09 February 2005

Black History Month

As far as racial discrimination goes, I have led a fairly sheltered life. Until I was 10 years old, I lived in a northern city and my family had friends of every ethnicity. I just missed the school desegregation years, so I grew up thinking that race problems were a part of history. Frankly, if someone tried to exclude me now, I would never assume that it was because of race.

Every year at this time, however, my mind goes back to an discussion I had with my best friend, who happens to be white. Valentine's Day was coming up, and I was excited because I happened to find a nice card for ABM that had a black couple on it. When I shared this with her, she said that she didn't understand why I was making such a big deal out of the race of some people on a greeting card. I was nonplussed; I tried to make her understand but I don't think I ever did. To this day, I am not sure if that conversation was an example of how far we have come in race relations or of a white person being totally insensitive to the feelings of a black person.

Many people would point to an incident like this and say that it illustrates their argument that a white person and a black person can never truly be best friends. I don't agree with that, but I know now that I can never take for granted that my best friend understands my point of view.
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