Thoughts on how friendship is a privilege.
I had a conversation with someone today where I expressed my discomfort at them being friends with someone who is racist.
I don’t think white people really understand how deep this work goes. It’s not only a matter being anti-racist yourself, it’s also who you surround yourself with. If you’re friends with someone who has been of fostering an environment where BIPOC are unsafe, you shouldn’t be friends with them. If you’re friends with someone who excuses racism, you shouldn’t be friends with them. If you’re friends with someone who shares trends on social media, but is dating a racist- that’s not up for debate, don’t be their friend.
By choosing to be friends with people who support racists, you yourself are therefore complicit in their racism. What you’re doing, and what you’re saying, is that you don’t care about BIPOC. Our safety isn’t your priority, you would rather have a laugh, or a drink with your friends. Actively choose and be critical of who you spend your time with.
You, as a white person, get the ability to pick and choose who you spend your time with without any repercussions to yourself.
BIPOC have to constantly choose either self-respect and safety, or sacrificing that to be around your group of friends.
To say you’re doing the work, and to say you’re trying to be anti-racist, means you quit enabling racists in your life. If they are not willing to do the work, if they are not willing to make safer spaces, they need to realize there are consequences to that. You don’t get to coddle them, or feel bad for them, when they have no regard for the safety and treatment of people of colour.
Friendship is a privilege.
The more intolerable you make racism, the less racists there will be, and more people will support change and restructuring of society in order to provide safer and more equitable spaces for people of colour
- Arthi Chandra. August 13th, 2020