I have a few friends outside of my race. To some this may be common place but in Mississippi it is few and far between. The divide is still ever present. I have a friend who openly admits that she was raised thinking that all Black people were thieves. She was a young adult before she understood most criminal acts have nothing to do with color and everything to do with class. I have another friend who openly admits that her family is prejudice against Blacks. The beauty of these relationships is that we are able to have a relationship at all.
I come from a background myself that frowns upon mingling with the lighter persuasion. As an adult I just find the entire mentality quite limiting on both sides. I understand one thing and that people can hurt you despite what color they are.
We are taught from very young ages to judge others on appearance. Colors are presented to us as early as words.
I remember being no more than four or five, standing in Wal-Mart with another little White girl, running my hand down the steel divider, when I brushed her hand. She ran to her mother and said she had gotten dirty because I touched her. As a child, automatically, I compared us. Our clothes were similar, our cleanliness, our hair, what stood out as our difference was our color. Why was she dirty because I touched her, because my skin resembled dirt?
I never said anything to my mother. But, toppling the lessons my mother sent me as a child to be twice as good as Whites, twice as smart, what I heard was that I was half a person.
Ironically, I am very secure in my ethnicity. I am not super sensitive but I am cautious by nature. This, however, came with time and knowledge.
As an adult I make it a point not to assume to understand someone or their experience because of their color. Have I encountered some scars from people who held on to racial inadequacies in our acquaintance? Yes, most definitely. Am I bitter about it? Not at all. It is hard to speak for an entire race every single day of your life. Instead what I find more realistic is just to be me. This allows rational people a look at an individual who has much to offer to my background and so forth. I say a rational person because only an irrational person would think one human being can speak or represent an entire montage of culture, history and ancestry in which case refuting such ideal would be pointless anyway wouldn’t you say?