibly knows you better than you know yourself. You know the saying “birds of a feather, flock together”….if this is always the case, then chances are there aren’t contrasting views and varied opinions in your “flock.”

We’re living in a climate of increased racial sensitivity. The racial divide and overt racism that has reared its head in our political process, justice system, and sadly in our everyday interactions with one another must be challenged and reconciled. It’s in times like these that everyone needs to extend their reach to someone of another race.

We’ve witnessed the race-baiting being thrown around in this Election, the racial tensions after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, and the constant misconceptions of racial identity across the board. We cannot afford to sit on the sideline and watch as America deteriorates along racial lines.

Racism is America’s original sin and it serves as a detriment to all Americans — the ones that came over on the Mayflower and the ones that came over on the Clotilde, and everyone in between. I won’t pretend we’re living in a “post racial” society…but it is within reach. Naturally when racial tension arises, people tend to align themselves with people who look and act like them. It’s a comfort zone. A comfort zone that must be broken in order for America to truly reach a post racial society.

As a proud product of a HBCU, an upbringing in predominantly black environments, and as a community loyalist…. I’ve enjoyed a cushy comfort zone. That is until I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone.I can testify that breaking out of my comfort zone has increased my knowledge, broadened my perspective and soothed my spiritual well-being. Consciously or unconsciously holding onto negative stereotypes and resentment toward racism, sexism or any “ism” manifests a spirit of inferiority. I’ve found that cultivating diverse relationships, having the difficult conversations about racial differences and being willing to challenge your own viewpoints will change your outlook and life experiences for the better. Comfort zones tend to keep your viewpoint one-sided, your outlook tainted, and your life experiences hampered. Breaking out of your comfort zone is not to be confused with “fitting in.”

Simply put, breaking out of your comfort zone presents you with 2 options: stay within your comfort zone (seek out people that you most identify with and surround yourself with them) OR carve out a new path toward diversifying your friends, your surroundings, and most importantly your perspective. We share a world with people of all stripes and all walks of life…Now more than ever, we must challenge ourselves and each other to branch out and explore friendship outside of our race.

Have you broken out of your racial comfort zone Cluthchettes?

Krystal Glass is the Host and Moderator of a series of thought-provoking dialogues held in Washington, DC with the aim of strengthening the black community through open forum conversations and interactive workshops.

  • African Mami

    Yes.And this topic of friends outside our races has been beaten to death! Race is a crucial topic of discussion, but I feel overwhelmed by THE sameness of this discussion.

  • Yay for diversity

    hmmm there is a cool down-to-earth white girl that I work with. We have great small talk and laugh together during lame staff meetings. I think I’ll take you up on your offer! *invites co-worker to coffee* THANKS CLUTCH.

  • Ms. Information

    I have associates of other races…friend is a very strong word, you should be able to talk about anything and everything with friends and I doubt highly if I could express some of my experiences and sentiments amongst white counterparts…this is not so say that there are not good people in all races…my friends always tend to be people of other ethnicities other than white..this does not limit my experiences, even saying so gives way to white privilege and supremacy. Black people have just as much to give as any other race….in America, MOST people are friends with people of their own race.

  • trisha

    I got friends of all colors nationalites and hues we dont talk about race and everything is fine. We talk about what we have in common what we dont we dont

  • Patience

    I’ve found that socially I am able to better relate with those who are of a different race or ethnicity than I am.

  • gwaan gyal

    Great article and more should follow suit..if they are comfy with it. One of really good friends is white…met 10 yrs ago when we lived next door in our freshmand dorm. Took my first trip to europe with her not long after. Still friends to this day and I lover her to death.

    It could just be me…but I notice a difference in the white american friends I’ve made versus the white european (or 1st generation american) friends I’ve made..I tend to fair better with the latter.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    My dad was in the military so we traveled/moved a lot. When you travel, you make friends of all different races and cultures, so yes, I have broken out of my comfort zone because I don’t know anything else besides being friendly with everyone.

  • Erica

    I hanged out this past Tuesday night with some friends and associates,(women and men). And I was the only black woman there. White people are just people to me.Then again I grew up in the Caribbean, so maybe thats why I don’t think its a big deal to be friends with other races.

  • Box

    you said everything I was thinking.

  • Sydney

    I have friends of all different races! I typically become friends with women who share a love of hip hop, food, or culture. Personally, I love learning about the way other people live and would never limit myself to only befriending black women. My best friends are mexican, puerto rican, jamaican, white, vietnamese, and black! Women who add so much value and happiness to my life, I see them for who they are and not their color.

  • Cree

    I won’t give you a thumbs down. But do you think this is something you are comfortable with??

  • Patience

    Yes, I am comfortable with it. It is not something I actively seek. I am one of those Black women who get told that I ‘sound like a White girl’ or ‘You talk so proper’ or ‘You’re not really a Black person’. From my experience, Black women don’t usually flock to me, because my personality/interests doesn’t mesh with theirs, especially with me being an introvert. It is no different with men either. I usually end being able to talk about the things I like and do the things I like with those who are not the same race as me. It’s like, when I am around people who are a different race than me, they accept me for who I am. With other Black people, they try to change me to fit into who they think Black people should be.

  • Patience

    Post my comment.

  • Faith

    I’v been thinking about broadening my social circles. Guess I have to push myself to do it. The author is right, its a comfort zone. At 32 I don’t have friends of another race. Associates yes but no friends. Time for me to break out and branch out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelly.hawkins.3766 Kelly Hawkins

    Was I ever in a racial comfort zone in the first place? I don’t think so… My best friend is Mexican. We have very different life experiences, but somehow share the same outlook on life. We just relate to each other perfectly, plus she has soul (alot of my Latino friends have soul lol). I can be friends with anyone outside my race as long as they are themselves and don’t try to act differently around me or treat me like their token Black friend. When I tried hanging out with certain people just off the basis that they were Black, I found that that was when I was the least happiest or comfortable.

  • Apple

    Certain white people I can’t be friends with because they are so unaware of what’s offensive and what’s not and that’s annoying! But I do have Asian and Hispanic friends

  • omfg

    i can relate to this.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    One of these days, I’m going to drag you to watch the Ravens with me!

  • LaNubiana

    None as their aren’t many other races in my country.

  • LaNubiana

    *there*

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    I got you on that! I changed schools a lot myself, so I made friends of all stripes.

  • Patience

    You wouldn’t have to drag me. I’d willingly go. RFFL (Ravens Fan For Live) <—- I just made that up.

  • http://idreamofspeed.blogspot.com E.M.S.

    I’ve always had a diverse group of friends, even back in kindergarten, and I’m very proud of that. Too many black people self-segregate based on preconceived notions about other races and the ability to get along with them, I think it’s depressing. A diverse group of friends helps to breed tolerance, respect, and open-mindedness. We can’t make any progress in getting other races to understand us (or us understanding them) if we don’t reach out and build positive relationships with one another.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I like to think I befriend many people outside my race but my circle small right now so I only have one person I would consider as a true friend and she happens to be black, I consider everyone else my acquaintances. But I’ am building a friendship with a white woman, which is hard but rewarding because we are SO opposite that its nuts but we click.

  • Marisa

    I’m friends with at least every group walking the planet and the only reason I can pull it off is I’m myself. There is no sugar coating my feelings on things like race,religion,gender,etc, I’m say what I feel they may not like it but I dont front. I grew up in the 80′s/90′s and everything was intergrated so I’m cool with whose cool with me but, that dont mean because I have some white,asian,latino,indian friends that all the racism just poof disappeared. Luckily I dont live in the tent of blissful unawareness. One of my best friends is Greek and hasnt been in this country that long maybe 11 years,so some of the current issues with race I sometimes have to explain what the deal is here as opposed to the race issues in Europe. I see this question alot but the way some folks spazz out over interracial dating not having friends or many interracial friends doesnt seem like a stretch.

  • RUE

    Looking from other comments it seems easier to make friends with foreigners because they are discriminated against as well. But with a white person… its soo hard they seem to be in their pwn world where we dont exist.. and honestly a lot of them are rude and politically incorrect when it comes to race… i don’t really blame them its lack of exposure we living in their world …unfortunately they never had to learn about our culture. I also feel like I got the whole race on my shoulder when I’m around them.. Never would I have a ratchet moment with a white friend.. I just wouldnt… Honestly, it takes a lot of patience… and I dont know if im up for the challenge .. but I know if we all had more white friends it could get rid of some of the stereotypes we have of one another… But Honestly I never felt a white person trying to befriend me.. Why does it start with us? Im convinced they dont want us around…#postracismmyass

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Not this again. The ‘I am a special and unique’ negro syndrome.

