Friendships & Race…Black Women & White Women 2011 edition

Today’s post is a repost from July 9, 2008…funny because this topic was on my mind today and before I sat down to write a post, I decided to look it up. That said, while some things I mention in this post are clearly not as relevant today, many still are as I find myself lamenting that back in 2008 I spent a lot of time alone and three years later I still do. Since the time of this original post, I have gone out of my way to meet more people and make connections but in the end there is only one person in Maine I truly feel is a friend. Oddly enough ours was the friendship that almost didn’t happen due to the awkwardness over race. Yet we both took a chance and over the years have addressed the issue of race and in doing so, she is no longer my white friend but my friend who is white and I am her friend who is Black.

But in trying to connect with others particularly women who happen to be white, I still feel that my Blackness at times is a barrier to moving beyond the acquaintance stage, funny that I don’t feel this when it comes to men. Too many times I feel people just don’t know what to say and that puzzles me, what do you say to anyone? I wonder if in our haste to never offend we simply are afraid to go deeper to make those connections.

Yes as woman of different races, we have our differences especially if you have never spent time around a woman of color but ultimately we can have many similarities as well. I am at the stage that while I am not going to beg anyone to be my friend, I admit, I admit I miss the camaraderie of getting together with the girls.

That said I am thankful for my one dear friend who I get and gets me even when she says I don’t get that hair thing…its okay there are a lot of things I don’t get either.

Since moving to Maine, I have spent a lot of time by myself, since when I made the decision to relocate 1100 miles away from family and friends it pretty much meant re-starting over as far as friends. Don’t get me wrong I still have some close friends back in Chicago but the one thing that is missing for me here is just some girls to kick it with. Either Sex and the City Style or Girlfriends style since I couldn’t convince any of my friends back in Chicago to move out with me and the family. (don’t know why they didn’t want to come, LOL)

That said, making friends as an adult, plain ole sucks. It sucks even more when you are a Black woman living in the whitest state in America. That said after a few years the realization that if I were ever going to even have any casual grab a drink buddies, that I might need to expand my horizons to include white women has always left me feeling unsettled.

Now some might find the fact that I am not comfortable with white girlfriends a bit laughable especially when you consider that I have a white husband. I will admit maybe I have some deep down prejudice but the truth is that since the age of 17, its been real hard for me to ever get past the casual acquaintance stage with 99% of the white women I meet. The only exception has been my girl “C” back in Chicago, we used to work together in fact she was my boss, she can work my nerves but on some levels she is the only white woman I have met as an adult who is not walking around with that attitude and air of privilege that seems to infect so many white women at an early age.

No, truthfully my experience is that most white women are looking for a “Mammy” to their Scarlett or maybe even a nice warm Oprah to call a friend and this sista is not the one. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t try to be a bitch, I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt but inevitably on some level it just is never a match. That said I know I am not the only sista who suffers from this dilemma, I recently saw Sex & The City, the movie and was down right offended that one of the girls finally gets a Black “friend”. Carrie needs an assistant and hires Louise (played by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, damn a Oscar winner can’t do better than being a modern day Mammy), interestingly enough I saw this movie with some white woman and while they generally enjoyed the movie, me, I was fuming over how come the helper, the savior had to be a sista? Super Negro woman to the rescue to help restore the fallen white women, um.. no, at this stage in my life that shit is just not happening. I wanna know where is my Mammy to make it all right?

Then again, I thought about it on a large scale, sistas are often portrayed as being strong women, yet white women can just be human and on some level I have seen that at work in my real life relationships. If and when a Black woman shows emotion, its like folks cannot handle it so we stifle that shit which we all know is a bad bad thing, hello health problems.

Even well meaning white women who try to connect with a sista still get it wrong since even when a white woman is not looking for her long lost Mammy, the opposite end is trying so hard that a sista starts feeling like a special Negro pet project. Yep, I have been there, done that and that too does not work for the kid.

I was thinking about the recent primary season here in America and while there were sistas who supported Hillary, there were those of us who just could not buy into her brand of feminism that her white female supporters were selling..

After all many of the loudest and most ardent Hillary supporters where women who cracked the glass ceilings back in the 80′s while keeping some 3rd world woman of color at home tending to her family. As a young Black woman, what would I have in common with that? Not a thing. Its the reason that for sistas like myself feminism will never appeal to me, at least not in the form most commonly espoused by old skool feminists.

Perhaps white women and black women can one day find a common ground when white women can acknowledge the inherent privilege they have by virtue of being white. Until then I suspect most white women will just be casual acquaintances.

4 thoughts on “Friendships & Race…Black Women & White Women 2011 edition”

  1. At this point, all I can handle is acquaintances. Because anyone, it seems, that enters my life — except for the blogging crowd — are a bunch of batshits.

    It’s all about intention and listening. If you (plural) have an open ear and don’t take yourself too seriously everything can work out. At least, in my ideal version of events.

  2. As a 33-year-old black woman, I have been going through this for the past year. Only, I have the opposite problem. For some reason, white women are eager to be my friend, and I wonder why that is. I have my suspicions, however. Especially, when I feel like they want to relegate me to the supporting character to their starring role.

    Quite honestly, I have not felt the need for a best friend for a year or so. After a disappointment with what I thought were going to be my black besties, I just let go of the idea of having to have a best friend to feel whole/accepted/normal. I am very happy with casual friendships right now. Maybe that will change later, but as for right now, I’m good.

  3. Of course I loved this… It’s our mutual willingness to speak our minds maybe even especially when it’s the weirdest or most risky thoughts to share that makes me trust you more than most.

  4. It took me a long time to realize that I don’t have to have the same kind of friendship with everyone who comes along. Now I have certain friends who I rely on (and who rely on me!) for certain kinds of support, and I feel much happier. Thanks for sharing this.

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