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Op-ed: Is your white friend racist or do you really look like that other guy?

It’s a tale as old as time. You’re walking and you see your white friend up ahead coming toward you. You instinctively call out their name with a smile, thinking all is well. Suddenly, you’re hit with a knife to the chest as they call you by someone else’s name, that someone being from the same race as you.

Before you go and unfriend them, perhaps you should ask yourself: do you really look like that other guy?  You may think that you all look nothing alike, but are you being honest with yourself? You probably do look strikingly similar, even if they have a different height, body structure, and personality. Your white friend is struggling as part of the shrinking majority and probably made an honest mistake. You should give them some slack, just this once.

Now, if they keep making the same mistake or call you by more names of more people from your same race, then you may have a case. Again, however, you should give them the benefit of the doubt. It may just be a consistent string of honest mistakes. Nothing more. It’s best to just be forgiving as always. You don’t want to be too defensive.

And what if your friend is a little racist. Are you just gonna drop a friend like that? I’ve run into this issue many times and it’s sometimes best to swim with the stream. Sometimes the fight is too much for too little. So what if they call you by the wrong name? So what if they make you cry almost every week? So what if you’re starting to lose it a little? So what if you don’t know what your own name is anymore… Can someone please remind me? 

Plus, this will give you insight into the trends you’ll run into during your professional career, at least until 2045.



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