    *rollseyes*

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Same here.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    hanged????

    lol

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    People should make friends with whom they want. If they want to have all black friends, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you want to have no black friends, there might be something wrong with you, but do you. Most people have friends of their own race. Studies have shown white women to be the most insular and no one is imploring their lives would be “richer” for knowing black, Asian, white Hispanic people.

    We cannot keep reinforcing the racial hierarchy this society was built on. It does nothing for us, but someone we have bought into it we work hard at keeping the foundation strong. White people are not magical and most, as the same for all people, will not add much to your life.

  • shadow

    I have trust issues all around, I down care if you’re Black, White, male, female, or other. It takes a lot for me to let in into my circle, which is small, lol. I am glad to say race, culture, creed, or color aren’t looked at. I just have to feel you’re good people ;)

  • ellily

    I enjoy a very diverse group of friends. Whilst I’m very proud of my culture and who I am as a black woman, I also enjoy being a citizen of the world and mixing with fellow citizens regardless of race, gender, class or sexuality.
    In fact I enjoy finding similarities and differences in the variety of cultures that myself and my frieends belong to.

  • Love is my religion

    Relevant topic! Relevant timing. Some of the commenters seem either closed minded (“I don’t need white friends”) or really snooty (“i’m black and i get along better with non-black ppl”) seriously ladies?? The message here is very clear, diversifying your friends will diversify your outlook. I don’t think the article said it has to be a “white friend.” Sometimes black ppl can be more racist than anyone. I’d advise everyone to go back and read their comments. Sorry but most of u sound rather closed minded to the idea of diversity.

  • Janaé

    Totally agree with you!

  • Sic’em

    Diversity is more than just different races. It can be people from different states, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, economic classes, political affiliation etc. So even if people are not friends with people of different races, they more than likely still have a very diverse group of friends, unless they live in a small town and never left.

  • Pearlsrevealed

    Because I live in a part of the country where there are few blacks I have no choice but to diversify my circle. I have many acquaintances, pew pals, work pals but no best friends. I miss having a best friend but I cannot force another to share more of their world with me than they are willing to share.

    I have noticed that I have more rewarding relationships with whites who travel the world or who are foreign born.

  • Nic

    Seriously, it’s just another version of the “I’m a woman and I just can’t be friends with other women” b/c I’m so special and different.
    No, no you are not.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Totally agree. A person is more like to be exposed to a different set of cultural norms if they make friends with a black person from Panama than a white person from the next town over.

  • Egypt

    At the end of the day, it’s all about whomever you click with. I don’t necessarily think that there’s anything taboo about having friends of another race.

  • http://gravatar.com/jeanettemoore Jeanette

    My best friend is from Belize. As I’ve gotten older many of my friends are of other races (I’m AA). I believe it’s been mainly because of the college I attend, my work place, and just how I socially differently now than in the past. Expanding your friendship circle can be very rewarding. I believe it’s because I choose very carefully who I let in my life. I tend to socialize with people who propel me and whose positive energy I can draw from and vice verca. Good article!

  • lola_z

    Aquatintances? Yes, a lot of co-workers, social buddies, etc are of various ethnic background. Friends? Not so much. I have 2 really close girlfriends and they are both black. They are of different nationalities, but both black.

  • lola_z

    *** ethnic backrounds

  • http://passionistaplace.blogspot.com jenna pearle

    i have always been fine with making friends with people from different backgrounds than my own. as for race, i have asian-american friends that have been with me since high school. they are very, very good friends but have never been considered my best friends. there has always been a very small barrier that probably has to do with race. at work, i was friends with a pretty diverse group of women (white, jewish,greek,asian). we had a lot of similarities but when it came to racial issues, i was an outcast (and made to feel like the angry black woman). well sometimes, they were just oblivious it was a racial issue. as a teacher, their bias against students who looked like me really bothered me and i was not able to hold back my feelings most of the time. i also noticed when i didn’t work there anymore, i wasn’t included. it sometimes felt like i was there to help ‘the gang’ (that’s what they called it) look more diverse (and cool). i don’t think this has to always be the case. however, i also find it difficult to believe that my absolute best friend could be someone not black or hispanic. but, you never know…

  • Patience

    I am not ‘special’ or ‘unique’. I am strictly speaking from my own experience, which has shown me that when it comes to making acquaintances and friendships, I better connect with those who are not of the same race as me. That does not mean I have no Black friends, because I do.

