Affirmative: Keeping Black Friends

Three weeks ago, we delved into things non-blacks shouldn’t do if they want to keep their one black friend(s). We found out that there’s a laundry list of things that irk black people. Go figure.

Well, I’ve decided to even it out some by creating a list of affirmative things you can do to maintain your friendships with black people. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

If you say you want to see this guy in uniform again because you want him redeem himself, you might score a point or two with some black people.

If you say you want to see this guy in uniform again because you want him redeem himself, you might score a point or two with some black people.

5. Say that you hope  Michael Vick succeeds. In your heart, you could hope that Mike Vick is thrown into a ring and forced to dance with flesh-eating wolves. But as long as you tell us of your positive hopes for Vick, your blacks friends will admire you. And if you actually mean it? Man, you might almost earn yourself a pseudo black card. Black people love redemption tales more than the average American. We want to see Vick do well. In fact, the team that signs him might just become the new Georgetown Hoyas.

4. Know more about black history than just President Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., slavery and hip hop. Yes, black people do more than work on expanding Webster’s dictionary with ridiculous non-words like irregardless and giving new definitions to words like swaggeriffic. If you can name at least five things George Washington Carver made with the peanut, you’ll score a few points. If you can tell me who invented the stoplight and and , you’re well on your way.

3. Ask us what we read. It’s a great/safe conversation starter. It makes it seem as though you’re giving us credit for doing something most people don’t think black people do. You’ll be shocked to learn that we read the same periodicals and authors you do. Like Dave Chappelle said, we’re studying you. Note: If the black person you’re with replies by saying they love Soulja Boy’s Twitter feed, you’ve friended the wrong kind of black person.

2. Attend all-black events. Black people loathe being the only black in the room much the same as a man hates being trapped in a room with 20 women he knows he can’t take home. So when a black person invites you to a place where you’re guaranteed to be the minority, and you not only don’t sink, but you swim like your last name is Phelps,  you will earn respect. Note: Hip hop concerts do not count. Period.

1. Admit that Elvis can’t touch Michael Jackson AND that Stevie Wonder is a better songwriter than John Lennon was. If you can say these things and mean it, someone will show up at your doorstep the next day with a shiny, new black card — your name already engraved. … OK, maybe not. But your black friend might invite you to the next year’s Essence Fest. … OK, maybe not.


27 responses to “Affirmative: Keeping Black Friends

  1. You are crazy. Although I don’t really care if they hope Vick succeeds or not, I do completely agree with #1.

    I feel like every white person should experience being the only one of their kind at an event. It will just help open their eyes to how we feel most of the time.

    • @tam: Why I gotta be crazy? lol. Nah, the attending an all-black event is essential. I don’t care what anyone says.

      Being the only person of a race or sex in a room makes a difference. Hell, being the only person who orders the steak when everyone else gets veggie burgers makes a difference. lol.

      • @Damon: IDK, you always make me laugh and since I’m crazy I figure that anyone who makes me laugh must be crazy too.

        One of my white co-workers went to an HBCU but he still has times where he says ridiculous stuff so I’m not sure how much it helped him…..

  2. Love this post.

    5. I do genuinely hope Vice succeeds..I’m kinda salty they would take this man’s career for dog-fighting but if he’d killed a human being drunk driving he’d’ve probably been alright…ftw Vick +2010 Super Bowl in Miami!

    4. This is a complete must. There is so much more to black history than just five things–some little known black history facts give you the biggest sense of who you are than knowing black children are in the White House.

    3. I’ll just said that I just finished reading Shelia M. Goss’ book The Invisible Wife for my book club–that doesn’t mean that I won’t pick up something resembling a text book and get to it for the knowledge of my people and the world–btw…a major newspaper like the NYT or CST…is a daily must read!

    2. All black events rock to me. Every time I go to an event that has black people (not wearing white tees and sneaks) actually talking about something of substance and minimal drama I am happy…happy enough to shout!

    1. MJ is the greatest there ever was & ever will be. End of story.

  3. I commented all damned wrong for this post…but if you’ll see my answers you’ll know that I feel they others should feel the same way I do!

