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We tend to have a Black-White binary of race conversations in the United States, so let’s expand our minds to be more inclusive. Casual racism is something that almost all people of color face. It can be in the form of microaggressions, subconscious snap judgments, or even the way one’s body moves or is used around other person. So what do we do when the people we love, the people we work with and build friendships with and are sometimes like family to us, even with all the good intentions in the world, still treat us like we’re “other?”

Chris Rock has this wonderful sketch on interracial friendships, as far as American culture goes. One of my favorite lines in the sketch is, “All my Black friends have a bunch of White friends. And all my White friends have one Black friend.” We laugh at things like that because those of us who are in interracial groups of friends sometimes end up in spaces where we are the one person of a particular race/ethnicity. Sometimes it’s not quite so noticeable. Other times, we might get confronted with some causal racism that leaves us feeling at best, uncomfortable and at worst questioning those friendships altogether.

Unlike Common, I do not believe that “extending a hand of love” will cure any kind of racism–the individual kind of racism that we might experience in moments in time, and the institutional kind that affects every facet of life in society. For many, they remain silent in their discomfort. It is troubling, but understandable. No one wants to be policing every word or action of anybody, least of all, a friend. But I think the problem with this sort of silence, is that it is not courageous or a function of maintaining peace. This silence is a function of deeming that the discomfort in your pain is less important than the discomfort it might cause those who hurt you without realizing it, if you were to call them out.

There are of course those who simply choose to edge out of such friendships. That too is understandable, to a point. No one wants to be in charge of constantly having to teach other people to treat them as equal. But yet it seems to that on some level, this is also a cop-out. Not only will it eventually render all your friends homogenous, which is boring because you learn nothing new from being around people who think, talk, act and look like you. But you don’t give people a chance to change. What is all the work of ending racism on any level, if it is not to inspire change in people?

I think the most logical reaction to our friends’ casual racism is also the least comfortable one: Confronting them about it. The truth is most of the time, people might not even know how their prejudices affect how they treat you. Think about it. Outside of racism, have you ever said or done something wrong to a friend continuously and then finally they brought it up, and you had no idea that you had been hurting them unintentionally? Well, that’s the thing about pain and especially healing the wounds and pain in a racist society–even when it is unintentional, it still hurts.

It takes courage to confront anyone, especially those we love, especially those who are our friends. If we give each other the gift of reconciliation when we do so, and not only that, but an opportunity for someone to do better. This is important in a society that is so hurt by its racial past and ongoing presence. Of course that’s the hope. It is not your duty to go beyond those teachable moments. It is not your duty to teach someone how to treat you like a human being if after a courageous confrontation, they still do not get it. In that case, you are better off. Friends like that are worse than enemies because little by little every day, they chip away from your soul. No friendship is with your soul, and you are always entitled to protecting it.


How To Deal With Your Friends’ Casual Racism was originally published on

49 thoughts on “How To Deal With Your Friends’ Casual Racism

    • Lighthead on said:

      You have some nerve, you and every other white person who comes to this site to point out what is wrong with black people. White people have been on this earth for only about 7k yrs (according to a LiveScience and National Geographic article) and have been the most destructive to humanity and to the earth. White people have gone all over the world and committed atrocities against people of color. From the Americas, to Africa, to India, to the South Pacific, to Australia white people have raped and murdered people of color including children. White people have committed atrocities against white people. Unlike any other race on the face of the earth, white people have been the most destructive. Your industrial revolution is now destroying the earth.
      White people love to think that they were the forerunners of civilization when they were savages who copied Egyptian (Khemet) civilization. If you go to any major white institution of higher learning website and see the number of classes offered about Greece and then ask yourself, “Why are there so many classes on Greece when everything that the Greek had done, the Egyptian had done way before a Greek or a Roman was even thought, and the they did 1000 times better and thousands of years earlier. Egypt invented writing, Egypt was the forerunners of Geometry (pyramids are geometric shapes and they still stand today), Chemistry, Astronomy, Architecture, art, and philosophy. Egypt is in Africa. Black people did all these things before a Greek or Roman was even heard of. White people are but a flawed mutation of a black person and everything about western society is a flawed copy of ancient African Society. Right down to Christ who is a copy of Osiris and May is a copy of Isis.
      Why is Pythagoras theorem called by the name Pythagoras when the pyramids (square as its base with triangles as its sides) were built thousands of years before he was born. You think that the Egyptian did not understand this theorem? And why is not called Egyptian theorem? Because white people want you to believe that they are the forerunners of higher thought and creativity. Egyptians had a Classical Civilization that lasted over 3k yrs. Greece nor could Rome ever top that. Truth is Greeks and western civilizations are copy cats and not very good ones.

