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Posts Tagged ‘friendships’

What’s the female version of an Uncle Tom?

April 30, 2017 Leave a comment

img_1542This is it. I am turning the corner and shedding my attempts at being welcomed and accepted by the black community. This journey is my own. I will go my own way.

35 years and I am finally here. I will still have my moments of regression but I have since learned that several members of the black community have turned their backs on me after learning that I am pro-life and do not support Planned Parenthood. If this is what isolates me from the black community, so be it. I will fight for the right for developing cells/human beings/fetuses/babies to live.

It doesn’t matter that we probably agree on everything else. No war. No death penalty. No injustice. Social justice for racial minorities. Undocumented immigrants. LGBTQIA+ community. Trump is a lunatic.

I’m tired of hearing tirades against white people. I’m so over it. Stop ranting against white people, band together, and DO something other than protest.

I’m tired of blaming whitey for everything. Did whitey do their fair share of oppressing black people back in the day? Yes. But it’s  significantly better for black people to advance in 2017 than in 1967. The white people who oppressed black people aren’t the ones in power anymore. A new generation arose that rebelled against the segregation of their parents. Did anyone give any thought to those white people who thought segregation was wrong and unjust? (Just like the white people who thought slavery was wrong and unjust during the Civil War era?)

And then there’s the issue of reparations for black people. No, thank you. White people can keep their money and their land. See how well reparations worked out for Native Americans? Government-protected reservations with high crime rate, high gambling problems, high suicide rate, high drug use, and high alcohol use. Nope. No support for reparations from this here colored girl.

I’m a black American princess. I went to a Catholic school K-12. Started at NYU with $18K in grants and scholarships and graduated from Hofstra on LI with departmental honors. I interned for a high-profile NY senator for a semester. I was a successful, established sole proprietor for several years after a full-time stint as an entry-level editorial assistant didn’t work out.

All along the way, the people who reached out to me and helped me along to get me to the next level were…guess who?

White people.

In grade school, other black students made fun of me and cut me down as I tried to assert myself as a young, smart girl.

In middle school, the black kids (and “wiggas”) would shut me out of their core group while white people interested in their education would interact with me and eventually become lifelong friends.

In high school, perhaps the roughest period of my schooling, I attempted desperately to fit in with my black peers only to get made fun of or used for my intelligence for the next quiz or test. The only students who were willing to offer friendship without strings attached were white people.

Even the one black boyfriend I dated (in an effort to gain credibility with the black community) dumped me after he made an attempt to have sex with me and I kept to my vow of purity.

So the long and short of it is, black people and I just don’t get along. It’s taken me 35 years to realize this but better now than later. I will never have a black BFF. And I need to be OK with that. Because I have so many wonderful friends—of all other races, though mostly white—who I can rely on.

This is an issue that’s on my mind so I’ll probably be blogging about it for a bit. But I needed to get it out that white people are not my enemy. They literally are my friends.

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The issue isn’t white but black

January 6, 2016 1 comment

black and white

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.

Favorite Thing about Myself

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

“Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.”

I’m a loyal friend. Always have been. I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been loyal to a person. Problem for me is that being loyal opens me up to being burned. Betrayal is not something I really do so when it’s done to me, it stings worse than a wasp. I have been betrayed more times than I have betrayed.

But once I’m someone’s friend, I’m a friend for life unless he or she conspires to really hurt me. I’ve had falling outs with friends and made amends (sometimes to the point where I should have let the friendship go). I’ve also had falling outs, tried to make amends and was not successful.

I’m not loyal in everything—I haven’t worked at a company for 10 years. And if I get burned professionally, I’m not above cutting myself off from that connection. But if I could choose one favorite thing about myself, it’s that I’m a loyal friend, and it’s the reason that I am still friends with some of my former middle-school classmates. I feel very fortunate to have the friends that I do.

Categories: Personal, Prompts Tags: , ,

Thoughts on Death and Other Life Lessons

August 24, 2011 1 comment

Image from feedyouradhd.blogspot.com

Note: This post is extremely long after the jump. I’ve broken it out into sections. It’s a compilation of thoughts after losing a dear friend to late-detected, aggressive liver cancer. She’s the first friend (non-family member) I’ve ever lost to death.


This week has been a rather trying week. On the same day that my husband was admitted to the hospital for a nasty Staph infection, I learned that my friend and talented hairstylist Stephanie was in the process of dying and by the afternoon, had passed away.

