Monday, October 8, 2007

Some of my best friends are white....

One of my coworkers and I had a very interesting conversation at work today. I like working with this cat because we talk about any and everything. He is a die hard Republican and I do not give my allegiance to any party. He is a country boy and I was born and raised in the inner city. He is married to a white woman and my wife is a straight up sista. It may sound like we do not have any thing in common, but we do. (Yes this guy is black)

Any way the convo we engaged in today was about race. I told him that the commercials that we see everyday on T.V. are not a real representation of the way things are in America. I told him if you want to find out the real story about race in America, watch all the popular sitcoms. Let me explain....

Almost every commercial that you see on your 50 inch plasma shows someone of African descent kicking it with a bunch of people of European descent. There may be 1 or sometimes 2 minorities (blacks) surrounded by a group of the majority(whites). Everyone in the commercial is laughing and having a good time. I have no problem with that, because we are all Americans, and we should all be represented. However, the commercials put on the illusion that blacks and whites live together, work together and play together, which we do not. They try to paint the picture that here in the good 'ole US of A, we are all one big happy family, which we are not.

I have a couple of white friends, and sometimes I go out and hang with them. I think everyone should have a couple of friends of a different race because it helps bridge the gap between the races. This is how we learn about each other and put an end to all the negative stereotypes that are out there about the races. But even though I have white friends, I know that they do not see the America that I see, and I do not see the America that they see, but that is the subject for another post.

None of my white friends live in my part of Dallas. None of my white friends play in my part of Dallas. The only thing we do is work together. At the end of the day, I get on the interstate going south, and they get on the interstate going north. On the occasion that we decide to hang together we have to meet each other half way.

When we hang out most of the time I am the only black guy surrounded by 1 or 2 white guys. We all get those looks like, what is he doing with them, or what are they doing with him. (from black people and white people) I do not know if they notice it or not, but I do. But I ignore the ignorance, because these guys are cool.

We always end up having a good time together, but at the end of the night, I get on the interstate going south, and they get on the interstate going north. "Peace man. Drive safe. I will see you Monday at the office."

That is nothing like the happy go lucky commercials that you see all day everyday on your 50 inch plasma, huh?

However the sitcoms that come on every night paint a different picture. You have a bunch of whites that only hang with other whites. (If you watch the WB you have a bunch of blacks that only hang with other blacks.) The only time you see anybody of color or anybody white on any of these shows is when the writers want to reinforce the negative stereotypes that we have about each other.

When have you seen anybody black on 2 And a Half Men? When have you seen anybody white on All Of Us?

This is the America I live in.

We are more separated now than we have ever been. But in this day and time it is by choice. People tend to go where they are most comfortable. They tend to do things that they understand. I bet the average white person could not tell me who Pam Grier is and I would bet that the average black person has not sit down and watched a full episode of Friends. I do not live around any white people, my suburban neighborhood of single family homes is mostly black, with a few Hispanics sprinkled here and there. The clubs I go to are majority black, and the restaurants my wife and I go to are majority black.

I live in a color coded country. It is a damn shame, but it is true. I respect my white friends and I like hanging with them sometimes, but I know that we live , work and play in 2 different Americas.

I live in a black America. I play in a black America. I may work in a white America, but I know I am still black in America.

There is no illusion to that.


Jazzylady said...

ok. So. I wanna know how you beat me to it? I wanna know how you got there first when this very subject has been rattling around in my head for the past couple of weeks, and I suppose now I have to write it. And what about that danged digital divide? Have you ever noticed how much of a one there is? How we blog black and stay in our own neighborhoods? I mean we don't really blog at places like dkos, Atrios, firedoglake, who are all white, and in fact you feel like an outsider there, brrr.

brightstarr said...

"I live in a black America. I play in a black America. I may work in a white America, but I know I am still black in America." - Very well said! I grew up (as most of us do) in the two worlds. Grew up in the inner city, but forged a couple documents to attend schools in the white suburbs. Had white friends at school. Black friends at home. The two groups never mixed - well almost. I remember feeling horrified when my mother invited my white friends to a surprise b-day party where the two groups met. My white friends were scared shitless being in the HOOD and stayed in the corner the whole time, lol. I think everyone realizes there's a huge racial divide in this country - however, many do not admit it. It's simply the way things have always been.

Becks said...

Okay, this post is more than a year old but as relevant today. I live in this world only I live it in South Africa. I am in a mostly white academic insitution, live in a dominantly white neighbourhood (because its the safest...brainwashing?). How did I find your blog? I complained yesterday to a friend about a 5day hiking trip I just returned from. 'My body hurts' I lamented. 'What the fuck did you think you were doing!? You know black people don't do that shit!!' Another friend commented, 'Oooh you need to read the book: Some of my best friends are white.' Hahahahaha. I was the only black person in the hiking group.

Mike said...

Don't know how I stumbled across this blog, but I found it really interesting. I'm a conservative white guy - I have a few black friends, but most of my friends are white (big surprise, right?). I've never understood why some guilt-ridden white people feel the need to seek out black friends, just for the sake of 'having black friends'. To me, that is the real problem... white people being fake. The friends that I have that are black, would be my friends if they were white, yellow, brown, blue, green, whatever. I think we appreciate that it's a real friendship. I have no problem that they prefer going to a black church, or black clubs. It's where they feel comfortable. After all, why would they want to go to some country bar with me? haha. We do stuff that we have in common... watch college football, play basketball at the park, fire up the grill and get drunk, etc. When you have real relationships, race is no longer a big deal.