  1. TESTAR VISSAR on said:

    Thugs face prison time for home invasion execution
    A pair of Manhattan black thugs are facing at least two decades behind bars after copping pleas Monday for the execution-style 2009 slaying of a Queens pizzeria owner’s son who died trying to protect his cancer-stricken dad during a “botched” Mob-connected home invasion. Antoine Burroughs, 26, and cohort Leon Whitfield, 24, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to charges of robbery and robbery conspiracy. Through the plea agreement with the government, they avoid prosecution for murder and other crimes that could have landed them in jail for life for the shooting death of Gerardo Antoniello, 29. Burroughs faces 24 to 30 years in jail and Whitfield 27 to 33 years when they are sentenced by Judge Gregory Woods. The victim was killed defending his father, Bartolomeo Antoniello, the owner of a Howard Beach pizzeria. The gunmen coldly stood over the victim as he lay face down on the floor and pumped a bullet into the back of his head, execution-style, in front of his helpless dad, authorities said.

  2. TESTAR VISSAR on said:

    Unprovoked attack by racist black on St. Louis light rail – White victim punched in face over black thug Michael Brown
    A man was assaulted in a St. Louis, Mo. Light rail train on Monday after refusing to get into a conversation about the shooting of Michael Brown. The suspect, who was caught on camera by St. Louis Metro surveillance video, punched the victim in the face. Two more men joined in the fighting, according to police reports. Another passenger recorded the attack on a cell phone. The victim, 43, who declined to identify himself for the media, was commuting home when a young black man in his twenties, wearing a red t-shirt and cap, walked up to him and asked to use the victim’s cell phone. He refused and then the attacker sat down beside him. “Then he asked me my opinion on the Michael Brown thing,” the victim said. “I responded I was too tired to think about it right now.” “The next thing I know, he sucker punches me right in the middle of my face,” the victim said. The video of the attack shows the suspect pummeling the victim, punching him multiple times in the head while he tries to cover himself with his hands and forearms. Two other men joined in, police said. A security guard witnessed the attack as the train pulled in to a station and alerted police. Onlookers can be heard laughing in the background in the video.

  3. TESTAR VISSAR on said:

    White Boston Police: Injured Officer Remains In Critical Condition, Was Shot ‘Without Provocation’ by black assassin thug
    John T. Moynihan Angelo WestBOSTON – Police Commissioner William Evans said Saturday Boston police officer John Moynihan remains in critical after he was shot “without provocation” on Friday night in Roxbury. Evans said at a press conference from the Boston Police Department headquarters that officers approached 41-year-old Hyde Park resident Angelo West’s vehicle without guns drawn and the man opened fire. According to police, West has a violent criminal history with several gun convictions. The Boston Globe reported that West was arrested in 2001 after he allegedly fired a shot at police officers who were trying to arrest him after witnessing West complete a drug deal. The police commissioner called the incident “a real violent confrontation that was clearly unprovoked by our officers,” and added that there is “excellent video” that shows how the events unfolded. The shooting took place at about 6:40 p.m. Friday in the area of Humboldt Ave. and Ruthven Street

  4. TESTAR VISSAR on said:

    Police investigating E Pike group beating – of White man by pack of savage sexual predator blacks
    White victimsavage black pack attackersavage black pack attackersavage black pack attackersavage black pack attackersavage black pack attackerPolice are investigating after a man was beaten unconscious by a group in the middle of E Pike early Saturday morning. The attack was described by a witness on Reddit: Last night right around 2am on Pike and Boylston I saw a group of 4 or 5 dudes chase another guy into the street, throw him on the ground, kick him in the head, then stomp on his head. One of the assailants was pulled off of the victim while trying to steal his wallet. After speaking to the women the victim was with, it turned out that the group of guys had been sexually harassing the women, and when their male friend stepped in they beat him and tried to mug him. The police came very quickly and the dude was hauled off in an ambulance after coming to, but as far as I could see the perpetrators were not found. Police and Seattle Fire were called to the intersection of Pike and Boylston early Saturday just after 2 AM to a report that a group was fighting and one man was down in the street. Police arrived to find the victim unconscious but breathing. He was taken to the hospital and recovered enough over the weekend to talk to KIRO about the attack. Police were looking for a group of 10 to 12 black males reported by witnesses to have attacked the man and stole his phone. There were no immediate arrests. Meanwhile, only minutes later, a man was reportedly stabbed with a needle in a separate incident at E Pike and 11th