  • Patience

    Sorry, Bro, you have the wrong person.

  • Patience

    SMH: Come on, Bro. Is that what the issue is here, an offhand remark I made on another article that is in no way relevant to this one? Weird stuff, Bro, are you taking inventory of the comments that are made here to use against someone at a later date? I said what I did because the “Meanwhile in Africa…” card is dealt when someone deems a topic of little significance to her or him as not being worthy of discussion. That is all that was. If that makes me weird, all right, cool, but I don’t agree.

  • http://www.hairstyles365.net/24-jessica-lowndes-glossy-bun-hairstyle/ lowndes jessica

    I have friends of all different races! I typically become friends with women who share a love of hip hop, food, or culture. Personally, I love learning about the way other people live and would never limit myself to only befriending black women. My best friends are mexican, puerto rican, jamaican, white, vietnamese, and black! Women who add so much value and happiness to my life, I see them for who they are and not their color.

  • mEE

    when I was younger I went to a school that was practically all white. you could seriously count on two hands the number of black families in the school. then I switched to a gifted school which had a far larger minority population. the combination of transferring schools in the 5th grade plus my parents’ “Black Americans aren’t like us” (I’m Jamaican) mentality had me thinking none of the black people liked me. I didn’t go in thinking that but you can only be called “oreo”, “white girl” and “Jamaican booty scratcher” so many times before you start thinking, “hmm maybe these ppl just have a problem with me”. so I developed this group of friends, all of different ethnicities (Korean, Jewish, and Puerto Rican) and I guess what bonded us was that at home or lives were very un-American. even though our cultures were very different we were all children of immigrant parents or immigrants ourselves. our parents used to call us the United Nations.

    this continued throughout middle school and then when I got to high school the gifted classes changed. there were almost NO minorities in my classes, save a few Asians and Indians, so almost all my friends were white. funny enough I was in a performing arts program and all my friends there were black. I was very adept at code switching.

    but when I got to college all of that changed. I joined black orgs on campus and my friends became predominantly black (specifically Caribbean). I had ONE white friend, who just happened to be my roommate freshman year. corn-fed white girl from some small town in upstate NY where your closest neighbor is 3 miles away. and she said she went the first 15yrs of her life without ever talking to a black person (…until her sister met her black boyfriend at college and her father disowned her because of it). we would have very honest conversations about race and I valued that aspect of our friendship. she actually started coming to BSU meetings with me. …and then decided to run for e-board, which is a whole ‘nother story. anyway we had what I considered a real friendship. this girl came to my house during breaks, slept in my bed, my parents cooked for her. a friend.

    then one day she posted a rant on Facebook in the form of a note. the gist was black ppl need to get over slavery and the reason why we can’t get anything done is because all we do is complain. it went on and on. she talked about welfare queens. there was a baby-daddy comment. and the cherry on top was “instead of being jealous of what “we” [white ppl] accomplished, why don’t you try to do it for yourself”. …I don’t know that I’ve ever been so hurt by someone I considered a friend before. I remember thinking, “who are these black people she’s referring to? certainly not me or any of my friends. not my college-educated, hard-working, paying their own tuition, 3 job-having friends”. but it had to be us because she didn’t know any other black people. I actually remember tears forming in my eyes trying to understand why she would say something so horrible. and what was her response? “…oh I wasn’t talking about you”. and that’s when I got pissed the eff off.

    …and it’s also why I have no white friends now. call me close-minded. call me scarred. but when that “I and Thou” starts kicking in, ish isn’t so rosy anymore. there are some fundamental barriers that I have no desire to knock down. it isn’t worth it to me and as sad as it makes me to say, I don’t really believe those barriers can be broken. if this person who I considered my “girl” and who my parents took into their home could look at MY people and write them off as a bunch a lazy bums looking for a handout, then I don’t have much hope for the white girl working across the hall from me. I have white acquaintances. we go to happy hour. we karaoke. we gripe about work. we’re cool. but a true friend? a person who I’d have as a bridesmaid, god-mother to my child, tell my deepest darkest secrets and fears? absolutely not.

    btw last I heard of the ex-bff she was doing volunteer work in Uganda, dating a Nigerian, and started going by a traditional African name. ::shrugs:: whatever works.

