This is originally from an entry on my Medium blog
A personal rant. Hear me out…I promise it’s not petty
Now, purely on a systemic level, there are many reasons to inherently be less than trusting of white people (and anyone who’s familiar with my writings so far is probably well-aware of that already). But that’s not what this piece is about. This is more on an individual, interpersonal level…and perhaps how that level relates to the systemic level.
So, I once had this friend who I felt very close with — we chartered and helped build a leather club together, traveled together, regularly had intimate conversations…he was even the first person I reached out to and confided in when I was diagnosed with HIV. Frankly, he could be a bit of an ass and would spread drama and bullshit wherever he went, but I always stuck up for him because I knew him through the bullshit, and felt like he would do the same for me. By just about any measure that matters, I considered him family, and I honestly thought the world of him.
…but that all changed as my social views continued to evolve.
He’s a faithful democrat, so once I grew to become critical of how party feeds into white supremacy, his true colors swiftly came out. We had a short back-and-forth when one of my posts (concerning democrats’ sense of entitlement to Black people) hit his privilege a bit too hard and then I never heard from him again. After a few weeks of silence from him, while seeing him comment on everyone else’s posts, it dawned on me that he unfollowed me without unfriending me (HATE that shit, by the way). So I just quietly unfriended him, and we haven’t spoken since.
Earlier today, I was scrolling through my profile, trying to find an old post, when I noticed his profile on a comment he left was blacked out, meaning he’d blocked me, and it was likely recent. ?
As a socially conscious Black person, I’m used to being vilified by people for the simple fact that speaking inconvenient truths makes them uncomfortable. But no matter how accustomed I am to that reality, that it could happen with someone I once felt so close to just, plain hurts.
He was long supportive and receptive of my activism and opinions…until the very second I hit his “liberal limit” and challenged his, personal relationship with his white privilege. Once that happened, he flipped and erased me like it was nothing.
I’ve lost so many white friends and associates over the last 2 years that I can’t even begin to keep count. It doesn’t usually faze me too much, but a few of them really do hurt and this is one of them. I thought the world of him and loved him like a brother — and he knew it — but that wasn’t good enough. His allegiance to happily continuing to uphold the aspects of white supremacy that he was comfortable with, without question, was stronger than his connection to me. It’s something that’s so typical for a socially conscious Black person with white friends that it shouldn’t be the least bit shocking…..yet here we are.
I go through all of that to say, if friendships with white people are that fragile, that so many of them can so easily dismissyou for the simple fact that you make them uncomfortable (and not to mention, you know that being dismissive of systemic racism and white privilege is a default for them, in general), then where’s the incentive to easily and freely bring more of that into your life? Where’s the incentive to just jump into to new friendships when you can already predict the likely outcome?
I can handle gaslighting and mild abuse from randoms on Twitter…that’s nothing — in fact, trolling them back when the mood strikes can be quite fun — and I can even handle it from associates. But from people who I invested great time and energy into and felt a real connection with? It’s like a dagger to the heart…and if exhibiting a little prejudice by being more careful about who I let into my bubble on the front-end (meaning I gauge their political views and receptiveness to mine) helps mitigate the risk of that hurt being repeated, then so be it.
Sorry, not sorry. ☕