Friendships and Race- Black women and white women

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.

19 thoughts on “Friendships and Race- Black women and white women”

  1. I have never had any white friends….being an Arizona native I had plenty of opportunity lol, but I never could find the appeal in white chicks. They are needy and dramatic and they smell weird and I do not relate to them on any level. I’ve always found everything I needed in my own people.

  2. There’s a Catch-22 in race relations that you touch on clearly. Despite our informal but real segregation, all black people know how to operate in white spaces far better than many white people can operate in black spaces. It hurts my heart that white women have caused you pain because *you* are both wonderful and human. Individually, you are too awesome to be treated badly. Collectively, no human deserves to be treated with disdain for reasons that are beyond their control.
    But, dang. As a white woman, I still feel I’m getting it wrong somehow when I interact with black women. Am I really getting it wrong? Or am I caught up in trying not to get it wrong, so I’m overly sensitive? I don’t know.

    I do have friends, who are black women. But, as an example of me not being sure if I’m fucking it up , I found out a friend likes to read. She had a grandma, who was a librarian. She grew up going to grandma’s house and reading. I love to read! So I asked, “What do you like to read?” That’s a question I would ask anyone, but a shadow went across her face and I realized that my innocent question may have been a micro-aggression to her because racists and bigots don’t think black people can be intellectually equal (much less far superior!) to white people. And then I felt awkward and awkwardly changed the subject and OH MY GOD, THIS IS SO HARD. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?
    TL; DR: It isn’t up to black people to fix racism. That task is clearly on white people. However, when a white person is honestly trying to engage, meeting them half-way helps. No one should endure racism, prejudice, bigotry, or micro-aggressions, but it saddens me that white people have been awful to black people for so long that the automatic (yet understandable) reaction is “SHIELDS UP!” from black people.

  3. im doing a small research study on females being friends with different races for my research and statistics class. I chose this area because my bff is a black woman and I am a white woman and it still suprises me when we go out to eat or go shopping the stares we sometimes get. I will never understand prejudice. We are all just people and if given a chance, they would meet some really amazing indivduals!

  4. Over a year later, but I gotta respond; what a great post this was. I’m in my late 20s, actually my last 20..but I digress..and I don’t get the mammy, rather, I’m the sista-girl to every white woman or rather, gay white, male, and that drives me crazy. I can honestly say my BFF is a white woman from North Dakota, but I think we’re able to friends, and really good friends, because I’m okay with her country ways and she’s okay with sista-girl ways, and neither one of us is trying to be what we expect the other to want us to be. I hope that makes sense.

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