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I’m a speaker, consultant, and higher ed attorney with a focus on race and institutional equity issues. I invite you to read, comment, and reach out.

Genuine Interracial Friendships are Often Complicated, but Essential

Lisa and her husband have been dear friends of my family for years, dating back to our previous lives in Jackson, Mississippi. I deeply value my friendship with Lisa (and tolerate Drew - kidding, buddy) because she’s a thoughtful, caring, and loving person and wonderful friend. 

The fact that we are members of different races makes our relationship all the more important to each of us. 

I visited Lisa and her family during a recent trip to Chicago.

I visited Lisa and her family during a recent trip to Chicago.

Intimate interracial friendships and as well as romantic relationships are of vital importance to the fight toward racial equality. From an incentives standpoint, they often elicit a more immediate sense of moral urgency for the parties involved. At their best, they may also provide the white person with at least some understanding of the experience-based knowledge that can come only from living in America as a person of color. 

At their very best, interracial friendships can act as a symbiotic relationship, benefiting both parties. White people need (as in require) open and honest relationships with people of color in order to be shown the real-world implications of America's race issues. Black people require advocacy and support from white people in our fight for racial equality because, to be frank, white people largely control the levers of power with respect to our institutions, government, and society at-large.

Lisa has explained (and more importantly, shown) that she hopes to continue to use the social benefits she receives as a byproduct of her Whiteness (which some call "white privilege") to advance and advocate for marginalized groups, namely black and brown people. We are both so thankful for everything we continue to learn from one another. 

Last year Lisa and I got together for a conversation about life in both Jackson, Mississippi and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, larger issues of race in America, and the way forward. Take a look!

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