Friday, April 12, 2024

A Lesson From what was My White Feminist Friend.

December 10, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( I’ve had a friend we’ll call Beth since the ninth grade. Though I seemed weird to some for my nerdy ways she and I seemed to understand each other quite well. We shared a love of books, video games, Japanese manga, and anime. She was becoming someone I’d called sister early on. Our families knew each other, and we could discuss social issues whenever they came up without judgement or what seemed to be white tears. Throughout college and adulthood our relationship grew. We bonded over life’s successes and sorrows.

Both of us lost our fathers and we were a support system to one another in those very dark days. Though I take my issue with white feminist I knew I would never have an issue with Beth. She never made me feel uncomfortable in my very pro-black stance and appearance. We’d vibe over music and food as we love to cook. Granted she’s from Texas, and I’m from New Orleans but that never made a difference. I was always told I could only trust my white friends so far, but I never applied that caution to Beth.

Over the past couple of years, as the social unrest of the country heightened, I noticed she would ask my thoughts on many issues regarding race so that she could try to understand from my perspective. The conversations always seemed to be taken well, and since I’ve known her so long I never sugar coated my stance on race in this county. I’m not the only black friend she has so she’s heard from more than me.It amazed her when I explained how different our high school experiences were. She was never one to sit quietly while another student was bullied or mistreated for any reason including race. However, she just never realized I hated the school we attended, and as an outnumbered black student the environment was very oppressive. I took my peace in the culture of my city…but I hated that school. The internal pain I suffered during those years saddened her when she learned of them.

Beth never quite understood my choice in men. I love black men with a holy passion, so it never crossed my mind to seek affection anywhere else. I don’t knock others for their choices, but black men were my choice. She was baffled that I wouldn’t even go on a date with white male classmates even when pursued continually. So, I never saw my fall out with Beth coming. She felt the need to express joy over celebrities getting a postage stamp recently…primarily Gregory Hines. We both adored the movie Tap. However, in the same breath she informed me that Marvin Gaye was a great artist, but he didn’t deserve the same. When I asked why she explained her understanding of why he was killed by his father…which was inaccurate. When I brought up the facts of the matter, she compared the sins in Marvin Gaye’s life to a school shooter.

I was immediately offended by this explaining that this was no comparison and she loved many white artists that had committed far worse offenses in life. She praised men in history that committed some of the greatest human atrocities. She continued to try to change my mind explaining to me that black men are dangerous, and even I should agree to that. No, Beth I can’t agree. Statistically white men have terrorized this country on a level surpassed by none. In that moment I felt I didn’t know who she was, and I felt my childhood heart breaking. I was told I could only trust to a point, but I made an exception.

I realize what angered me was in that moment she had attacked my father, grandfather, brothers, cousins, and every other amazing back man I know. In that moment she had attacked me through them. I felt like she attacked the women that gave birth to them. She exposed to me that what she saw was a predator…not a human being. I simply could not brush it off nor dismiss the matter. I had never been so happy as to get out of the presence of someone with whom I shared wonderful memories.

She reminded me that she is indeed a white feminist…she was a white woman in America. No matter what we have in common she could never truly be my ally. If I had a son…how would she view him, would his life matter? If I have to ask such a question…its time to walk away. This was a gut-wrenching lesson…but I’m grateful to have the lesson now verses one day over a child.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

May also connect with this sister via Twitter; ChelleStJames.

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