Color of Friendship

Being a teenager is all about finding the people that you can confide in. Those friends that you feel free enough to tell everything and to spill your gutts. The ones that know you best, listen without judgement and console you when you need it most. Friends that know what gets you going and fired up, and exactly what makes you laugh and calm on down. It doesn't matter the background the past or the circumstances - the color of friendship is one that can transcend all boundaries, borders and obstacles. Get ready to dive back into the world of diversity, racism and even more incidents - this is the color of friendship. *Check this response video to "Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls"  - it explains it all Response Video

Explaining yourself to others is always a difficult thing but when people can't even comprehend what you're trying to say, you're going nowhere fast. It might sound crazy, but it's something I think about constantly, whenever I interact with white people I wonder what they think about me. For most people someone not liking you may or may not be a big deal, but it's the why that I always want to know. Is it because of my personality (outgoingly reserved and preppily pragmatic) *I'm highly personable - I get that a lot; or maybe I said something wrong and somehow accidentally offended them. When I realize it's neither of those I'm forced to ponder over the fact that it may be the color of my skin that's the cause for dislike. I used to think that my standards for girls were irrationally unrealistic, but I realized it was just a defense mechanism so I wouldn't get hurt. Have you overheard girls talking about you to say, "He's cute ... for a black guy." Baby girl, you're not my type either, judgemental and shallow. I still get giddy whenever I hear a girl has a crush on me, or someone/anyone thinks I'm handsome or boyishly cute. One of the most unbearably degrading insults of all time is to be called a monkey or gorilla. It's saying someone is primitive, barbaric, an animal. I'm a human being not some ape or primate. To call someone ugly, especially me, is heinously cruel. How could you say something like that? I would never be so malicious or have the audacity to say something so deliberately evil. Honestly, I still get caught off guard when people I usually avoid talk to me, I'm always surprised. I realize, it's because I get used to so many bad interactions that I almost miss the good ones. Blond haired prissy girls, old white men, and jock or fratty bros are my learned no-go's. But just because a few people have written off by the color of your skin doesn't mean everyone will. You can just tell when white people love black people, and I mean they love them.  Race never comes up in conversation (in a good way), they're culturally aware and get your humor (I'm funny damnit). Tell me why at college people felt the need to come up to me and say, "Yo, yo yo homie, what's cracklacking home-dawg?" The urge to reply "negro please" was more than great. Why would you speak to me that way, do I look or sound like I'm an OG - hell no, and even if I was it's not necessary to try and adapt my language. That's belittling; that's like speaking Spanish and a fake accent appears, not relevant. Speak to me in your normal jargon, if you don't get some my slang, I'll let you know if and when you're ready. The color of friendship is one that affects everyone and everybody, equally we've got to live with it.

Friends are hard to come by, and I value all of mine for sure. It's unbelievably weird when I have people after they've gotten to know me tell me that they were initially "afraid" to approach or talk to me. I'm harmless, never have I ever been in detention, charged with a crime, dressed poorly (in recent times), been sexually active, done any drugs *including consumption of alcohol. I dislike cursing, I even self censor in normal conversation or when going hard singing/rapping songs. Apparently I look "angry, bitter, or mean." #Sorrynotsorry that I don't walk around smiling like a madmen like in Batman or those Enzyte erectile dysfunction commercials. Let's be real, that's not the real reason. I wear cardigans, plaid shirts and skinny jeans like a wannabe Abercrombie & Fitch model. It's because I'm black, isn't it. It's okay, I get that a lot - and it's true. It's rational to avoid raggedy tattoo bearing sketchy hoodlum types, but more than half the population of the entire United States, not really. And, to people who comes up to me and say, "I had a black friend once" but really mean "There was this one black kid that went to my school" - no two people are the same, how you interacted with that ambassador of diversity is not how will you can act with me.  Contrary to popular belief, not all black people are the same. Story time - one morning I go to the little cafĂ© on campus for a sausage, egg and cheese on a biscuit. I order up, cheerfully, smiling and reciting lyrics to myself as always and go to the back of the store to get some tea. Another guy, Hispanic in background, enters and the lady tries to give him my breakfast sandwich. She was so adamant about it, and he was like, "I haven't even ordered yet." I came from he back and awkwardly walked up to say, "That's mine." The small crowd of people waiting, they realized what had just occurred. The difference between that guy and I was like Snooki and Emma Stone - no resemblance, whatsoever, skin color or otherwise. People who say they can't tell the difference between black people are either lying, or too lazy to notice the differences. There's more than one shade of brown. I've never thought that about white people, even when people bear a striking resemblance, they're still an individual, unique like everyone else. The color of friendship is one that sees no color.