  4. Well, I might as well turn in my black card right now because i definitely do not hope Vick succeeds. He was a mediocre QB that did more running than throwing and he’s a mediocre human being and so is anyone who gets their kicks by inflicting suffering and death on living creatures…human and otherwise. Getting off my soapbox now.

    • @thefunkyheadhunter:

      I respect your opinion. But I disagree with this idea of not hoping he succeeds. I’ll save my rant on that for tomorrow, but know that it’s coming …

      Know this, though: Saying that you don’t hope Vick succeeds <> after his fall is like saying you don’t want any other black man who does something wrong to succeed… including President Obama. Sounds a lot like Rush Limbaugh to me. Just an opinion, though.

  5. 1) Say you think Office Crowley is an idiot and Skip Gates deserves to own half of Boston. Not all of us agree but we’ll like you melanin-challenged folks more if you just say it. If you can’t go this far, just denounce Rush Limbaugh a few times as a racist talking head, that works as well.

    2) Every time you see a white male with “blue-eyed soul” say, “He’s alright but Sam Cooke could have tore that up!” You can also use Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson or any old school R&B music icon.

    3) In casual conversation just say, “I think the Color Purple is the best movie ever” you can also swap that with, “Spike Lee shoulda won an Oscar for Malcolm X, he was robbed!”

    • You will win everytime if you follow OneChele’s advice here. Whether you know what you’re saying or not, there will be enough supposition that you won’t have to explain anything. ‘Specially if it’s done as a passing (BUT relevant) comment.

  6. AMEN. Especially number 2. I have a group of friends that are mostly 2520s and one of them is the forever party organizer. When I used to go out, I’d find myself hanging with them and all the black men that didnt’ want to date black girls.

    When it was time to come to an event I invited her too, she never showed up.

  7. I totally agree with 1 & 2. In regards to #2, we can take it a step further beyond black events. There’s nothing I admire more than a white person that makes the decision to go to an HBCU and want to be there for other reasons besides a scholarship opportunity. Last year Joshua Packwood was like the coolest white guy ever and it was because his whole disposition was completely genuine (he’s cute too!)…

    In regards to #1, this is something that’s very dear to me…seriously. I was just having this conversation with the fiance the other day and I was explaining to him how it was rumored that Elvis didn’t even like black folks but who did he jack his whole swagger from? … huh? …. That’s right, BLACK rock and roll artists. Little Richard might not go down as the true King of Rock and Roll, but he should definitely be the Godfather of it…MJ wins hands down because of his entire originality. Yes, he watched and studied proteges like James Brown and Jackie Wilson, but he took it, did something else with it and made it ALL his own…He is the KING… period. 🙂

  8. For the record, I truly want Mike Vick to succeed. He was the highest paid person in the NFL for a reason and I want to see him return back to that greatness. Sure, I think what he was doing to poor innocent animals was bad, but we all make mistakes and deserve a second chance. Mike Vick is the truth on that field…whatever team picks him up will get a return on their risk…

  9. I agree with #4 and if you can tell me history or current events that blk folk dont know you get more points. Tell me about who is the head of NASA or the History of the Negro Church.

    I would like to add, that you invite me to a party and dont give me a Natty Lite. Have some decent beer please

    • Drinking Natty Lite is akin to eating Ramen. You wouldn’t offer Ramen to house guests, so why would you offer someone Natty Lite? It’s almost disrespectful. lol.

    so why was i JUST venting to my homegirl about this after church yesterday!?!
    to add to the list:

    6. able to name a black person who ISN’T famous as somebody you “know” : don’t tell me how u know black people and then when i ask you to name one you can only give me Oprah! seriously!?!? or even worse tell me how you “know” about our hair ’cause you have a black nanny!?! (yes, my coworker really went there)

  11. Funkyheadhunter

    @ Damon,

    I disagree with the Limbaugh analogy in that Limbaugh wanted Obama to fail before he even began his 1st term. Vick on the other hand was given a chance to succeed and what did he do with it? He squandered it in inhuman ways. And to this day he seems to be more sorry about getting busted as opposed to being sorry for killing and maiming. I just don’t believe that saying you’re “sorry” and clicking your heels three time should allow you to have your life back the way that it was especially after you were such an integral part its destruction in the first place. But Vick’s a celebrity so most of my people will jump on the “Vick’s not so bad” train and make excuses for bad behavior all in the name of wanting the brotha to “do well”.

