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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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