So several months ago I caught an episode of Hollywood Exs. This is a reality show on VH1 with a diverse array of celebrity ex wives. They are black, white, Hispanic, biracial. For the most part everyone seemed cool. Until one woman said white women and black women can’t really be friends. The woman who said it was white and she shared it with the other white woman in the group who of course shared it with everyone in the group. Of course drama ensued. Some were angry, some were hurt, some just ate popcorn and watched the show.
To defend herself the white woman said she had said it in a moment of anger to the other white woman in the group after a black woman (not in the group) had been nasty to her upon seeing the white woman with her black boyfriend. In that moment she didn’t focus on the fact that she had a circle of friends who were black. She was wrapped in her feelings.
So this got me thinking about race. Is race an inhibiter to developing deep meaningful friendships? I strongly think not. I think “walks of life”, class, and neighborhood are bigger denominators for friendship. As long as you are able to have open, honest conversations with your friends then there is no reason why you can’t have friends of different races. It’s when we put up walls of our own making that inhibit real friendship.
If I think I can’t talk about race with a friend then it’s already going to be a problem. As a woman of color, race is going to play a role in my life in some manner. If I can’t mention to a white friend that I am frustrated by something and get either her sympathy or at least open to real and respectful conversation about it then we have a problem. I think this country has to get past the idea of airing dirty laundry to people of other groups. I think we have to stop lumping races in categories based on a negative experience. The reality is, in our history, without the support of people outside our own groups who is to say we would be where we are now? Truth be told, you don’t need to be a part of a group to have a human connection with a person of another race.
Sure TV shows us that real friends are typically of the same race but why? Even if that is the norm, TV is fiction, lets buck the trend. Would Sex and the City, Girlfriends, Friends or Living Single be less effective if there was diversity in the cast? All I know is, I don’t want a friendship that is not authentic, open and honest and it doesn’t have to be with a person of my race to have a true blue pal.