Claire's Corner

Interracial Relationships Part 3: Where we would be without friends?!

Nani and I in 11th grade. 2004.

I have never had an issue making friends. If you talk to some of my them, they would say I have too many. Whether they are a true or filler friend, I feel that people come into your life for a reason. Though a good portion of my friends phenotypically mirror me, I have an abundance of interracial friendships. I have crossed the “racial” line platonically and romantically. If I were to get married tomorrow, you would think it was an invite to a mini UN convention. My friend’s backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and values all have some impact on my worldview. When I spend time with them and their loved  ones, I always walk away with more understanding and lessons.

Over the years, I have sensed underlying tensions or grimaced at passive, racially insensitive remarks made at social functions. As I have grown older, my voice has strengthen and my tolerance for discrimination and bigotry have become null. This blog was launched with one of my best friends, Jennifer Lynn B. or Nani for short. I have been best friends with her for almost 13 years and she is family. I am the godmother to her three children and I know if I am in north Lakeland,  I am welcome to have a glass of iced tea with her grandparents. Our personalities are so different yet we compliment each other so well. Sometimes I wonder if people view me as a sellout for having a best friend that is white. But guess what? I could care less. She understands me, respects me for who I am and always makes time to listen to my long rants. Nani, I am so thankful to have you in my life and I love you dearly.

Nani visiting me in college. 2007.

I end this series on interracial relationships with Nani talking about her best friend, Claire.

1) How would you describe your relationship with your best friend?

Nani: I think we have a great relationship.  We connect and thrive well together.

2) Was there any resistance about your relationship from your social/familial circles?

It’s been almost 13 years so it’s hard to remember but there may have been initial resistance.  I think once she met them and they got to know her, they all really liked her.

3) Do you remember a time where your backgrounds clashed? If so – please provide details.

I can’t think of a particular time.  But I will say that I am often the only “white” person at many of our social gatherings and she’s been the only black person to attend  my family gatherings.

One of our crazy nights! 2012.

4)  Do you feel your life has been enriched by this relationship?

Very much so. I didn’t really know anything about Haitians before we met.  She’s introduced me to a lot of people I would have never had the pleasure of meeting if we weren’t such good friends.  I have experienced so many different things tagging along to her events.

5) Does your relationship make you more aware of the issues arising right now in your community around race?

I feel like I have always been aware of racial issues but our relationship has opened my eyes to the more subtle form of racism in this country.

6)  What is one thing you wish people would stop asking you about your interracial relationship?

Ha. Well one of the few things I get bothered about is being questioned about our friendship since our personalities are on opposite sides of the spectrum.  I think a lot of people see her as the social butterfly. I am a borderline recluse and wonder how in the world we fit together sometimes since we come from such different backgrounds and cultures.

Nani and I. Miami 2016.

7) What are some things you would like people to know about interracial relationships?

I think we need to stop letting the color of a person’s skin define them.  We should start by getting to know the inside before we judge the outside. I think once we realize that certain characterizations are personal, individual attributes and not racially exclusive, we will be better off.

I hope you enjoyed our series on Interracial Relationships.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Sincerely,

Claire

 

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