  5. TESTAR VISSAR on said:

    (White) Family ‘profoundly disappointed’ in verdict for Molly Conley’s killing by (less than worthless) black
    Erick WalkerMolly ConleyEVERETT, Wash. — The jury reached a verdict on Monday in the killing of 15-year-old Molly Conley. Erick Walker, 28, was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of the Bishop Blanchet freshman — as she walked along a road in Lake Stevens with friends on June 1, 2013. Walker was charged with one count of first-degree murder. The jury was given the option to find him guilty of the far lesser charge of manslaughter. Molly Conley’s father, John, spoke — after Erick Walker’s manslaughter conviction, saying his family was confused and “profoundly disappointed” with the verdict. “It’s her life, more than her death, that we hope people will remember. Since it was her life that was so amazing,” he said. Erick Walker will be sentenced on April 21st. The sentencing range is 65-80 years for manslaughter and drive-by shooting/assault conviction. The same night Conley was murdered there were other drive-by shootings in Lake Stevens and Marysville. Walker faced 9 counts for those other shootings — five counts of drive-by shooting, 4 counts of assault for potential victims inside those homes.

  6. TESTAR VISSAR on said:

    Black African Pastor Arrested Over His Pregnant White British Wife’s Death
    pregnant British wife, Charmaine Speirs and her black African false-prophet lover-killerA Ghanaian pastor, Prophet Eric Isaiah Adusah, domiciled in the United Kingdom (UK), has been arrested in connection with the death of his pregnant British wife, Charmaine Speirs, which occurred in Koforidua last week. The couple, who are pastors of Global Light Revival Ministries with branches in London, Manchester and Edinburg – all in the UK – had travelled to Ghana to attend a church programme. The suspect left the hotel at the dawn of 17th March and reportedly gave a warning at the front desk that his British wife did not like to be disturbed and so the attendants should attend to her only when she called them for help. However, for three days – Wednesday 18th to Friday 20th March – attendants at the facility tried fruitlessly to reach her. They reportedly became alarmed because her check out date was due that Friday. Not getting any response from her, management decided to use a spare key to open the door to her room to find out whether or not the occupant was still in. The guest, who was said to be three months pregnant, was allegedly found dead in the bath tub, lying prostrate with a white towel wrapped around her, almost in a decomposed state. The police suspected foul play and invited Prophet Adusah from the UK.

  7. First of all Black folks cannot ben RACIST because we have no POWER-political/economic or OTHERWISE!

    Therefore, only ignorant Whites can be truly RACIST-now put that in your pipes and smoke it!!!!!!!!

  8. Back in 1978 I read a story of a young African American woman who had a lot of white friends in her home
    town of Chicago.
    This was the year Harold Washington became mayor of Chicago.When he was elected mayor the woman’s so-called friend’s true color came out. She became so distraught she committed suicide.
    I say all of that to say this-there are ONLY 1/2 OF 1% OF white people in this country that are truly fed up with this race sit-and they are the real Christians. Racism in the US is an INTANGIBLE MACHINE-we can’t see it or put our hands on it but we as African Americans and others experience it EVERY DAY we walk out the door.

    Once you know what your dealing with-you than can do EVERYTHING within your power to make it best for yourself-like taking education SERIOUSLY-pulling the kids off the streets and raising them instead of letting the streets raise them ect ect ect. Look at the comments from these people on this board-think they don’t mean what they say? Stevie Wonder has a song with a verse that says “hatred everywhere” and the comments we see here this morning CONFIRMS just that point.

    One thing I often think about and that is-we’re [African Americans] ARE NOT the problem so than who is?

    LOL-we all do,don’t we-get busy Black American and make it BEST for us all.

