Letter from Your Black Friend
Dear (Insert Your Name),
You know me. I am your friend, your companion, and hopefully your partner in crime. I am also Black. However, I am not just your Black friend. I have a name. I hope you’re thinking of it now. There are just a few things I need for you to keep in mind.
For one, please don’t point to me when someone tries to call you racist. My presence isn’t proof of your generosity and kindness. It is not a testament to your character or impartialness or open-mindedness. Me being Black has nothing to do with you, so don’t pretend it does.
I need you to know that I am more than the stereotypes society confines me to. Please don’t assume I’ll teach you how to dance. Yes, some Black people can be rhythmically challenged too. I may not be able to keep you up on all the new rap and hip-hop. I may hate watermelon and fried chicken. I may love to swim or sail or horseback ride too. None of these things determine my blackness. Thus, don’t dare call me an Oreo. Don’t joke and say I’m not really black. When I voice my anger, I’m not being hood or ghetto. Because the thing is, you can’t measure my blackness. It’s not something for you to judge or report on. It’s not in the way I speak or act, so don’t look for it there. Black is the color of my skin. Period.
Lastly, talk to me. Be open and honest, constantly questioning yourself and things you think to be true. Don’t be afraid to be curious, just don’t be disrespectful. You know the difference, so don’t act like it’s a difficult thing. Treat me the way you would want to be treated. The golden rule reigns true especially here and between us. Because if you get nothing else from this, remember I am your friend first and foremost.
Your Black Friend
by Amaree Gardner