When one friend tells you “I won’t get scholarships and grants because I’m a white male.”
You grit your teeth and bite your tongue. You do not mention his grades are poor (by his own admission) or that his writing/reasoning skills aren’t up to par.
He will not care
You smile and share resources and opportunities.
When a friend tells you “I didn’t understand before. You kept talking about it” in regards to racism.
You grit your teeth and bite your tongue. You do not say this new understanding will disappear with the June heat.
She will not believe you.
You smile and say thanks for empathizing.
When another friend tells you “Check your scholarships. There must have been a race requirement for them.”
You grit your teeth and bite your tongue. You do not continue to argue that you got them on academic merit alone.
He will not care.
You smile and say you’ll check.
When a friend tells you “99% will survive.”
You grit your teeth and bite your tongue. You do not say mostly black and brown communities will be the unlucky 1%, and you’ve had 12 people swallowed whole.
She told you she wasn’t diminishing your loss or heartache.
You call your mother.
When a friend tells you “I just think n**** is a harmless word that black people get super offended by.”
You grit your teeth and bite your tongue. You do not continue to share harmful instances.
He will not care if he offends you.
You shrug and say I guess that’s true at times.
When another friend tells you “ I think no-one was thinking of abuse victims/suicidal people with lockdown.”
You grit your teeth and bite your tongue. You do not share the confidential support you and others have been providing since the beginning.
He does not remember that you are both.
You sigh and put the phone away.
When they ask “are you upset?” so they can talk ‘directly/bluntly’
(meaning tell you exactly why you shouldn’t be upset. we love you. you’re family.)
When he says “please stop picking fights with them.”
When you’re told “stop making comments about race.”
When you hear “they’ve accommodated you so much this past year.”
When you call your father for wisdom.
When you try to meet halfway by making jokes about translations and white people and get shut down by ‘well, actually’s,
When you try to meet halfway by talking more, visiting more.
When you cry.
When you wish you’d never been vulnerable with them.
When you spend your morning soothing your soul with old gospel music.
When you finally hear what they’ve been saying all along:
“You’re not actually intelligent. (s)
You’re not worthy of your achievements. (n)
You don’t actually care about abuse victims. (b)
You don’t really care about the mentally ill.” (b)
When you break it down it in the simplest terms
“You’re a stupid n***** b******.
When you know they’ve got arguments on the tip of their tongue, and you don’t want to hear anything they have to say.
You can’t bear to be argued into the ground. Again. For the hundredth time.
You don’t want to be talked about as if they’ve got to walk on eggshells around ‘offending you’
when it’s been the other way around for years.
You’ll hope to God they’ll leave it alone.
Your jaw is aching, and you’re tired.
You’ll be sweet.
You’ll say nothing.
You’ll write a crappy poem.