Thoughts after Dinner with a Friend

I recently got to have dinner with a friend (who is African American) that I’ve had since middle school, and at one point she was complaining about something and then she looked at me and said, “But not you! You’re like one of my black friends.” I felt honored, but she has always referred to me as one of her black friends even though I’m quite obviously white. I’ve always been proud of this, but I’m not sure why? It’s obviously meant to be a compliment, but I’m not exactly sure what it means and I felt weird about asking. Do the white people she’s usually around make her feel out of place? Or do I change the way I act when I’m around her? I’m glad she’s always felt that comfortable around me, but it really made me think about interactions I have with African American peers and how they feel about themselves after those interactions. Looking back on “Multiplication is for White People” by Lisa Delpit, it really taught me how important it is for African American people to feel valid and how much impact microaggressions can have on how they see themselves. Reading through that book, I realized how easy it is to make statements that seem innocent but can chip away at the ego of an African American person. I highly recommend reading the book and considering how you speak to peers of other races or ethnicities.

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