Serious Skirts: Racism


I just finished watching Crash, which left me with quiet tears streaming down my face. For whatever reason, racism has always been a really hard thing for me to deal with. It's so hurtful and pointless; it always feels like we should be past this point by now. In fact, how did we even get to this point in the first place?

I became friends with a girl my first year at college who had been raised in a small town in Texas. There were very few black people in her town, and they all lived together in what was almost a separate community from the whites. The wall still stood in the forest outside the city limits from which blacks had been hung during the Civil War period. I still somehow assumed that she had, like everyone I had met thus far in life, not been affected by this history.

She was very conservative and had never really approved of all the time I spent with my Clubber boys on their dorm floor. But it wasn't until I started hanging out with a black guy that she really became vocal about her feelings. She quoted to me a passage from Scripture one night:

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).

She paraphrased, though, and told me that it wasn't right to be "unequally yoked" with a person of a different race.

I blinked.

It was very hard for me to keep from yelling at her in that moment, but I'm very glad I didn't. We eventually came to an agreement that the verse was not in support of racism. Sadly, that did very little to lessen her concern for me.

Eventually, I could no longer stand to be mature about the issue, so I came crying to her one day. I told her that I was pregnant and that my black friend was the father. I confirmed every single one of her fears before telling her I was lying. I walked out of the room and effectively walked out on the friendship. I will never forget the look on her face.

Before that experience, however, I had never encountered racism to that degree. My friends and I would exchange jokes about our various races, but they were never harmful or serious. In fact, it became tradition for me to "white-ify" the sayings of my best friend, Silky, all throughout high school. He came to school one morning telling everyone, "Slow yo' roll." I walked into school the following morning and told him, "Decelerate your biscuit." (Shut up. It took me a whole twenty-four hours to think that one up.)

But when faced with the harsh reality of how cruel people can be, I just don't know what to do other than cry. How are we not past this, world? Let's try being nice to one another, for a change.