Who needs a Black friend?

The answers to most of the questions I receive on this website have the same general themes: (1) Have you thought about it from the others perspective? (2) Do unto others (i.e. how would you like if it were done to you) and (3) What do you think (because people usually stop thinking when they can defer to an “expert”). Additionally, the questions are mostly repetitive and/or can be found in my book. Among other reasons, this is why in all these years I’ve resisted writing a follow-up book. “All these years” is significant because the book still sells pretty well.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,078 in Books  #15 in Books > Reference > Education > Questions & Answers  #22 in Books > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations > America

And while that’s great for supplemental income, mine is the type of book you’d like to see fade into obscurity for lack of need/interest.

I mean it’s simple (and sometimes funny) to point out our differences. And I could easily cobble together enough new material from this very unchanged post-racial Obama era. But I won’t because as far as I can tell, drawing awareness to and documenting differences (in treatment or behavior) hasn’t caused any major positive shifts. Yes, I know change happens slowly and progress has been made; but we are way behind where we should be race relations wise. Just as knowing better does not mean doing better; neither does acknowledging our differences lead to wide range acceptance or appreciation. And in my opinion, racial tolerance is low sight to set. So, I am leaving it to the comedians, race baiters/mongers and the defenders/racial apologists. Until I can find a meaningful way to address what I see as a not so complex race relation problem, I am exiting ala Dave Chappelle (minus the fame, money and opportunity) and there will be no follow-up.

This is not a concession or acceptance of the status quo. I DON’T believe our problems have been solved or will work themselves out. I DO believe our current adversarial paradigm is due for a major overhaul. And we can do better starting with me. In the future look for something from me that strongly advocates a change in oneself as a first step. Sure, I’ll continue to answer your questions (I am your Black friend afterall) but please consider the themes in the first paragraph before you ask – then buy my book. Thank you.

 

One Response to “Who needs a Black friend?”

  • Tim:

    N.
    I, for one am very glad that I read your book. I have recommended it to several people already, but whether they have purchased it and then read it or not I have not heard. You have already done more than most in following you desire to see racial issues even out, so I in no way view this admission as a concession. For most of my adult life I have heard people tout the benefits of “celebrating diversity” which is no more than a catch phrase of one cause or another other than racial harmony. diversity is never what brings people together. The focus tends to be on how we are all so different, but it is our innate desire to be with those like us (in appearance, thought, belief, etc.) that actaully brings people together. It is also that same desire, when rational thinking is removed, that fans the flames of the problem you are trying to conquer. I don’t think that I have ever seen a forum, book, TV show, or anything else that strives to show how alike we all truly are. The diversity, or differences are more than apparent if one only has eyes and ears. The similarities take work, and cooperation, and converstation. Tolerance is a start as it begets an openness to opportunity, but one has to want to exersice that opportunity. At every turn in our societly, through all aspects we are torn asunder based on race, geographical location, heritage, economic status, school affiliation, fashion choice, which movie vampire or werewolf’s camp one is “in”, and on and on and on… Some of these obviously are more important than others, but they all exist. As you know, I am one half of an interracial marriage that has lasted 11 strong years to this point and not once have we had a “racial” issue arise. We both come from families that stressed treating people as individuals, based on their own merit and they personality they show, and not the color of thier skin, or where they come from, or how much they have (or don’t). We both come from tight-knit, strong families where we were taught to value the family unit. We have way too many similarities to list here acually, but my point is that it’s through those similarities and shared values that we maintain our strength, not from out diversity. My though all along is that society is going about this “movement” all wrong (or exactly as they should, depending on your penchant for conspiracy theory…?. I commend what you have done to this point as being aware of differences is important, but not nearly so much as recognizing what we have in common, and I think that your book effectively offers both.
    (Unfortuantely I began this post knowing that I did not have the time to flesh it out properly, so I really hope that my thoughts come across clearly. I’ll try to check back in to explain myself further if necessary)

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