Fucking It Up: Follow Up

So, my last essay has been more heavily read than any other. Previously my highest hits were like 270 for a blog, we’re talking 37,000+ for “One Strike.” Predictably, the comments are coming faster and I can’t reply to all of them. My kids don’t usually nap at the same time and I have to be able to shower and make dinner and poop and stuff at some point during the day. So if you’re a more recent commenter, sorry; I am reading your comments and thinking about them, but I may not get to responding individually. 

In that vein, here are a few things my last essay is not, responding to common complaints:

  • A description of a rigid formula, algorithm, or binary of interracial friendships in which people plug and play
  • An exhaustive guide for how to have interracial friendships, for whites or PoC
  • Suggestions for how any of the people involved in these friendships, on either side, should decide if someone has fucked up
  • A thorough and complete listing of intersectional issues that may compound​ power dynamics in an interracial relationship

Also, one of the most common concerns people seem to have with what I’m saying in the essay is that they feel what I’m describing is abusive – that white people walking on eggshells because they are afraid one fuck up could mean the end of the friendship. 

Boiling it down – yes. At some point lots of that behavior, lopsided in any relationship, becomes abuse. Most of you complaining about this seem to miss the point that PoC, particularly women, have been talking loudly about experiencing this abuse en masse from white “friends” already. My suggestion is not for white people to abuse themselves on behalf of their PoC friends or that PoC should abuse their pals. It’s that confronting discomfort of this kind, in this way, is a reasonable step for white people to take. And most white people are probably going to be very uncomfortable with this concept. It may even feel like abuse to even think about asking their PoC friends to discuss race.

Another common complaint seems to come from folks who are claiming a PoC identity and feeling that my essay suggests PoC can’t make their own choices about their friendships. I would love to understand better how my writing style suggests this concept to readers, because I can’t see that at all in what I wrote. I need help understanding a point of view different from my own. It’s like conversations about race relations are needed and an in progress thing for each individual person. Go figure. 

For those of you who take issue with my article because you feel your friendships are above or beyond race dynamics, awesome. I am legitimately pleased for you! I hope you will blog about your experience to get the word out – essays about great interracial friendships and how everyone can relax about the whole racism thing have not been going viral or making the rounds on the social justice websites or communities I check out. To be fair, I’ve never looked for them, so I will be hitting Google to try and find some. I love to learn and I will eat humble pie gladly if I need to. 

I’m glad my writing has reached so many. I hope it makes a helpful difference for at least a few folks. 

And to those of you accusing me of just wanting cookies from SJW friends – well sorta, that’s a part of it, though not because I want pats on the back. 

If you’re not interested in social justice activism, think of it like helping your neighbor build a playset both your kids can share where your yards meet. If you are looking forward towards enjoying the end results you better not ask them to do all the work on it. That’d be shitty. 

I absolutely want my PoC SJW friends to see me publically getting out in the world and doing the kind of work we mutually feel is important. I want them to feel supported and that our friendship isn’t lopsided. So I’m going out of my way to do a thing I’m a little uncomfortable doing because it’s doing right by my friends (and, we feel, everyone else). 

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