I Had To Say Goodbye to My Racist Best Friend
I haven’t talked to my former best friend in nearly 8 months and though sometimes I miss our sisterhood, I don’t miss her. I met Alexandra when I was 25 (maybe a bit younger) when we both worked at a popular local jewelry store. We clicked immediately and became instantly inseparable. At the time, when I first started, I was only 1 of 3 black faces that worked at that location. Needless to say being everyone’s token black associate in a company full of casual racists, got old fast. I couldn’t keep track of the number of times I’d witnessed black patrons of the retail side of the store followed for “looking suspicious”, and observed the workers of the jewelry side treat black customers like they couldn’t afford to make some of the higher end purchases. I was over it. I finally lost my patience and every last fuck I had to give and became short tempered and vocal about my anti capitalist views and disdain for their “color blind” rhetoric.
Through all of this Alexandra became my great escape. She was my best friend, she couldn’t be racist. Yeah, she was an upper middle class white girl, who wouldn’t know true oppression if it kicked her in the face. But she was my friend, and she had been there for me when a lot of people weren’t. Also, when I checked her on certain things she said that offended me, she listened. At least she seemed to.
After the George Zimmerman verdict Alexandra proved once and for all that she was just another willfully ignorant, faux centrist; who really thought all lives mattered. The night of the verdict I voiced my stress and hurt to her and even fear of what could happen to my son. She wasted no time explaining away the murder as an accident and painting Zimmerman as a frightened concerned citizen. Terrified of a thug in a hoodie.
I was shocked. My brain couldn’t even comprehend what she was saying. How could anyone see Tamir Rice as anything but a kid visiting his dad and Zimmerman as a cold blooded murderer? However she was my best friend and entitled to her opinion. She wasn’t racist. After Trayvon Martin’s murder I became more and more active in black organizations in my state and I came in contact with many great activist groups through facebook. I woke up and started speaking out more on injustice and dedicated to learning more about politics and social justice. I deleted many friends on facebook, eventually deleting facebook altogether, and getting into many heated debates. Through all of these changes Alexandra was still in my life and I still considered her a friend; even though we had drifted a great deal apart and we drifted even further each time a black life was lost at the people who were sworn to protect them.
Then the unthinkable happened, America decided to shed its guise of a nation of equal opportunity, of truth and justice. White America elected Donald J. Trump — a racist reality TV Star- as their president. Like many other black Americans, I felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone and it was time to step up and fight. I had work to do and the hardest work started with myself.
My former bestie thought differently about her new president. A few weeks, maybe even a month or more after the election, Alexandra called me for a quick catch up session, after about 10 minutes of mindless chit chat 45 and his policies came up and she quickly let me know how she felt about “the hate group” Black Lives Matter and how sensitive I was. I mean c’mon all lives matter right? Wrong. I politely let Alexandra know how I felt about her president and her for taking the side of White Supremacy. I also let her know that no, all lives didn’t matter and reminded her of the countless conversations where I’d try to break down white supremacy in America and give her the facts that supported everything I said. I was no longer going to be her educator, she was fully capable of accessing the internet and finding out the information herself, I was done doing the work for her, I was doing the work for all white people.
I haven’t spoken to her since. The thing I regret most? Not ending the friendship sooner and ignoring her racism for as long as I did. I had to say goodbye to someone I thought was my best friend, and honestly I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes standing up to racism starts with standing up to the people you love most.