I read something yesterday that has stuck with me. I’ve thought about it over and over since I read it. It said something like this — If you have not talked about race and being Black with your Black friend, you have not been a good friend.
I have not been a good friend.
I have not been a good white friend.
I can only imagine that you have absolutely had it with excuses. I undeservedly ask that you bare with me for a minute, while I lay mine on the table as I ask for your forgiveness.
I genuinely and ignorantly thought that if I ignored it, it wouldn’t be an issue. I thought if we didn’t talk about it, then it wouldn’t be a thing. I thought you knew that I loved you on your best days and your worst days. I thought you knew that I loved you exactly how you are and that nothing else mattered. I thought I was doing a good thing by not acknowledging our differences. I thought that if I didn’t point out the differences to my kids, then I was setting them out to expect the differences instead of noticing them. I thought I was being inclusive.
I grew up learning that God saw no color. And if God saw no color than I should not see color either. I did my best to treat everyone equally. But that has gotten me to this letter. I chose to remain colorblind even as I grew into an adult.
But when Mr. George Floyd called out for his mama, my eyes sprung open like a mama’s eyes do in the middle of the night.
I now know — after taking the time to open my eyes — that I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.
Your Blackness is something I should have asked about just like I ask about your mama, your family, your job, your workout routine, your favorite pizza, about how you met your husband, and our shared love of baby clothes.
We’ve talked about our pregnancies and our deliveries. We’ve talked about nursing and shared maternity clothes. We talked about and shared baby sitters. We’ve talking about our fears our worries for our children.
But our fears for our children are so vastly different. I closed my eyes to the issues. I had no idea. I never asked what it is like to raise a Black baby in 2020.
I hate that I’ve lost so much time ignoring a part of you because I was afraid to be uncomfortable. I am so sad that I do not know you like I thought I knew you because of my own insecurities.
I am sorry that I let my own mindset get in the way our friendship. I am changing that now.
I will make sure my boys learn this lesson much sooner than I did.
You are Black. Being Black is who you are. And I love you. I love who you are. I hope to incorporate your Blackness into our frequent conversations. I am here learning and listening. I hope you will allow me to learn about, celebrate, and love everything about you.
I am sorry that I have not been a good friend. I am sorry that I have not been a good white friend to my Black friend.
Thank you for loving me anyway and for affording me patience and grace that I do not deserve.