Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It Was Supposed to be Better by Now - Friends

Studies have been done.  No matter what we may think, we have more positive feelings about people who are like us; and the strongest, first cue is if they look like us.  Psychologists speculate that this is a survival instinct; people who look like us may be part of our tribe, people who don't may be dangerous strangers.

But we are more advanced than that, we can reason our way out of this.  The problem is, first impressions are still powerful.  At some point, to form friendship outside your tribe, you are going to have to be uncomfortable.

Now, the standard line is, "But I have friends who are ______."

So, can we talk about that a little bit?  White person to white person?

I'm not going to say what I have heard over the years.  I'm not going to ask if you go to each other's homes.  I used to hear that and feel all kinds of guilt, but the truth is I'm an introvert with social anxiety, and I hardly ever invite people over and I'm always uncomfortable going into other people's space.  We all have different personalities on this one.

The real question is this; is your friendship the same as it is with your friends of your same race?

Do you tell the same jokes?  I am not asking if you tell jokes about race sometimes.  Some of these jokes poke fun at racist assumptions.  But will you tell that same joke, if it is otherwise appropriate to the occasion and your sweet old aunt isn't there?  Or maybe you are just a known a'hole and sometimes you just tell inappropriate jokes to anyone.  My son is like that; he will acknowledge that he shouldn't tell it, then go ahead and tell it - to anyone.  And he will take the crap for it. But he still has a rainbow of friends, because he really does treat everybody the same.

Can your friend who is a different race be themselves around you?  Can you be yourself around them?  Can you comfortably hang out, talk about your dreams, cry on each other's shoulders?  Can you mess up, apologize, and move on?

Are they only your friend as long as they do not make you uncomfortable?  As long as they do not act too ______ (black, gay, religious, geeky)?

If you really want to grow and become the best human you can be, then sometimes you have to be uncomfortable.  Sometimes you have to listen to things you don't want to hear.  Things that maybe show you the world in a different way.  Sometimes, you need to be able to hear difficult truths about yourself.  Been there, done that, it is hard sometimes.

In the end, though, you have to value the honesty.  If you can't speak honestly and hear honestly, then they are not your friend.  At most, they are a close acquaintance.

BTW, I have to say this uncomfortable thing.  If you don't have friends like this of another race, but you do have sex fantasies about a particular race and try to hook up with them, that is not the opposite of being a racist.  That is having a kink.  People who have a kink know that they need to be discreet in finding a partner (partners?) to share that with.  If you are not being discreet, you are being creepy and can expect rejection more often than not.  That is not being a friend, either.

Housekeeping note:  I have a busy evening tomorrow and will not have time to write and post, so I will have to skip a day.  I have at least two more concepts  I want to explore on this subject.  If you have any questions at any time I would love to hear them, just understand I will be honest in my opinion.  Also, if you feel I have missed something, please do speak up.  This goes double if you are not white and feel I'm say something wrong.  I know that I am not perfect and that I cannot possibly understand it all, so I treasure your perspective.

I really want this to be a conversation towards getting better.

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