  9. Timonthy on said:

    the very fact that this RACIST website exists oh wow for the BLACKs means it is the black Americans….for there IS no PURELY Americans, who are causing the race problems. I don’t recall seeing a WHITEAMERICAWEB.COM anywhere. Why? because you hypocrite scum bags supporting this website would call those of who ARE prouder than most=White to be RACISTS. Pure garbage.
    I noticed the bidch first (what a joke) lady telling the world that Black women Rock..or some such diatribe puke. Wow……….yes indeed. Former President Bush’s wife gets up and says WHITE WOMEN RULE OR WHITE WOMEN ROCK….and bam..the NAACP or some other worthless organization would be out there rioting, just like the pigs who were out there destroying private families’ businesses when the Ferguson riots happened.

  10. Timonthy on said:

    Until the bullshid media and worse stops telling US WHAT TO THINK, when to think and why and where and when to think it theN FUC all comments about race. IT IS EVERY peron’s right to WISH to be racist, to think of people with different colored skin as different Or the SAME or equal OR NOT. Stop taking our RIGHTS AWAY FROM US you mother scum bag gutter trash

  11. brie1807 on said:

    If someone says racist remarks to you their not your friend no matter what color you are. People amaze me at what they will put up with just to fit in i dont care if your green you will not say offensive things to me and im goinh to call you a friend.

  12. Lighthead on said:

    For those of you claiming that black people are racist, don’t know what racism is. If you have an hour and a half. Please go to youtube and watch “Post traumatic Disorder Dr Joy de Gruy Leary.”

    In this video she asks her colleagues the following.

    “How many of you think that there are still white racist?” crowd raises hands and

    “How many of you think that there are black racist?” Crowd responds same as before.

    “How does white racism affect the everyday lives of black people?” people in the crowd gives answers
    “Policing” someone said
    “Housing discrimination” another replied.
    “Employment discrimination” said another.

    “How does black racism affect the everyday lives of white folks?”
    Crickets (silence) from the room.
    Black people can be prejudice but not racist. It takes power to be a racist. If you have the time to watch that video, it is good from beginning to end.

  13. Let me in on said:

    People just don’t like other people that aren’t like them. Blacks, gays, muslims, christians, crackers, liberals, conservatives – call it whatever you want but at the end of the day it is simply fear and hate for those that aren’t like you because you can’t think outside yourself and your own situation.

  14. Kevin on said:

    Every white person that comment on this issue is as bigoted as they come, I don’t know why they pretend to be otherwise. They feel like blacks have something against them,. Most of them know they deserve to be hated and that most of their white friends can’t stand them either. Just stop it …. your parents raised you to be just as wicked and evil as they are or were …. this will not change until you are dead and has rotted away

    • baba'sKids on said:

      What is funny is that Black people are the most Racist people ever… can’t stop Racism with racism! Blacks people wanna blame All white people for everything, but in all reality many white people are trying to get us to get along. …it is the Asians, Hispanics, Indians, Mixed races and ect that are Not trying too hard to help us….it is the white people that are helping!

      • Lighthead on said:

        For those of you claiming that black people are racist, don’t know what racism is. If you have an hour and a half. Please go to youtube and watch “Post traumatic Disorder Dr Joy de Gruy Leary.”

        In this video she asks her colleagues the following.

        “How many of you think that there are still white racist?” crowd raises hands and says yes

        “How many of you think that there are black racist?” Crowd responds same as before.

        “How does white racism affect the everyday lives of black people?” people in the crowd gives answers
        “Policing” someone said
        “Housing discrimination” another replied.
        “Employment discrimination” said another.

        “How does black racism affect the everyday lives of white folks?”
        Crickets (silence) from the room.
        Black people can be prejudice but not racist. It takes power to be a racist. If you have the time to watch that video, it is good from beginning to end.

        you don’t know what racism is.

  15. Shirotsu on said:

    I hear more racist comments from blacks, asians and hispanics, than I do from whites, where I work in my DoD job. What’s worse is that these comments are made unprovoked, in jest, or spiteful. The more comments I hear, the more I am convinced that non-caucasians are far more racist and bigoted than whites are.

  16. Begin all new relationships by making it clear that like all Americans you are a racist but that you hate no one and wish the best for everyone regardless of race. That eliminates the ‘gotcha’ issue and then you can get on to more important things.

  17. Darren on said:

    Yawn, more race dividing bs. I’m a young black male currently attending a college who’s demographics are represented by only 2% of African Americans. So yes I have a lot more white friends then they probably have black friends. Should I blame my white friends for the reality of the racial demographics at our school too?

