I've always prided myself on being able to make friends with just about anybody regardless of color, creed or background.
As long as you're a cool person, I can roll with you.
For the most part, conversations with my friends are pretty easy going with few arguments. I hate conflicts with people and I typically hate getting into debates. I avoid them like the plague actually. When I realize that a discussion is heading down the road of a debate, I get off at the nearest exit. To me they're usually pointless and people end up getting offended, over-heated and worked up with no real resolution.
I am open to other people's beliefs, ideas and perspectives.
I don't feel the need to sway other peoples' minds or convert them to my own beliefs. We each believe what we believe and we work it out. I don't think we have to be on the same page in every area of our lives to be friends. That would be absolutely boring.
Even radical differences in religious beliefs aren't a big deal for me when forming friendships. As long as we respect each other and don't do anything that may be considered disrespectful, the relationships works.
They say that there a certain subjects you should never discuss with friends. These are religion, politics, money and I'm sure race should be on that list.
I usually break that rule on the other topics but I try to never get into debates about race/racism or anything along that vein. I especially don't like to have these conversations with people of other races.
From personal experience, I find that people a. don't care b. find a way to invalidate the experiences of others c. feel that "we" need to get over it
d. don't think the problems of racism still exist and think that people of color just need to just get their 'ish together and fix their problems instead of blaming others.
Let me preface by saying that I don't believe that everyone not of my race feels this way. If that was the case I would have only friends of my own race.
Haha, so here I am choosing to bring it up on a public blog, definitely not the way to avoid a debate.
I was having a conversation with a friend who falls into the last category, actually probably all of them. Like most of these types of conversations, it started out innocently enough and before you realize it, something is said that acts a the catalyst for a debate. Honestly didn't see it coming or I would have abandoned ship.
I was admittedly a bit annoyed with him. In my mind he wasn't being open to understanding the points that I was trying to make. I'm sure he felt the same way about me. That's usually the case right?
Finally we had to end the conversation because it wasn't going anywhere. At one point I was like "Wait, what are we arguing about?" Of course the original point had been lost in the convolution. We agreed that it was better to end the convo.
The reality is that unless you have lived through an experience or it has directly impacted your life in some way (usually negatively), it just isn't part of your schema. You can easily dismiss it as being insignificant or unfounded.
I know people are entitled to their opinions and like I've said it usually doesn't bother me but in this case it really has stayed on my mind. I'm still processing the conversation and the biggest question in my head is whether or not two people can be friends who have such glaringly different perspectives on an issue.
Actually it has more to do with me than with him. I'm sure he could go on being my friend because the conversation ended and it probably has already left his mind (my assumption, I could be totally wrong) but now that I know what he thinks, it will always be in the back of my mind.
Chances are we will continue to be friends because he has never disrespected me and I understand that the issues of racism (notice I didn't say discrimination, which is a different ingredient in the pie) have not been part of his personal or cultural experiences and he really doesn't understand the impact or implications.
I can't make his or anyone else's ignorance my problem. I would be miserable and angry.
That's just not how I choose to live my life.
This is one of those situations with no clear cut answer/resolution. I'm going to have to file this under "complicated" and call it a day.