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Categories: Inspiration

Two Friends in the Rain or Does Race Matter

It is terrific to live in a world where two friends can talk about race and laugh. Last week I attended an event for bloggers in center city Philadelphia. I really did not want to go alone so I was happy when my friend said we should meet at the train station and ride into the city together. We met at the train station, chit chatted on the ride down and while walking down the street. It was the start of a nice evening out.

I was dressed in my favorite black suit and carried a large black umbrella because the forecast called for rain. My friend had on a nice black outfit as well. I have to admit, we looked GOOD! When we came out of the train station, the rain was steady so I pulled out the umbrella. I am taller than my friend and had on a suit jacket while she was sleeveless so I held the umbrella. I have walked in the rain with an umbrella with my kids too many times to let a shorter person be in charge of the umbrella.

photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

As we walked along, I was cautious about crossing only at the corner and only at the light because I am still a little nervous from a recent hit and run accident that seriously injured one of my daughters. While I was trying to walk and appear brave and confident, my friend was dealing with some issues of her own that I found out about later.

We attended the program, learned some things, networked with friends and new acquaintances. As we prepared to leave the building my friend insisted that she was going to carry the umbrella. I did not want the shorter person to carry the umbrella so I said I would do it. She said, there was no way she was letting me carry the umbrella. I then listened while she told two other bloggers who were leaving with us that the whole way from the train station to the conference location she had been subjected to mean looks, stares and unpleasantness.

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I am a black woman, a Christian, wife, mother and one of those Liberals Republicans warn their children about. My friend is a white, Christian, woman, wife, mother and a Republican. So we have a lot in common and  a lot that is different. However, that night, it seems that all we were was black and white. I have lived my whole life as a black female. This means I am used to stares when I go into certain neighborhoods and even certain stores. I have gone into courtrooms with my best suit, fancy pumps and briefcase and had court employees assume I was a defendant rather than the attorney. I have had people ask me about my “baby’s daddy” and had to tell them that I did not have a “baby daddy” I had a husband and my children had a father. Growing up black in America I have never had the luxury of not knowing that racism exists. Instead I have lived a life knowing that racism is there and living my life around it and in spite of it. My friend was scarred by our experience with the umbrella. It was a sad time for her. For me, it was just Friday.

In conclusion, it is terrific to live in a world where two friends can talk about race and laugh. So, the question for you this terrific day is, do you ever discuss race with your friends?

My friend Heather from Real the Kitchen and Beyond  shared her thoughts on this event on her blog. Please check it out here

Janeane Davis

View Comments

  • Wow, I don't know why I am always shocked to hear such stories. My family is very mixed. We come in all shades of the rainbow. I never think of race or racism unless someone brings it up. It is not to say that it does not exist because I know it does. To me it just doesn't make sense.

    • Perhaps I am the opposite of you. I am never shocked by these stories. I just take for granted some people have problems with race or will not act fairly because of it and keep moving. I cannot change other people. All I can do is control how I react and keep moving where I want to go.

  • My friends and I discuss race quite a bit. I have mostly white friends, and one of my really good friends is a conservative Catholic. So, we tend to have some great conversations. With that said, our friendship has never been affected by our conversations and views. We all know how real racism is, and our friendship has actually helped my friends encounter it first-hand (being friends with a black person in certain situations can create uncomfortable experiences).

    • It is nice to have friends who are different because it helps give us a realistic idea of what different kinds of people are like. One of my favorite things to do is debate things on social media with a friend who is a Republican and a Cowboys fan. I am a LIBERAL Democrat and a fan of all Philly teams so it is interesting. At the same time, we do learn that peole are people and there is a way for us all to get along and live in this world.

  • I just had this conversation this morning. There are times when I think we've made so much progress and then certain events happen that make me really stop and check myself. I grew up in the South - Charleston, SC. I'm used to subtle and not-so racism, being called "girl" and referred to as "you people" and being told "my place". As the supervisor of an eclectic group of people in a company that's upper management is dominated by middle-aged, white men - I'm often mistaken for an hourly associate or spoken around or at (rather than to) when dealing with outside vendors from certain parts of the state. I've been told (by people of different races) that my phone voice can be misleading and I sound "white". I've had to explain to my children what the n-word means when children their age and younger used it towards them. So, yes, my friends and I discuss race and sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying. I will say I'm glad to have a diverse group of friends that feel comfortable broaching the subject of race relations with me. By having an open dialogue, we're able to dispel many of the mistruths and assumptions that are out there.

    • I have always taught my children that racism is real and it exists. I taught them about race and themselves at home and gave them the tools needed so they would not be surprised or hurt by things they were likely to encounter in the world. I wonder when mothers like me will not have to prepare our children for racism they will face in the world.

  • I love how you and Heather each wrote about this experience from different points of view. It's fascinating. Thank you!

    • Glad you liked it. We each experienced different things based on our lives and our histories it was good to see it from the other side. I liked sharing the story with her.

  • I would have a discussion and have had this discussion with my friends. In fact I had a discussion yesterday with a friend, about how racism is taught by simple comments.

    • I always pray, "May my words be soft and sweet because tomorrow I may have to eat them."

  • It is nice that you can have conversations that may be uncomfortable for many with your friends. I think that is what we all strive for but doesn't always happen. Makes me sad that our world can still be like this. Like Heather said...someday.

    • It was a funny incident because it was a life changing walk for her, but for me it was just Friday. Two different sides to the same event. It makes you think . . .

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