  12. Slow clap, especially for #2 and #1.

    My last serious relationship was with a white guy. One of the BIGGEST fights we ever had was when he made a comment about being upset that we were going somewhere where he was going to be the only white person. We’d been dating, at that point, for YEARS (3, at this point) and I’d accompanied him to many a “all-white” event, despite feeling uncomfortable (which says a lot, because I rarely feel super uncomfortable just because I’m the only black face in the room. I got over that sometime around 8th grade… 6 classes a day, only one with another black person will do that to you) without so much as a peep, because I was more excited that he wanted me to go to these places with him.

    When all was said and done, I came to the conclusion that that wasn’t really his issue (though it was an issue) he just was too embarrassed (for whatever reason) to admit he didn’t want to go because he didn’t want to share me with all the other people. Ever since then, however, I’ve taken an especially new look to how white people seem to rarely consider what it’s like for a black person to be the lone dark face in the room and how it might be just like how they’d feel if they were the lone white face. Lots of social commentary to be had there.

  13. word to number 2.
    i’ve been the only black person at a number of events (mainly high school), so i’m not uncomfortable with that anymore. it’d be nice, ESPECIALLY if we’re good friends, to make that effort to come to something i invite you to, even if you’re gonna be the minority.
    funny thing, one of my oldest friends (who happens to be black) invited me to one of her coworker’s housewarmings last year because she herself didn’t want to be the only black person there & didn’t want to feel uncomfortable.

  14. i can’t say i want ANYONE, black or white, to fail, but Vick doesn’t really hold a place in my heart. sorry. as for the others, i’ll work on it. 🙂

    funny story from down south: i met a baby boy in rural guatemala named after obama! AND if one is even slightly dark and is “president” of his class, his nickname will surely be obama. i can’t say guatemala is culturally sensitive or even aware. but gotta love it.

    • My one true Asian friend, ladies and gentlemen. lol…

      @Lynn: Vick doesn’t hold much of a place in my heart, either. I don’t want him to fail, though.

      And I love the tales from the Guate.

  15. Hey, y’all.

    One more that I’d add (although this could fall under #2 above) is…don’t be afraid to attend an all black (or predominantly black) church from time to time.

    Some of the questions that I get from friends and co-workers who know I’m Baptist are:

    1. What is a revival?

    2. Why do your worship services last so long? (Although we go to early bird service so we’re in and out within an hour and a half.)

    3. What is a deacon? Deaconess? Elder?

    4. What is a tithe?

    5. Why does the choir sing so much?

    6. What’s up with the people running around the church screaming & falling out?

    7. I also get a lot of questions about baptism.

    Etc., etc., etc. Granted we also get these questions from other blacks so it isn’t just non-blacks that ask these questions.

    We attend a very big church and the congregation is pretty big. There are two worship services (used to be three) and although it’s predominantly black, there are a few white members here and there in both services but more in the later service than the earlier service.

    • @Shawnta’

      It’s funny that you mentioned this issue. One of my best friends is married to a white man and she attends a pentacostal church. He made it a point to attend church with her prior to them marrying because he wanted to see and learn the difference in worship and cultural setting.

  16. Re: M. Vick. Why is KC actin’ like they don’t need a little boost on the field? Now is not the time to be full of pride…we need to win. I know they aren’t used to that, but a change of pace could be nice.

    There are several things you must do to keep black friends because Lord knows we do a whole lotta lotta to keep white friends (or at least fake it with the coworkers).

    An addition to the list…
    Do not force your black friends to listen to tales of your children playing sports (I don’t have any), your husband’s reluctance to put his clothes in the hamper (don’t have a husband either, and clothes it the hamper seems petty to argue about) and lastly, I don’t want to swap recipes with you…I don’t want to make anything that involves Kraft Catalina and Miracle Whip.

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