Being The Black Friend

Hmmm.... How can I describe this?
What is it like for me being the black friend?

Luckily, because my friend now has a black friend, no one can call her racist. Yay for her.

It's going out on a Friday night to a club and watching as all the guys dance with my White and Asian friends. Awesome.

It's hearing offensive, racist jokes from my friend's boyfriend, and trying to laugh along because I don't want to deal with the "angry Black woman" stereotype.

It's being at a college party and listening to my friends talk about the guys they are interested in. I sit there with my dark skin, African facial feaures and brown eyes and listen, not even bothering to have crushes anymore. I'm such a good friend, huh?

It's being there when my white and asian friends have guys over in their dorm and all of them saying they would never date a black girl. No offense to me, of course. How sweet.

It's getting ready to go out somewhere and watching them share make up, hair products and clothes. My hair is kinky. My skin tone doesn't match their make up. My body is too big for those tiny clothes.

It's feeling like I represent all black people every time I meet the friends and family of my friends and get questions like "Do all Black people know how to play basketball?" Gee, I don't know, pal, let me just call up EVERY BLACK PERSON IN THE WORLD and ask them.

It's being constantly reminded that in this society, as a black girl, I can see a lot happen. But I rarely get to experience it. It's never really getting a chance to be anything more than "The Black Friend."

Of course I know there are some exceptions. There are some black girls that have it easier than others, but I think for the most part, society treats blackness as if it were a social disability and, in a way it is. Despite this, I am trying to enjoy life anyway and make things better for myself. Maybe I'll succeed?

StartingOvr18 StartingOvr18
18-21, F
7 Responses Jan 11, 2013

Gosh, that totally sucks. I'm black but I never went through this. I've always managed to attract all kinds of men wherever I was. I'm thinking maybe you actually really are not too attractive, but this may have a lot to do with your style and presentation not genetics so much. Try to change the things in your control. If your skin's very dark, work on making it super smooth and even looking. This is a beautiful quality that men really do notice and appreciate. Learn how to do your make up subtly but in a pretty way. Dress classy and smart vs sexy. Lose weight and get healthy. Also have healthy, clean soft looking hair. This is easier to achieve when you're hair is natural (unrelaxed), cared for weekly with organic products (the highest quality the better), and flat ironed. If you do all these things, I doubt you'll go unnoticed. You don't have to be the prettiest woman in order to be attractive.

Ill give you a bit of advice here it may sound a bit harsh but im just bein real...sometimes you need to be less sensitive. Not every insensitive comment is intended to be racial. Sometimes people (esp. White people) can be very ignorant. They sometimes try to hard to be show they are not racist that it works against them or they are so curious about some things that they ask too many questions. But I can say from experience that its not just a black issue. When I lived down south I had no white friends at all. So I literally was the only white person in our church and the "white friend". I got treated the same way. Either I had nasty words spoken to me about my lack of color, they tried to hard to show they were not racist, or they were so curious about stuff they peppered me with questions. I would laugh answer they questions and fire back with my own. "You mean white people get perms to make their hair curly?" "You mean black people get perms to make their hair straight? " simple as that. If you get offended all the time u gonna get a chip on ur shoulder. And lord almighty I sure hate to see a person in that condition. So save all that animosity for hen u have truly been offended. :)

(((((hi friend))))

What a bummer!! =( Im sorry. I am white, but I really appreciate your honesty.

I had a roommate from China years ago, the white men actually seemed to flock to her. I didn't feel quite so exotic and exciting lol, but seriously.....this is a sad post.

I truly hope and pray that you find a guy that thinks you are totally awesome. Someone smitten by you for who you are. In the meantime...
Do your white friends know you feel this way? You're just being real, but I hope you have some true friends out there.

Im willing to bet most people don't know, but maybe im wrong.

I know the feeling, although i always feel I stand out from the youth in my family. I have a diverse group of friends yet most of my closes male friends are black IDK i just always feel different

You are young....just be yourself. There definitely is nothing to worry about. I understand how it is is to feel left out...lonely....whatever it is how you feel. Do not compromise yourself, or feel the need to change for actions or via a physical attribute. Be happy with who you are, and happiness will find you.

All the best to you, Ms. StartingOvr18!

WOw! you deserve a high five!! So know the feeling! When I go to teamwork retreats etc, I just know as soon as i get to detangling my hair and wrapping it, I'm going to get te bnde loa of questions XD. Sometimes I feel bad though, because with my true best friend, there is one who is Indian, while the rest are west indian/caribbean, and I feel she may feel at times how I feel when I'm the only black person. Put me in perspective


I read your story and I couldn't help but laugh at some parts. Not in a rude way but because I have been in exactly the same situations and I know exactly what you are going through.

