I want a Black friend, but one just like me.

I was on the train last night. It was crowded with rush hour commuters, and it was standing room only. Luckily I’d found the last seat on the top row of the train car. As I neared my stop, standing on the steps was a well-dressed African-American gentleman. He was slender and bookish looking, with round eye glasses. More than that he was reading a David Baldacci mystery novel. He nodded smartly, slipping a bookmark into the novel, gathering up an expensive leather shoulder bag and moving over so I could slip past.

I thanked him, of course, offering a friendly, “hope I didn’t interrupt the good part.”

“Not at all,” he replied, without a single “yo,” or “fahshizzle,” or without flashing a single gang sign. His voice was so smooth, as if he’d been properly raised in a decent White neighborhood, like say, Kenilworth or Lake Forest, or some other affluent place. He seemed perfect. And if I wanted to deflect any potential accusations of being racist or bigoted in any way, this was the sort of Black I’d want to prove it.

See, I have these other Black friends, but at the end of the day they are way more black than white. For example, I like Blues music, but they actually relate to the blues. I love jazz, but they get jazz. Don’t get me started on soul food. They’re great and all, and I love them dearly, but what I want is a Black friend that I can relate to with the least amount of effort.

Part of the problem with my Black friends is that they carry all this baggage about “racial profiling,” stereotyping them into one group or class, assuming that all of them grew up in the ghetto, aspire to welfare, hide a criminal background or take public transportation in hopes there will be an accident that they can profit from. They get all high and mighty when I don’t get why its bad to call them the “N” word, but I’m still a cracker. They’re touchy about slavery, and in no humor to hear the high numbers of incarcerated Blacks as a reason they are followed in department stores. The older ones still have this chip on their shoulder about segregation, being shot at and spit on by snarling and deranged whites for wanting to attend a better school, sit at a lunch counter or use a toilet. Racism happened 30 years ago. I mean, the Jews got over the Holocaust. The Rwandans are over their Genocide, and the South Africans over Apartheid, right?  When was the last time Christians ever brought up Roman atrocities 2000 years ago? Easter doesn’t count, because that involves bunnies and colored eggs.

Since the Civil Rights movement I’ve learned that being with my “own” kind is racist at worst and divisive at best. I’ve learned. I’ve learned to be very careful about how I talk to and what I say about Blacks. I’ve learned to never say what I’m actually thinking, but to find a less offensive way of revealing the obvious. So, since according to a lot of White folks I know, racism has been eliminated (Hello, we hired a Black guy in the White House!)  and we are living in a “post racial” period, I am perfectly willing to overlook the color of a person’s skin. In that regard, is it so much to ask that they are just like me?

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

One response to “I want a Black friend, but one just like me.

  • Glenda Turck

    Sometimes I have the same problem and then I remember that it is me who is making the rules and passing the judgement. It would be a lot easier if everyone were culturally like everyone else but then there would be no reason to learn to live with diversity and other viewpoints.
    You have a lot of satire here and laughing is a good way to learn to accept.

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