  • comment

    I prefer to hang with black females with a similar background and experience. That is after growing up around 90% white people. As someone said before, whites tend to have this disconnect with reality and no awareness of what is appropriate to say in public settings in my experience. A lot of them also believe that racism doesn’t actually exist, which is very annoying to me as someone who experiences it frequently. Finally, many white women (and asian women) have a superiority complex where they look at you as some kind of sidekick rather than as an equal–as if you should feel lucky to hang with them. Now I feel the need to distinguish — this applies to American (USA) women. I have had friends from Europe who were much more down to earth and comfortable to be around.

  • simplyme

    I actually think I need MORE Black friends.

    For all of my life most of my friends have been of other races. By college I basically stopped hanging out with White people (it actually wasn’t on purpose but I noticed that when I had more freedom in my friend choices I almost never became good friends with White people(from this country at least..one of my closest friends is Russian) based on some little things a few people have already mentioned). My friend group is pretty diverse right now… Asian, Hispanic, a few White and my best friend is Black. But Ive never really had a lot of Black friends and I’m still (as of Grad school) trying to figure out how to meet other Black people like myself. When we purposefully go to places where Black people congregate we tend to meet people we have absolutely nothing in common with… and the few Black people I do know, I met by happenstance or through mutual friends, but those instances are few and far between.

    Its actually pretty tough to meet other Black people if you don’t fit a certain “status quo” (ex. no HBCU affiliation, never did the Black Greek thing, I have no rhythm and dance like a drunk White girl even when sober, and I am probably the definition of whack…). The sad reality is breaking out of my comfort zone = going to an event where half the women are AKAs and everyone in the room is perfectly executing every dance step as if it were a music video.

  • hh

    and thats why you’ll fail your kids, anyone who thinks friends are just friends dont have the cognitive ability to undersand the repercussions of who they side with in life and whaa that means for the later generations. who you fuck and align yourself with is very much a political decision, hopefully other ppl of carribbean descent arent as fucking stupid as u are. being able to critical think in this fucking community is like striking fucking gold, i need to travel far and wide to someone who doenst just throw caution to the fucking wind.

  • Jame (@jameane)

    I have less white friends than I used to. The women I’d consider my closest friends are black, asian, middle eastern and white. And I like it that way. The great thing is we can connect on a variety of levels and talk about our experiences from different perspectives. I personally think it is important. But as I have gotten older, I have less “white american” close friends.

  • http://gravatar.com/lorrainyday Daisyface

    Thought I would share my personal experience. I grew up in 85% white community and was often the only black person in a circle of friends. Participating in black student union events at my university was actually my first experience of being completely surrounded by black peers. Even still, although my university was more diverse than my hometown, it was only 3% black. I have never focused on making friends based on my race, rather I take it day by day and stay in contact with people I make a connection with. At the moment, the only best friend I have who is black is my boyfriend, the rest come from a wide range of backgrounds.

    The one thing I noticed in common about my closest friends, is that they, like me, are also not overwhelmingly surrounded by people matching their own race and/or identity. The only thing I need from a friend is for them to have a respect and openness to who I am and my experiences. I talk about race, sex, class (all of which can be barriers in friendship) etc with all my closest friends and the fact that they are diverse in identity has helped me with my perspective in life immensely. I am very thankful for it! I cannot feel what it is like for my best friend to be a gay white male, nor can he feel what it is like for me to be a heterosexual black female. However, we appreciate and learn from each other’s differences and have built our relationship on the vast amount of similarities we have outside of this part of our identity.

    Do I come across close-minded people who think racism doesn’t exist? YES, there were quite a few at my high school! However I also come across black people who are close-minded toward other people (even other black people). Neither of these groups are people I would become good friends with. Beyond this, I have started friendships with people outside my race…only to leave the room and hear them make casual racist comments. Yet I still will never write-off friendships with people outside of my race because of these bad experiences…for me the positives out way the negative. For me, race has an effect but it is just not the most important factor, and I really do appreciate the friendships that have lasted with people who are both similar and different than me in a variety of ways.