Ready for more of those unbelievable incidents. One of he most poignant memories I have of a microaggression was a former friend. The weekend before the conversation I'd gone with some friends to a mixer (pretentious term that private school kids use for get togethers) and had a memorably fun experience. I came to school that Monday and was recounting my interesting weekend antics with another friend when this girl hardcore eavesdrops and then has the audacity to interject. She asks if the mixer was just "ghetto black people." I was like, "No, did you hear the word mixer, it was snooty, high society teens with privileged daddy problems and an addiction to credit card plastic" (well maybe, not exactly like that I'd had to be more than on my comeback game to send that one back). Why would you even ask that? Even if it had been a predominantly black event what would the problem be with that? Some white people feel uncomfortable when they're in the minority, well try living your entire life in the minority (you get used to it). Needless to say that friendship more than died. The snide remarks, the air of supremacy, and the double-edged judgemental statements got old fast. Then came college, where everyone put up the front of welcoming diversity, which was the biggest lie I've ever had the displeasure of being apart of. First year was laced with controversy, incidents, and a major disconnect. The thing about school was that more racist comments, confrontations or loaded words were minced than other time in my entire life. The amount of blatantly rude black jokes (they're not funny, will they ever be) was insufferable. I think the biggest problem I had to (and still do) deal with is the staring. Ask my friend Samantha, I told her about whenever I walked into the Marché (dining hall on UVM campus) people would for real turn completely around and stare at me. It was like I was some sort of spectacle or circus animal. At first she didn't believe me, then on multiple occasions I would let her walk in first, nothing happened. When I went in, heads flew and eyes were glued to me. I would like to believe it's because I'm unbearably smoldering in the good looks, but I'm above average at best (I'm aware). I decided that if people were going to look I would give them a show, I might as well. Didn't your mother ever tell you it was rude to stare? I can promise you I'm that "smiley black kid with the loud laugh in plaid" and the majority of students either know me or of me (as they should). Another one of those crazy experiences, when a friend says something so shocking you can't even react and just have to walk away. A "friend" said to me, as we're walking to dinner on campus, "Everyone on campus knows you're only here because you're black." Not true, if that's your opinion good for you, but don't speak for everyone else. The acceptance rate is 71%, everyone gets in here. I had a 4.09 gpa, and 30 ACT score and was waitlisted at U-Penn (the ivy league one) - I got into all my colleges except Yale and my essay was epic - that's why I'm here (boom!). Some friend you are, oh and the whole paying full price, out out of pocket, out of state proves the non-preferential treatment, not that it's necessary to prove anything to anyone. Last but certainly not least were my friends who would be the ones to listen and just talk about anything, about everything, about nothing. Jackie, such an awesome girl - when everyone would comment on how "massive" my lips were, homegirl would console me with stories of similar things that happened to her. My bromate, Patrick, would let me know that it was alright not to care but also to be hurt. Emily, my friend from down the hall, who'd make jokes but did it in a funny, tasteful and classy way could always make me laugh. That's the color of friendship that we're all looking for, people who you bring you up when you're down.

Being a teenager is all about finding those friends who don't who you are, where you've been and what's transpired but love you anyways. The friends that stick with you through everything and there to pick up the pieces when you fall apart. The friends that can disagree without attacking, criticize constructively, and tease you but know the line is. It's the color of friendship that gets us all through. If you're circle of friends isn't diverse (in any sense of the word not just ethnically) I suggest you broaden your circle, and add something new to the mix.

My blog post question for the day is ... have you ever been wary of someone because of prior experiences with other people? Feel free to share anonymously and let the world know you're reading and out there.


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