Love Letter from Your Black Friend

love letter from your black friend

Dear Non-Black Friend,

Hello! I hope you’re doing well. We’ve gotten to see a lot of each other lately, huh? The Women’s March, networking events, fun social shenanigans.

What’s that? Oh, you didn’t see me there? No, yeah, I was there. I was the black woman…in the corner…you asked me where the bathroom was. You cut me in the drink line like I wasn’t even standing there. You got introduced to me by a mutual friend, and the second she stepped away, you bolted out of the conversation like your period panties were on fire.

Right, yes, that’s me.

It’s amazing how us black girls can turn invisible like that. Poof! Once we’re done with the photo op where you pose with us so you can post a photo touting your company or organization’s diversity initiative, we disappear. Like magic!

Now, I’m sure you didn’t do any of that on purpose. And, well, that’s the problem. You do it without thinking. And I’m both sorry (and secretly thrilled) to be the one to tell you: You’ve got a black lady blind spot.

You don’t really see us. You don’t really listen to us. You don’t really include us.

To see us: You’d notice us as people who have just as much of a right as you do to take up space, wherever we are.

To listen to us: You wouldn’t be comfortable talking about race and racism with us only if you’re the only one talking.

To include us: You’d reach out while you’re planning the event to get our input, not after everything has already been set.

To be seen, heard and included is all any of us need.

So the next time you’re taking a man to task for ignoring you, talking over you, making you feel like you aren’t really important or dumping his emotional baggage onto you about something or other, I hope you take the time to wonder if that’s what you are ever doing to me.

I bid you a happy #BlackFuturesMonth (girl, just Google it, damn), and I look forward to you seeing me soon.

Love & Rebellion,
Your Black Friend

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Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's always wanted to start when he called her “Rebellious” for taking too many weekends off. When she isn't instigating a media Rebellion, she's thanking her lucky starlets she gets to do whatever she wants on weekends.