  • Carol Rugege

    The first 8yrs of my life spent in Fayetteville, North Carolina seemed normal. I had a diverse group of friends both at school and in my neighborhood. Actually, the only Black friends I had were at school because I realize now that we lived in a “white neighborhood” while most of the “other” Black people lived near/in the Heights. I moved to Louisiana aka The Deep South when I was 8yrs old. This experience was noticeably very different. I attended a predominately Black elementary, junior high, high school and college ~ Grambling State University. Although I was finally surrounded by people who looked just like me, those same people always felt the urge to remind me and my sisters that we were different because my parents are originally from Africa ~ namely Uganda & Rwanda. And they were right…we were different…we used proper grammar when we spoke because our Father was an English Professor, we looked physically different because of our long, sharp noses, high cheek bones and wide foreheads. Nevertheless, we were still black but according to them, a “different” kind of Black and no matter what the setting was, someone always made reference to our dark skin tone…shamelessly pointing out that we were the “girls from Africa who were so pretty to be so Black”. I remember being so excited to have this “Black experience” that I heard people rap and sing about on TV in the era of Yo! MTV Raps, Public Enemy, KRS-One and the like. I don’t remember experiencing racism in NC although it’s also considered “The South”. I had 1 White friend for about 3yrs, her name was Brandy and she lived next door. Her sister Velvet could dance like a black girl and her Mom was always polite to me and my family. She was the only White girl in the neighborhood that would play with me. So once again, when she moved the only Black friends I had were at school. As much as I enjoyed and embraced the historically black college experience, I came across many girls who didn’t want to be my friend and guys who didn’t want to date the “girl from Africa”. With time, I acquired friends and boyfriends who were open-minded and learned to embrace and appreciate my African heritage but it is still a challenge for some of them. After college I lived in Chicago, Dallas and Washington DC and throughout the past 8yrs, I only acquired 1 White female and 1 Puerto Rican female friend. I had plenty of jobs in different cities where I went out for drinks after work with co-workers but that was the extent of our friendship. I have never attempted to date a White man purely because they have never attempted to court me. Now that I live in Rwanda, I attend church almost every Sunday alongside the same White people, of different nationalities, but they are very few who can remember my name and even fewer who have ever invited me into their home outside of weekly prayer meetings. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pursuing friends of similar race and background and/or staying within your comfort zone. I’m very happy with my circle of friends and feel my spiritual well-being is in tact.

  • KristinaT

    Same here. I have one real close friend since middle school and she’s black.

    My husband is in the Navy so I might hang out with some of the other Navy wives of other races but I’m not quick to call them my friend without getting to know them.

  • Lo

    Maybe those you’ve encountered but the generalizations in this post are a bit much (a lot of them, many, etc.). Several of my best friends are Asian and White and have yet to encounter any of the above. You sound like someone who lacks culture and growing up around folk doesn’t mean you’re cultured.

  • http://gravatar.com/clnmike Tonton Michel

    Seriously who goes around saying I need to make friends of a different race? Thats not how you choose friends, that’s how you make mistakes.

  • http://chiloislane.tumblr.com/ ChiLoisLane

    WOW, this is such a loaded subject for me and I am still trying to sort it out. I grew up in a predominantly white school in a diverse city. I found these early years of my life shaped my experience and my life outlook on different races for the better and worse. My friends were mostly white and I only had a few as I was the shy in school and my cultural background was different. I found that besides my white besties, most of my other classmates AND TEACHERS were not as accepting to me as they pretended. As long as I was joking and clowning around they could accept me for a good laugh. However when they saw how I excelled in the classroom, I was often condescended by other “smart” peers and even the teachers my parents entrusted me with. I even had a neighbor who I played Barbie with, who always invited me to play at her house yet she would only would play with me on my front steps and never come in (my house was twice the size of hers btw).
    I had a friend invite me to her house for dinner where she and her mother laughed in my face when I requested to take home some of the food they were forcing on me. Did they expect me to sit there and consume every last dish they put in front of me? In mine and many other cultures it is an INSULT NOT to take food home. Cultural understanding was seriously lacking.
    As for crushes and romance, I noticed in middle school and jr high, black girls were not major candidates for dating. If a white boy, especially a popular one interacted with me, all the snooty white girls would stare and make incredulous comments. If that wasn’t bad enough, the few black boys in my school were always trying to get with those snooty white girls and Spanish girls. By the time I got to High School I made friends with 2 other black girls and we were real close. I enjoyed having friends as people who identified with me and who I didn’t have to be questioned or othered around.

    By the time I got to college, all my friends except for a few were fellow Children of the African Diaspora, from Africa, the Caribbean, America, Gyanna and I finally felt at home in our shared experience. My experience growing up really made me skeptical of close friendships and relations with whites. I knew how to act and navigate all white situations and have everybody love me. At the same time it was like wearing a mask that reflects their own whiteness and white values. It was not til I read Frants Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Mask” that I realized this phenomenon of racial masquerading was an issue for all my bros and sisters in white environments.

    Overall, I am not racist, just weary. I don’t want to have to explain why I sleep with a scarf on my head at night or why my hair is inches longer one week to the next. I want friends, not people I have to teach an anthropology class to. This includes love relationships. Relationships are based on mutual understanding but where it is lopsided it is no longer enjoyable.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    By your comment, you seem to be implying non-black = culture. If only you know how absolutely wrong you are.

    Well, we will be here for your rude awakening because believe us, it is around the corner.

  • Ange B

    I have found in my experience with my circle of friends is being Canadian and living in a large city. Most of my friends and myself are first generation Canadians. All of our parents came from all over the globe but we were born in Canada. And in that we all have found similar experiences in dealing with mainstream culture vs the culture we had at home. Whether from the Africa, Carribbean, MIddle East, South East Asia, we all have similarities and differences and at least in my circle of friends we seem to like to share. At the same time too it is good to have a friend who is the same as you background wise. Makes for explaining some things not necessary and shared experiences. At least for myself having friends that are Black and non Black work.

  • Mina

    Technically, I don’t have any friends outside my race because I’m all mixed up lol. But I have more Asian and mixed friends than black, etc. All my white and black friends are guys. All my latina friends are girls obviously lol. All my asian and mixed friends are girls too. But I don’t have any African-American girl friends. I have 3 African girlfriends but no African-American girl friends. And I have a couple of white girl friends but I tend to stay away from white girls because they say or ask me a lot of ignorant questions or just talk too much. Just from my experience. I stay away from girls until I can trust them because I hate girls who talk about people behind their back and act like cowards and that’s mostly what I’ve experienced from American girls of all races. I wish I had more Middle Eastern and Indian friends. I don’t really want any white girl friends unless they understand where I’m coming from and don’t stereotype/generalize but I wish I had some really cool, down to earth white girl friends but they’re hard to find.

  • Moni

    Does your school have some type of black grad student organization? Those are a great way to meet other black people who have similar education goals but otherwise are very diverse. I am not greek (though many of my friends are) and made great friends in grad school through these types of organizations. If you view people’s Greek affiliation as something neutral (like where they went to undergrad) instead of positive or negative, you’ll find it easier to make friends with them. After grad school, I took a job in another college town where I knew no one, so most of my friends here are also grad students. I occasionally go to their black grad events because I know most of the people socially. Also, try meetup.com groups. The first friends I made here were through a meetup event.

  • danielle

    thatbritishchick

    i totally and completely co-sign

  • http://stillhiphopmom.blogspot.com Hiphopmommie

    This is a interesting topic. I went to school with 99% white students. Being the only black girl in my grade had it’s challenges. I would not change a thing, I think my experiences prepared me for the work world. Since I graduated undergrad and graduate school I have always been the only African American in my office (I think I represent well). I working higher education and I think my student feel such a since of relief when they see me. Some of my closes friends are white and the commonality is that we share similar interest. For me what I learned is that I can be myself and I should appreciate and respect those who are different. I also learned that in any culture/race there are people that are ignorant and crazy, there are people that I’ll will get a long with and some that I won’t and that is true for African American’s, White, Latina, Asian…. For met is about the person not the color of their skin.
    RT- my white girl friend will fight for me faster then some of my black girl friends :) and that’s why I love her.

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