Going out with a group of girls and being the only black girl is a situation I'm all TOO familiar with whether it's to a club or just a regular hang out session. Trying not to take offense to racist remarks because you don't want to come off as the angry/bitter black girl...been there. Make-up and clothes!! Being completely left out of the dating scene in high school because boys at that age are not ready to try something different. Oh my goodness, my battles with "skin tone" products. And trying to explain my hair? Forget about it.

I didn't realize that my experience could match someone else's so closely. I feel that if we complain about these things many people who do not truly understand will tell us to shut up and get over it. They'll tell us we are not trying hard enough, we are being too sensitive, stop hating yourself, be more confident etc. That may be the case but what they don't understand is that these experiences don't start in adulthood. For me, I had to struggle with race and identity issues from the time I was in kindergarten. i had really low self-esteem most of my school girl days without even realizing I did. I just assumed I was...less by default because why else were things so much harder for me? There is no class you take to learn how to "be" a black woman in America. I went to a predominantly white school district and even though no one ever spoke about it (because talking about race is very often taboo) I felt different and I had no one to share it with. Add to that the regular adolescent girl trials and tribulations....growing up was hell.

So we finally make it to adulthood (I'm guessing since you're in college you're at least 18?) but we are still trying to figure out where the hell we belong in this world. I really resonated with what you said: "I can see a lot happen. But I rarely get to experience it." I felt so limited at times in terms of certain experiences I could have. I sometimes felt that the message I was getting was :"If you are a black woman the least you could do for society is look like Halle Berry or something." If you complain about standards like this people with think you are being a hater or worse. So you quietly resign to the background and it's lonely there.

Hmm I guess I am rambling on about this. Ok here's my advice to you.

1) Strength in numbers. I have nothing against white people, white women especially, but who is the black friend to the "black friend". Nothing helped me more when I got to college than befriending countless black females. I'm not trying to advertise for segregation but support groups are a great way to overcome difficulties. It's always good to talk to someone who has been through what you have, innately understands and will not judge you for how you feel about it. I learned that I'm not alone and I felt a connection with people I had lacked the entirety of my high school career. You may still feel neglected when going out but being a part of a black community really helps remind you that that scenario is not the only one waiting for you anymore.

2) Love yourself. And I don't mean that in a cheesy after school special kind of way. I mean it. What I have realized is that no one else is going to stick up for us. The media, other races, even people of our own race. You have to set aside modesty sometimes and just be proud. Sometimes I walk around just saying "brown skin poppin'" just to remind people how great it is to be black. Embrace your features and never ever ever ever let anyone tell you you are anything BUT God's gift to Earth. Some may call it being cocky but you are making up for lost time. Do not be afraid what people will think about you. Whenever you see a media that makes you feel less remember that it's not real and that the people who made it are probably idiots. The older we get the more everyone is seeking to be unique. How lucky are we that we are already at an advantage? You're experiences so far have given you the ability to be resilient, humorous, critical, accepting, understanding, and aware. Celebrate your culture, your heritage, your roots, your experiences, your everything. Take care of your body and soul.

3) Talk about it. Don't be afraid to talk about things like this even if it makes people uncomfortable. Discomfort never killed anyone and if you can deal with it for years they can deal with it for 15 minutes.

4) Remember that the world is sooooo much bigger than you think it is. I studied abroad last semester in Madrid and I traveled to many countries in Europe. I was surprised at what I found. There are men that would kill for a woman like you! In other countries the image of blackness is not at all like it is in the States. For some it's worse, yes, but in others there are no boundaries. You are free to be who you are. You may not feel wanted here but go to Paris, Sweden or Madrid. Or oh my goodness Germany! The States are almost backwards in their lack of appreciation for the black goddess. True talk.

5) About the whole boy, man, guy situations. I'm not sure what your luck has been with that so far but in my experience it gets better also. Younger guys are less likely to explore outside their comfort zones and they also are less likely to want to be in a serious relationship. Guys may also be intimidated by a strong, successful, black woman. It takes a lot of patience. Keep respecting yourself and developing your interests and passions. I'd say meet guys in places were you can sustain a causal friendship first. School clubs, class, political groups, church if you're into that etc. You can try online dating also because there you get to talk pressure free for as long as you like. Most importantly, if you see something you like go for it. Many guys, especially those of other races, may not even be aware that you like them so it may be up to you to make the first move.

Wooow that was much longer than I had expected haha. Anyways it was nice to hear from you and good luck in all that you do!

Thanks so much for the reply and the great advice!
We have so much in common lol

I hearted it and lived everything see spoke of. :)