I’m very much in shock over learning of her death as it was only last week that she called me and weakly told me that they had just released her from the hospital and that she’d get better soon. Never did I think that would be the last time I would speak to her. I just figured I’d text her again this week to see how she’s doing. Although Steph had beaten breast cancer earlier this year in February, she developed liver cancer that went undetected in the interim—and it rapidly progressed to the point where there was nothing the doctors could do.

Sometimes, death is so sudden and comes without a warning. One part of my brain has accepted the news of her death as a fact. The other part of my brain (or perhaps, my heart, really) keeps saying, “No way. Nope. She’s not dead. This is all just an illusion and she’s at home and she’ll be fine. She’ll bounce back. That’s what she did before and it’s what she’ll do again. In no time, I’ll be sitting in her chair and we’ll be chatting up the latest movies and music.”

I think of all the close people in my life who have passed away: my uncle, my father, my husband’s grandfather, and now my dear friend. In each instance, I either saw or spoke to the person shortly before the person died. In one of those instances, I prepped myself, but I was still young and the news came to me as a shock regardless.

Believe it or not, my favorite verse in dealing with death is John 11:35 in which the Bible says, “Jesus wept.” Two simple words. How can they be so powerful?

I am reminded that even though Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead in a matter of minutes, in his humanity, Jesus felt the pain of death at that moment. The irreversible effects of the Fall may have weighed heavily on Jesus as he reflected that death isn’t the natural order of things. Death isn’t supposed to happen. The god-man knew that death was never what God originally intended for man to experience. Because while death takes the life of loved ones, death on this side of heaven doesn’t have the most impact on the person dying; death has the most impact on the people who are left behind as a result of the person’s passing.

Death is a cruel thing to wrestle with. One minute a person is here in our lives, impacting us, shaping us, affecting us; the next moment, the person is gone, life extinguished from the body, never to speak, embrace, or breathe again.

Think of major catastrophic events that have occurred throughout U.S. history: September 11, the 2011 occurrence of devastating tornadoes in the Midwest (namely Missouri), Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, Hurricane Katrina, even the 1989 World Series Earthquake. All of these pretty much came out of the blue with little to no warning. Even with hurricane warnings for Katrina, no one could have foreseen the impact that it would have had on the levees that broke. One minute people were fine. The next, they were not; some were injured, some were homeless, and some had died. While I don’t have any scientific proof, human brains tend to process things gradually. That’s why we like “transitions.” It provides an appropriate smooth shift from one thing to another in which without that shift, the change in events would be jarring.

Death is its own form of personal catastrophe to the people it impacts. Each and every single time. It is not natural and it shouldn’t happen. Jesus knew this. That’s why he cried before he raised Lazarus from the dead. I used to think it was merely an example from Jesus giving humans permission to grieve over a loved one. The older I get, the more I realize “Jesus wept” for real. That hurt was real and deep. Jesus raised Lazarus as an example, but Jesus also knew that this was temporary. Lazarus would die again. And his death would be much more semi-permanent.

I may have a funeral this weekend to go to in which I say goodbye to Steph’s body. Perhaps I’ll be able to say hello to her again at another point. Read more…

Day 11 of Enjoying God: Friendships

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

A friend, who I haven’t seen in a while, is coming over to spend the night. Since we haven’t formally caught up with each other’s lives for the past couple of months, I’m looking forward to spending time with her and talking about what God is doing in her life.

I wish I was just as eager to spend time with God as I am with my friend. In John 15:15, Jesus says to his disciples:

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Friends tend not to withhold information about what is going on in our lives. With bosses, people are much more formal and keep themselves (and their information) at arm’s length. Jesus does not refer to himself as our boss or our master; he calls us friends and invites us to know more about him.

Knowing the Lord as friend—discovering his qualities, attributes, and who he is—will not only allow us to enjoy God more, but it will encourage us to come to him and lay all of our concerns and joys before him.

 

Three Lessons I Learned Today

January 23, 2010 2 comments

1. I am prideful. My husband pointed out that it’s a trait I get from my mother, attempting to look like I have it all together. “Well, when you put it that way…” I said with a shiver running down my spine. My mother’s need to look like she had it all together kept my father from getting treatment for his paranoia/schizophrenia and kept his sisters out of the dark for too many years. Knowing that quality exists in me is a rather scary thought.

I went to a prayer retreat today and again, tried to act like I had it all together. Truth be told, I’ve been going through a spiritual drought. My prayers have consisted of nothing but “why” questions and I earnestly began to pray that I would seek to “know God more than my need to understand Him.” Through the guidance and counseling of two wonderful Christian friends, they prayed with me and reminded me of God’s promises through Scripture. My faith began to see the beginnings of restoration. Read more…

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