Every once in a while, I get a fan mail that says something along the lines of, “I know such and such is wrong but I don’t really understand why.” Recently, I got this question about “The Black Friend.”
Most of you know that saying, “I’m not racist, I have Black friends” or any form of this sentence [Read: I’ve dated Black people, Black person in my family, ect] is actually a sign that you are in fact, a racist. What some of you don’t know, is why. There are a few different answers here.
1-Your claim is that you can’t be a racist because you stood near a Black person once. Sure, the standing in question may have actually been a relationship of some sort but none the less, standing near a Black person instead of chasing them with an ax, is not a sign that you are “Not racist.” Furthermore, what would your alternative be? If it is “The Black Friend” (Which is usually is) it is almost always just some Black person who you sort of kind of know. You think knowing someone Black makes you not racist? Come on!
2-The Good, the Bad and the You. (A)When a person who uses this “Not racist” racist claim, sometimes, they really do have a Black friend. In those cases, the racism isn’t just in the pulling your “Black friend” out of your back pocket as “Proof” that you love the Negroes. It’s also in your opinion of the ONE Black person. This particular form of racism often reveals itself in one of two ways. Either, “The Black friend” or “My Black friend said it’s okay.” This is the classic, “Good Negro vs Bad Negro.” You are saying, well my Black friend isn’t like those OTHER Negroes. He is one of the “Good” ones. If you believe that your “Black friend” isn’t like “Most” Black people, it’s because you have an extremely racist and negative view on Black people as a whole. Then, instead of rethinking your views when you met someone who didn’t fit your ugly mold, you decided that this one was one of the rare, “Good” ones.
(B)-The second part of this is the “My Black friend said it was okay” portion. Here, you are doing two things. First, playing Black people against each other for your own personal, ignorant gain. Second, You are using your supposed “Friend” as leverage for you to say or do something that you KNOW is racist AND that fifty other Black people are telling you is NOT okay. Your “Black friend” (If they even exist) should never trump multiple Black people. If this “Black friend” really does exist, and really did say it was okay for you to say or do something that is obviously racist, you should take that as, “You can do it around ME.” Not as, “I speak for the Negroes and what I say goes.” The fact that you would even use your “Black friend” against other Black people is a deep and true sign of your racism.
3-Eye Roll to Infinity. Ironically, the people most likely to use “The Black Friend” are also the most likely to claim that they are “Color blind.” You “Don’t see race” but the second your racism is called what it is, you suddenly have a “Black friend.” Without question, you don’t see anything wrong with your sudden and convenient sight. The most amusing part of this one is that you are going from color blind racism to good old fashioned, “I stood near one of them once” racism. Silly racist! Racism is racism, even when you name it something else.