Guest Blog: Why Can’t We Be Friends? By: Eric Blair
Bonjour mes personnes! This week’s topic is about interracial friendships. For hundreds of years there has been this little thing that has separated races… racism. Before you close the window hear me out. A good friend of mine, Kevin, who is white, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Kevin and I are from different sides of the city. He’s from Northeast Philadelphia, born and raised in a middle class community. I am from North Philadelphia, born and raised in the hood, ghetto, whatever you want to call it. Kevin and I were co-workers, we established a bond, and have been good friends ever since. My purpose of this article is to show that racism is an ignorance that’s seeded in the mind. If fed with enough bullshit, excuse my French, people are easily susceptible to manipulation by the media and their environment. This world is inhabited by a multitude of races. This article is not intended to make racism vanish. It’s intended to prove that all races, whether Asian, Latin, or European are all capable of establishing bonds that challenge the idea of racial superiority and separatism. At the end of the day we all bleed, breathe, and die. We all go to the bathroom therefore no need to act like your shit, again, excuse my French, doesn’t stink like the next man. We’re all human, a beautiful mix of colors and cultures.
Note: Kevin replies are Green and mines are Blue
1. What was your perception of Black/White people?
Well, I didn’t have a perception of black people. Mostly because my father raised me to judge people by their actions and I have always had black friends so I never let stereotypes affect me.
I had two types of perceptions, one from my grand mom because she was old school and the other from my mother. My grand mom kind of didn’t really trust White people or just had her guard up when it came to White people. My mother felt as if we’re all human; never let color stop you from being anyone’s friend.
2. Does the color of a person’s skin matter to you as a White/Black man?
No. I am friends with a person because I want to be their friend or I like their character or personality. Who still looks at skin color? Ha!
Nope, never has and never will.
3. Have you ever dealt with racism, friendly or in your face from Black/White man?
Yes. I have experienced “friendly racism” or more like reverse stereotyping. I guess it would be called that. I was told “I am smart for a Black guy.” Really didn’t know how to feel about that.
I guess you never dealt with racism in your life. Luck you, little Irish man! Hahaha
Please. I’m White and Irish! Twice the luck.
4. Now that you’re friends with a Black/White man what is your perception of them now?
Nothing has changed. But I have realized stereotypes are bullshit.
They aren’t that many differences between us. He’s cool.
5. What do your friends and family members think of your interracial friendship?
It’s mix, my mom thinks it’s cool but other family members like cousins and aunts might thinks I’m a oddity or weirdo for having White friends. Go figure. I really don’t care.
I don’t think my friendships matter but if I was ever to date a black girl, that would be an issue with the family.
Why would that be an issue?
Being friends and dating a Black girl are two completely different things.
6. Have you learn anything from your White/Black friend you didn’t know before you befriended him?
I don’t think so. My Black friends are pretty much just like my White friends.
No. They’re just as crazy as any other race.
7. Coming into this interracial friendship, did you believe in the stereotypes that are spread by the media about Black/White people?
I think stereotypes are silly. Propaganda that is used to keep people living in fear. I have no fear or judgment for anyone.
No. but once you’re friends with someone from another race you find out that stereotypes don’t hold true.
8. Do you feel like you can openly share thoughts with your Black/White friend, even if it sounds insensitive to their racial background?
Yeah. It wouldn’t be a friendship if we can’t open up to each other. There is a line of respect.
9. If you had one random personal question about your Black/White friend’s race, what would it be?
I’m blank right now…Um, is that your real hair color?
My real hair color? You think I dye my hair? Only White girls do that.
Are Black churches really like what they are depicted on TV? Cause that would be awesome.
What? With the screaming and people passing out? Some are but it depends on who’s the reverend.
Completely forgot about the passing out which is awesome lol. But I meant all the singing, clapping, and everyone getting dressed up.
Yes! It’s fashion Sunday at some churches. It’s singing, clapping, and stomping in some Black churches.
10. How do you feel about your Black/White friends being from a different upbringing then yours?
I believe that everyone has a different upbringing. It all depends on what morals your family teaches you.
I think it’s cool. We’re alike but different at the same time. We learn from each other with in our friendship.
11. How do you maintain a mutual respect for the other person in an interracial friendship?
Keep it real at all times. Don’t beat around brushes. At the end of the day he’s just a man like me.
I have respect for all my friends, so it has never been a problem.
12. Have you learned anything from your White/Black friend that helped you out in your life?
He has taught me some things about the ladies.
This might sound crazy but something about women; it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality. Because of him, I’m picky with women.
And cause of what you tell me about girls I now want a Black girl and unless I add like 20 pounds of muscle that ain’t happening. lol
13. When Black/White people speak prejudice slurs about Black/White people does it rub you the wrong way? If so, do you defend the people that their degrading.
I do speak up on racial stereotyping towards any race because it’s ignorance they’re speaking.; not facts. I feel like why talk shit when you can ask a White or Black person if the stereotype is true or not.
I would just tell the person they are degrading because I have learned that you change a person’s mind and if they think like that, I have been taught not to listen to stupid ideas.
14. How did you overcome the ignorance of what friends and family believed that are stereotypes of Black/White people?
I usually don’t listen to them and do what I want.
I had a slight ignorance towards White people because I didn’t know any. My mom had a White boyfriend through out the 90’s and she really wasn’t ignorant about a person’s race. Once I started to live in the real world, all that ignorance vanished.
15. Describe your Black/White friend in three positive words?
Fun, smart and twilight-ness. (People who knows us knows what he’s talking about)
Witty, reliable, and funny.
16. Does your interracial friendship benefit your life in anyway?
He’s a great friend. Always have a great time & always good with creativity. I bounce ideas off of him because I am a writer.
The only benefit is that I have a great friend.
17. How do you feel about racism?
Pretty much a load of crap and only used by people in power to keep power.
It’s stupid. We all are humans and why hate each other because we don’t get or understand one another. Not to sound cliché but there is only one earth and life. Why waste our time hating each other? Madness.
18. What barriers (If any) have you encountered in cross cultural friendships?
Just breaking the ice; getting to know one another.
19. Do you feel like race is a focal point in your friendship?
Not even close.
20. Do you feel comfortable asking your friend questions about his race & culture? (Ex: Hair, food, etc.)
Yeah. Ask him random inquiries all the time.
I do. And I think we have had conversations about his hair.
21. Do you feel like one race reaches out to another? (White people reaches out to Black people more or vice-versa or equal?)
No. I believe that people reach out to others. Racism just seems to stop people from helping others.
No. with us, it’s a friendship. We’re equals, no other half is better than the other. We respect each one another.
Credits: Featuring Kevin Golden. Opening paragraph edited by Takiyah Asia