Why does your racism appear when the liquor does?
The real reason some of your black ‘friends’ and co-workers won’t party with you
This post was originally published on Medium on August 4, 2020.
My head tilted sideways and my eyebrow raised, looking from my roommate to my off-campus friend on the other side of the room. There was no way my homegirl of almost two years just said what I think she said. This could not possibly be the same college friend who had sat in my parents’ car for eight hours straight, chatted it up with my older brother, sat on my front porch and happily conversed with neighbors, and who I’d always trotted along with to lean on a picnic table whenever she wanted to smoke outside near our dorm. There was just no possible way my ears heard her correctly. But the look of embarrassment on my off-campus friend’s face told me this wasn’t my imagination.
I vaguely remember what lead up to her comment. Four of us, including me, were headed to a backyard party near our university. One of the crew made a comment about my off-campus friend’s boyfriend complaining about her not coming over later that night — or something to that effect. (She loyally went to his house each night to sleep, no matter what her hourly class schedule was on campus.)
My roommate laughed at the comment about my off-campus friend getting in “trouble” for partying with us that night. And my roommate cackled and said, “I’d just tell him, ‘fuck you, nigga.’”
The off-campus friend gasped and shouted my roommate’s name, nervously giggling. The two others — also white — mumbled about my roommate having too much to drink. And the liquor in my system was all but gone right at that moment. I stared at my roommate/friend — instantly sober. I first wondered why my off-campus friend, a white girl with the kind of bob that looked like it was fresh out of Hype Hair, wasn’t angry. After all, this racial slur was directed at her own boyfriend — a black man. Then again, the same off-campus friend had once surmised that I lived in the ghetto. After asking her where she got this information from, her response was to say, “Oh, I just assumed.” From that comment alone, I already knew she wouldn’t understand the weight of our mutual friend’s comment.