I was watching a reality show recently and this white woman on the show expressed her opinion on interracial friendships. She said, “White girls and black girls just don’t mix.” Now I found this crazy coming from this particular woman as she had multiple black girlfriends and dated black men, but to her black girls and white girls do not mix.
Now I come from New York City, so just like my diverse city, my friends have always been different shades and ethnicities. In elementary school my best friend was Dominican and in middle school I had a range of black and brown friends. In high school, I left my city and went elsewhere, but my friends were still just as diverse; Black, Brown, White, and Asian. That’s the thing about me; I have never had a problem making friends. When you have a personality that people gravitate to, being a few shades darker or lighter than them does not change anything.
Of course I would be lying to myself if I acted like there are not people in this world who pick their friends according to their skin tone. I would also be lying if I acted like sometimes I never want to talk to a black person about an issue, because I believe they might empathize with me. But my White friends are just as important to me as my Black and Asian friends, because I value personality. I value someone who is going to be there when I need help, or someone who when I need to talk will listen to me. Even when they do not understand what I am talking about, they will still listen. That is friendship.
Friendship is not about having someone share the same traits as you. Having the same skin color, hair type, socioeconomic class, and personality does not make you a great friend. Yes, in this world humans separate themselves into groups and we prefer to be with our “own.” That is just human nature, but we can be flexible with our minds and meet new people. One of my closest friends is white and she has been my friend since high school. We used to live in the same building and now we live miles away from each other. But for the two years we have been separated, we are still good friends. I am not her friend because she is white and I am sure she is not my friend because I am black. I am her friend because she is an awesome, smart, and humble girl. And being her friend does not mean I lose who I am as a black woman. She is different from me and I love that. And that is the thing about friendship; you do not have to see that person everyday to be their friend. (I learned that from my mother!) You do not have to change yourself to be their friend. It’s about the times when you do talk and see each other and see that the friend dynamic has not changed one bit.
My closest friend from college is a black girl; we even share the same zodiac sign! Our birthdays are five days apart, but she is bubbly and sweet and I am the firecracker in our relationship. She is different from me and I love that. Are you sensing a trend? We see each other every week and despite distance we still talk. I value what people are on the inside, so the people who limit what their friends look like are just limiting themselves in life. But that does not mean that everyone should start molding his or her friend group like the rainbow spectrum, because that would just be weird and offensive. Be open and genuine with people and you will get the same in return.
So it is not a question of whether black girls and white girls mix, it is a question of whether you and I mix.