A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I was mourning a friendship that I’d ended over politics.
I followed up with a second post a day later that said, “Privilege is you not understanding why someone would end a friendship over politics.”
Immediately after I wrote that post, I got a response from the mother of my friend on Facebook and from her sister on Instagram.
Both said similar things:
How could I end such a close friendship over politics, especially when it is her boyfriend who supports Trump and is racist, not her?
I am a hypocrite and exactly the opposite of what I proclaim.
All I do is say hateful, racist things about white people.
My views are extreme and only a small percentage of the population share my beliefs.
I am the privileged one because I live on 3 acres of land. (insert biggest eye roll here)
I am brainwashed and closed-minded.
The more extreme I become, the less love I allow into my life.
My friend has such a big heart, she’s never taken a harsh stance on anything.
I know her well enough to know what she values but I can’t see beyond the labels I choose to place on others.
Reverse racism does exist and I am racist against white people.
I’ve sat with those words for a long time. Nothing they said upset me, because I know the truth and I know my truth. What it did make me feel was sad because it made me realize how their whiteness blinded them from making any effort to understand why this was happening. It made me sad because despite how close I had been with her family, they didn’t care enough to look at why this had destroyed a friendship, instead their only response was to defend her and attack me.
I deleted her mother’s comment (which is something I’ve never done) on my post because she began to get dragged for her ignorance and I began to feel bad for her. Because I knew she was trying to plead her daughter’s case, and even though she was so wrong about me, I didn’t want it to go “there” and didn’t know how to stop it.
But that is how it works, right? A white woman’s performative display of making themselves the victim is so predictable and yet, it still works.
To people who’ve benefitted from the ugly truth, pointing it out looks like hate.
I’m not going to pretend this has been easy, it’s been devastating. She was the closest girlfriend I’d ever had in my life. I trusted her. I loved her, I still love her. Love doesn’t go away just because the friendship ended. She married us. She was there for me through some really difficult times and I, for her. She was there for me in ways very few people have ever been. At times, she knew me better than I knew myself and she ALWAYS had my back. She was my biggest cheerleader and I looked forward to every moment I got to spend with her. She was easy to love.
Still I couldn’t imagine sitting across from her and her Trump-supporting boyfriend who she says doesn’t agree with Trump’s morals, but likes his economic policies. The boyfriend who has openly made racist comments and she then defended him, and denied he was racist. The man who she says is a good person despite these things.
But if racism isn’t a dealbreaker, you are also racist.
When I asked her how she could reconcile the fact that people were literally dying because of Trump’s racist rhetoric and policies, her response floored me.
“People are dying every day, no matter who or what people believe.”
While that is a true statement, people do die under all administrations, believing that you don’t have a responsibility to prevent humans from dying or refusing to acknowledge how your actions contribute to their deaths is the epitome of privilege.
The reason my friend never takes a harsh stance on anything is because she doesn’t have to, her rights are not being threatened. Not ever taking a harsh stance isn’t honorable, it means your values are flimsy and there isn’t anything you’re willing to risk your comfort for.
People have asked me how I could end such a close friendship over her boyfriend’s support of Trump. What those people might not understand is that complicity kills. Ignoring racism perpetuates it. And even though she meant the world to me, I would have to give up a part of who I am to continue our friendship and that is something I refuse to do. I made that promise to myself long ago, I would never again compromise who I am for any relationship.
I don’t really have any wisdom to offer those who’ve also lost people they love to the truth. I know others will judge me for this, I don’t care. I will never stop fighting for other humans, for their humanity, for justice. I know I’m far from perfect and I fuck up all the time. But I’m open to being wrong, and changing my views if my current ones hurt others.
And I miss my friend. I wish I could call her when I’m having a rough day but I’m also angry at her for not trying to understand. But I’m glad we don’t have to pretend, she is living her truth and I’ll be living mine.
The consequence of Love will inevitably be pain.
And all those things can be true at the same time.
Read part two in the series: https://useyouroutsidevoice.co/2019/12/11/its-been-one-year-since-we-last-spoke/