Cross-racial friendships

Diverse Issues In Higher Education has a brief interview with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, who is African American. In it, she is quoted about cross-racial friendships:

DI: You wrote a chapter in your new book with a White woman friend. What did you learn from each other?

BT: Some of my best friends are cross-racial friendships, and one of the main obstacles between such friendships is how to talk about race and the difficulty many people have.

DI: Why is it so difficult?

BT: People have a lot of anxiety about it because it’s a heated topic.

I’d be curious to know if she is referring to all cross-racial friendships, or cross-racial friendships between white people and people of color. My general experience has been that it is typically easier to have a cross-racial friendship with another person of color. Your thoughts?

One thought on “Cross-racial friendships

  1. I personally find that my easiest friendships are with those who are on a similar level of understanding as regards prejudice and associated -isms. It doesn’t actually matter what colour they are. I have had difficult friendships with people of colour who had no understanding and were still very entrenched in their internalised racism. Certainly friends whose ism-experience is not the same as mine don’t have exactly the same understanding of racism, but they try to understand, just as I try to understand their experience of homophobia, fattism etc. Generally I think we manage reasonably well, because we are past the “don’t blame it on me, it’s not my fault” stage.

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