  18. Jack Wadd on said:

    Umm, lessee…. America is 13% black, 87% other. No wonder one black guy knows lotsa whites, and lotsa whites only know one black. The very BASIS of your article is flawed. We forced the Japs into internment camps during WW2, and didn’t release them until 1945. 70 years later, it’s a non-issue. Blacks CHOOSE to pursue racism as a tool to manipulate America. The “race card” is all played out now. Keep pushing it and America’s fuse will get shorter and shorter… mine sure is.

  19. Only Whites are targeted with this idiocy. No one ever asks why people have the perception they do about Blacks. It’s not skin color, it’s behavior and an inability to assimilate into civilized society. Visit Africa…they can’t even build a society, let alone thrive in one. Harsh? Does that mean it’s not true?

  20. Obama has seriously FAILED this country in his DIVISIVE attacks on whites — really he would be impeached if he were not black — (don’t forget he was raised totally white, his black father was absent).

  21. as a white girl, I have had half black/half white friends who are real cool….
    but you know they admitted they really did not like other “black” people!!

  22. Fred Crow on said:

    Im an old white guy, you know the kind that Chris Rock says is almost as bad as an old black guy LOL. But I have 4 black friends. You might ask how would an old white guy have four black friends that’s a crock. Well one is a fellow church member, two others I had a relationship that started in business 35 years ago, and the last guy is a part of our hunting group. They are all great guys. Yeah they piss me off sometimes just like my white friends and probably visa versa but that’s what friends are like. I didn’t befriend them because they were black, I liked them and we had similar interests. One thing we all have been married for over 30 yrs and that’s hard to find nowadays. But I have to admit I hate the hood culture. the hangin with homies and not taking care of your children, but these black friends comment on that too, they don’t like it either. And they don’t like the racists whites and I don’t like them either, so there are some other things we have in common. I wonder how many other folks are like us but are very quiet and don’t scream, don’t loot, don’t discriminate, are law abiding citizens who have friends of various cultures and races? I think there are quite a few, but most of us are working, raising our families, playing with grandchildren, spending time in the outdoors and don’t waste a lot of time in here screaming our heads off. Now you wont hear from me for awhile, best of luck to all of your regardless of your color, culture and background.

  23. The word racism was created to enslave the minds of White Americans to keep us in line. It is a clever tool of war that is being used to saturate every level of our society. They have identified the natural desire of whites to survive as racism. It is the Trojan horse of America.

  24. the only way is the fence em in ,throw scraps their way ,put german shepherds, national guard to not allow them out, just like a zoo

  25. Again, the wrong assumption that only “people of color” are subject to “micro-aggression” and “subconscious snap judgments”. What a crock. How about if we all just treat each other better, and ditch the victim mentality racism garbage.

  26. fsilber on said:

    There are different kinds of racism and different ways that people can be inappropriate. Every one of them requires a different treatment.

  27. Shelly on said:

    I was told that all white people smell like wet dogs when they get wet.. Racist? My kids are also called “crackers” on a regular basis.. Racist? Nope because it was all said by black people, and we ALL know-they ain’t racist!! People need to wake up to the agenda- quit feeling guilty for something you didn’t do. Other people need to wake up to the fact their ancestors were not the only people to be mistreated or enslaved in the world- and on a much smaller scale in America. If black people can’t be judged by the actions of another black man- how can a white person be judged by the actions of another white man who lived 100 years ago?

  28. Someone on said:

    You get it from all sides. Black people aren’t the only victims and white people aren’t the only “casual racists”, so stop with this, it’s getting old. How about telling people to speak up when something isn’t ok, and others having tact.

  29. What do you do when you are the victim of racism and you are white??? Why nothing.. There is nothing you can do… I wish the propaganda press would realize that Racism is found in people of every color. And not every white person is a racist. But then that would not sell papers or get votes for the democrats..

  30. Brian Sutton on said:

    This and other articles like this remind me of a time when we were all pre-adolescent .Body language , facial expressions, misinterpreted moods were the continuous cause of upset and insecurity.

    And then I grew up…..

    • robert shive on said:

      As one of my (Korean-born) sons once told me, “All of my friends are racist. They jus aren’t racist with me.”

  31. There are a lot of Hispanics (people of color) who are racist against black people. It’s an issue that is ignored. Think about that before you single out only white people as being the racist.

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