Um...No...We Can't Be Friends
One thing I've noticed in various blogs and comments is a statement from black people who will say something like, "My friend would never date a black man/woman." And I also wonder: why the hell are you friends with that person?
This sort of thing bugs the living hell out of Moi. The day a "friend" admits they would never date a black person is the day they stop being my "friend."
The way I see it, there's no valid reason for not dating one of us. You're either racist, self-hating, or a coward - none of which are attractive qualities in a friend. I think we cut our friends extra slack because we think we're judging them by entirely different standards from the ones we use with significant others. We're not. Friends are supposed to be attractive too. They're supposed to have your back, they're supposed to understand you (or at least try), they're supposed to respect you, and they're never supposed to think you and people like you are less than they are in any way. The moment they do, they're not your friend.
But Ankh, everyone has their preference!
Mm-hm...and "preference" is the racist mot du jour.
Moving on now....
But Ankh, that's their choice!
Um, yeah...you can choose to rob a bank. You can choose to shoot up heroin. You can choose to cut a bitch. The fact that it's your choice doesn't make it okay.
After living in state that's 96% white, I got fed up with "friends" like these really quickly. They wanted me to be their one black friend/Magical Negress/racial debate insurance/sounding board all in one. They want to denigrate black people in one conversation, then come to my house for pizza in another. Fuck that.
Now some of you are saying, "Duh," but that's because I just mentioned white people. Over on the Blasian Narrative, I've read comments by black women who are friends with Asian guys who would never date black women...you know, because of family pressures. That's becoming a get-out-of-jail-free card amongst Blasians. Why? Black people tend to judge our fellow POC by a slightly different standard from the one we use with whites, and in many cases, it's reeeeaaaallllly not kosher.
Not at the Price of Us
A cowardly person from a racist family does not a great friend make. There's nothing redeemable in that situation. It's pretty much toxic all around. A true friend is supposed have your back, respect you, and weather the storm with you until the end. A spineless twit from an anti-black family ain't gonna make that happen.
It doesn't matter how great their sense of humor is, or if they mix the best drinks, or if they're willing to watch marathons of your favorite nerdy show with you. Contrary to popular belief, you can find that shit anywhere, if you simply look hard enough. And this is precisely what trips people up: humans are not all bad. With the bad comes some good, but that's not the issue. The question we should all ask ourselves is: could this person come through for me when it really matters? And if there's the tiniest whisper in the back of your mind that says no, make the break quick and clean.
This too shall pass
Making the break quick and clean is rarely easy because the other person never seems to let it be that simple. They whine about being called a racist or spineless, and then try to make it all about your being selfish or judgmental or whatever. Do not debate. Roll with the punches. They can be mad all they want; it's not going to change anything. You're not going to be friends - end of story. You won't be taking their calls and they are not welcome in your home. If they contact you after the conversation ends, tell them you'll get a restraining order.
Some may try to change, claiming they've seen the error of their ways. Good for them. Doesn't mean shit to you; it's bullshit. You don't cease being racist overnight. You don't spend 2-3 decades being a punk and then suddenly grow a pair. People can change, make no mistake; but the older they are, the longer it takes. "You were right and I was wrong" means absolutely nothing.
And don't feel bad about hurting their feelings, because once you get rid of them one of three things will happen:
1) They will make a concerted effort to change. Believe or not, being called a racist or dickless can be quite a wake-up call for some folks.
2) They'll just find another version of you, dust themselves off, and try again.
3) They'll continue being the utterly worthless, miserable waste of space they are, but they will find a friend who's less likely to call them out on it.
Questions? Comments? Dirty looks?
Blast from the Past
The "Culture" Excuse
Black Women, Stop Being the "Platonic Friend"
See also "Memory Laning"