Your Black Friend gently explains how white folks need to step up their game for their black friends.

Your Black Friend is an animated short film that is both entertaining and exceptionally powerful. It shines a light on various shades of racism and how white friends can help a black friend out. After reading my thoughts below, watch the full short at the end.

Truthfully? I was an oblivious racist…

Being bred of Scottish, English and German blood, and growing up in affluent neighborhoods in the US, I am as white as it gets. And though it pains me to admit it, growing up, I was 100%, unknowingly, racist. Not the kind of racist that is obvious necessarily, but the kind that forms from being culturally unaware and making assumptions that are simply not true. I didn’t use the ‘N’ word and I had black friends that I genuinely liked. So, how could I be racist?

The truth is, I was racist because I felt that those black friends were different than me. Not in a negative way necessarily but still,  somehow, they were separate. That kind of thinking, no matter how innocent, is as racist as it gets. I actually cringe when I think back to how ignorant I was.

An Education in Academics, Performing Arts, and How Not to Be A Racist…

College was my awakening. I went to a performing arts college that drew students from all over the world; and I had no choice but to embrace all different cultures. I was put in my place so many times for things I said because I had no idea they were wrong or offensive. The first year was the hardest for me, but I had friends who were patient and explained how things really were. That time in my life was awkward, humiliating and the best thing that ever happened to me.

How to be a good, white friend…

The truth is, we are all different and yet, we’re all the same – it sounds like a cop-out but it’s very true. I was born white just as others were born black. I cannot help my skin color no more than they can help theirs. Therefore we should all be treated equally in the world, right? The answer to that question is yes, but the sad truth is that reality says we are not.

When I’m pulled over speeding, my biggest concern is getting a ticket… not ending up in jail, or dead. Oh, and by the way, when I’m pulled over for speeding, it’s because I’m actually speeding, not because the cop didn’t like the look of me as I drove by. I don’t ever have to worry about pulling a cell phone out of my pocket or wearing a hoodie.

Because I am white, I have privileges that others don’t. It’s just an unfair fact. But instead of hiding it, I use it to make things awkward for others. Seriously. I try to point out when others are being racist, no matter how much is might offend them. I learned in college, because I can speak up, often without fear of retribution, I MUST speak up. Let’s have that uncomfortable discussion, I’m ready, are you?

Watch Your Black Friend and learn how to be a better friend in the face of racsim: