It Takes More Than Some Pictures To Say You Have Black Friends
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Politics and Activism

It Takes More Than Some Pictures To Say You Have Black Friends

You see my skin. Do you understand my life?

It Takes More Than Some Pictures To Say You Have Black Friends

Now that the Black Lives Matter movement has reached a global scale reacting to the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests of police brutality and racial discrimination, true colors are being shown, and a major shift has occurred with speaking out.

I've seen this trend of non-Black people posting pictures with their Black friend(s), and it's actually more insulting than calming. Most, not all, posts are shallow and only serve white guilt, which is clear through attempts to make yourself feel better without actually doing anything.

It takes more than some pictures to say you have black friends.

"I'm not racist, I have a Black friend."

OK, and what do you have to show for it? That statement alone is one of the most triggering phrases to hear. There are plenty of cases where people have black friends who do not call out offensive behavior.

I've literally lost friends because I'm not afraid to tell them what they're doing is wrong. Having relationships with people of color does not give you a free pass to use slurs, make jokes, or not contribute to racial reconciliation.

My best friend is Italian, but she doesn't treat me like a prop for vindication. We talk about everything including this sensitive subject naturally learning more about each other, not because we have to. I have a voice, and I'm happy that she doesn't muzzle me.

You shouldn't apologize for being the color you were born into, but there is no excuse to not know anymore.

You may have a friend who is Black, but are you actually seeing them? How do you educate yourself outside the month of February? How has this friendship influenced your way of thinking?

I could have a TED Talk describing the tensions and ignorant people I've crossed paths with, all the lily-white friend groups who offend but make excuses that they didn't know. Preference becomes prejudice when you choose to remain ignorant.

Honestly, what are you trying to prove?

This is a delicate balance since many people sending messages mean well and want to be helpful and thoughtful but can't find the words to say. What's most provoking is how many people are making responses when they've been on the other side of racial tensions doing nothing to stop it.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but your timing can twist the message.

Change only lasts as long as the impact. Unless white people are making a constant effort to listen, learn, and actually change from recognizing our culture, struggles and even their privilege, there's always a chance for things to get worse.

There is a need to be intentional about diversity without pandering to culture.

Being someone who has been the only Black person in a dorm hall, youth group, and possibly a token Black friend to few, I became known to start a dialogue about race from just one sentence. They usually involve typical terms like the race card, reverse racism, and colorblindness.

I am so thankful to have been born to older parents because they raised me with the awareness I needed for my everyday life from their reality and prepared me to protect myself and educate others.

People who respond to these protests with "All Lives Matter" are missing the point. All lives should matter, but we need to focus on how Black lives need to be equally seen as valuable compared to other races. There are some uncomfortable conversations that need to be had in order for things to get better.

When reaching out to show support for or make Black friends, come correct with the motives and make the most out of the opportunity.

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