Disclaimer: I love my friends. This post isn’t meant to bash anyone or make people feel bad. Just getting my thoughts out.
As I write this, I’m trying to place my finger on what exactly made me pump the brakes on my other projects and work on this. I’m hesitant about even publishing this, but at the end of the day, I feel like it’s important for me to get this off my chest, so here we go…
In my college circle of friends, I’m the black friend.
Within this generally white group of friends, I’m used to hearing statements like, “you’re my only black friend”, which also means that questions about my hair and skin are commonplace. For the most part, these things don’t bother me, because I know that they come from innocent places, and I feel like it’s my duty to inform my white friends of certain things. Cool. I get that.
But every once in a while, the weight of that label gets to me, and I become frustrated. When you’re the black friend, you’re often times the only one who sees things wrong with what somebody says concerning race. When you’re the black friend , you sometimes feel like you shouldn’t speak on something because you know that everyone expects you to pull the race card. When you’re the black friend, you feel like you have to explain yourself to people who might not get you.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: Why is my race even important within my friend group, or better yet, why do I self-identify as the black friend? Wouldn’t it be easier if I attempted to shut the obvious out, and just be the funny friend, or the sensible friend? Surely the weight of those labels aren’t as burdensome, right?
Some days, I’m sure that it would be easier to ignore the obvious and just identify as another friend, but in all honesty, that’s something that I’m not wholly comfortable doing; my blackness is a part of me, and I have no plans to downplay that. I don’t buy into the idea of a “post-racial” society, nor do I understand why anyone would want to overlook something that makes us different. That just doesn’t seem progressive to me.
So now what? How do I go about wrapping all of that up?
To be honest, I have no idea. Wrapping things up has never been one of my strong suits, but I do like the way that I feel now; my frustrations are out, and I feel lighter, so in my mind, this post did was it was supposed to do. No lengthy conclusions or quotes necessary.
Until next time…