The issue isn’t white but black
I idolize wanting friendship and more contact with people of the same race. One of the common complaints I have about my life is that I don’t have contact with enough black people. I have plenty of white friends—that’s no issue. I have a set of diverse friends: Filipino, Indian/Sikh, Ethiopian/Muslim. But few black friends. I actually can count on one hand the number of black friends who aren’t related to me. My white friends are too numerous to count.
This is a problem. Somehow I’ve made it an issue that it’s important to surround myself with more black friends so I can be more “in tune” with black culture. I don’t fully understand the talk about white supremacy. I only partially understand the idea of white privilege and don’t fully agree with it. Ferguson was a big deal but how did it suddenly become a turning point in race relations? The deaths of Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and Sandra Bland are tragic, but how are they significant in the sense of how they play a larger role in racism?
You’d think because I’m black that these things would automatically make sense to me. But they don’t. I think Freddie Gray was surrounded by idiot cops, Tamir Rice was shot by a cop who should have never been let out of academy, and Sandra Bland paid the price of nervousness around a cop for failing to signal. (I have been guilty of the same when seeing a cop behind me; moving out of the way is instinctive and automatic. I make sure that my failing to signal doesn’t happen now.)
I don’t necessarily see race as the main factor in all these but I do think they play a role on some level. Had Sandra Bland been white, she would have had a slap on the wrist and been let go. A cop who saw a white boy with a gun would have been a bit more cautious about opening fire than making hasty judgments. And Freddie Gray was the victim of being a black man who seemed untrustworthy and would do or say anything to get out of being arrested.
I want to understand these things. I even want to understand these things to the point of agreeing with them. How is that white people get these concepts and I don’t? Is white guilt truly a thing that causes white people to hate themselves and blame their own race for injustices upon other races?
These are all questions I’m asking myself and wrestling with. I may never have a significant friendship with another black woman. And I need to be okay with that. Because I have friendships with wonderful people: secular and religious. They all teach me something and all make me a better person in different ways. And those kinds of friendships transcend all boundaries of race.